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Essential pieces of

Research Methodology

The Scientific Method: Key Terms

Operational Definition

Replication

Generalization

Falsifiable

Testable

You can imagine, or conceive of, situations that demonstrate


your hypothesis to be wrong
repeating the essence of a research study to see whether the
results will be consistent across other participants and
circumstances in other words, were the first results a fluke?

You can evaluate the hypothesis using known scientific


methods

The extension of research findings and conclusions from a


study conducted on a sample population to the population at
large

a statement of procedures (operations) used to define


research variables Ex. Intelligence may be described what an
intelligence test measures

A hypothesis cannot be
Proven

A false hypothesis must always be


Modified

or discarded

Research Practices

Psychological research is done in many ways

Case studies, surveys, and naturalistic observation describe


behavior

Correlational studies describe relationships by focusing on


associations of different variables

Experiments can offer causal explanations by manipulating


variables to discover their effects

Each of these can suggest new research questions

Case Studies

Are useful observation techniques in


which one person or group is studied
in depth in the hope of revealing
universal principals

Pro: Can provide new insights or areas for


further study, what can happen

Con: Can be unrepresentative and nongeneralizable, if the individual or group is


atypical then this can lead to false
conclusions
Phineas Gage

Survey

Technique for ascertaining the self-reported attitudes or


behaviors of people

Usually done by questioning a representative, random


sample of people

Surveys - Issues

Pro: Can be used to look at many cases or respondents more representative and
therefore more generalizable

Con: Prone to question phrasing/wording influencing how people respond

Leading questions can hint at the desired response

Vague questions confuse respondents

Do you think the war on terror is a worthy cause or a hopeless cause?

Double negatives in questions cause trouble

Should the government force you to pay higher taxes? Or Does the government need to increase tax
revenue?

Does it seem possible or does it seem impossible to you that the Nazi extermination of the Jews never happened?

Question Order effects can skew responses (priming)

What is the most important problem facing the nation? Before Do you approve or disapprove of the way
Justin Trudeau is handling his job as prime minister?

Necessary Components

Population

The whole group you want to study and from the population
come samples (manageable)

Sample size matters

The larger the sample size, the better but

Representative

Sample

a sample that is a perfect reflection of a population,

only smaller in size

Random Sample

a sample that fairly represents a population because each


member has an equal chance of inclusion

Naturalistic Observation

Involves observing and recording


behavior in naturally occurring
situations without trying to
manipulate and control the situation

Pro: Open up new avenues for


research that may otherwise not have
been apparent

Con: the are limitations to the use of


information -- describes not explains

Correlation

Correlation Coefficient

a statistical measure of the extent to which two factors


vary together, and thus how well either factor predicts the
other
Indicates direction
of relationship
(positive or negative)

Correlation
coefficient

r = +.37

Indicates strength
of relationship
(0.00 to 1.00)

Correlation
Three Possible Cause-Effect Relationships
(1)
Low self-esteem

could cause
Depression

or
(2)
Depression

could cause

Low self-esteem

or
Low self-esteem
(3)
Distressing events could cause
or biological
predisposition

and
Depression

Illusory Correlation

Illusory Correlation

the perception of a
relationship where
none exists
Often the source of
superstitions

Conceive

Adopt

Do not
adopt

Do not conceive

confirming
evidence

disconfirming
evidence

disconfirming
evidence

confirming
evidence

Experimentation

Experiment

an investigator manipulates one or more factors


(independent variables) to observe their effect on
some behavior or mental process (the dependent
variable)

by random assignment of participants the experiment


controls other relevant factors

Experimentation

Single-Blind

Research participants dont know if they are getting the placebo or active
agent

Double-Blind Procedure

both the research participants and the research staff are ignorant (blind) about
whether the research participants have received the treatment or a placebo

commonly used in drug-evaluation studies

Placebo

an inert substance or condition that may be administered instead of a


presumed active agent, to see if it triggers the effects believed to characterize
the active agent

Experimentation

Experimental Condition

the condition of an experiment that exposes participants to the


treatment, that is, to one version of the independent variable

Control Condition

the condition of an experiment that contrasts with the


experimental treatment

serves as a comparison for evaluating the effect of the


treatment

Experimentation

Random Assignment

assigning participants to
experimental and control
conditions by chance

minimizes pre-existing differences


between those assigned to the
different groups

Experimentation

Independent Variable

the experimental factor that is manipulated

the variable whose effect is being studied

Dependent Variable

the experimental factor that may change in response


to manipulations of the independent variable

in psychology it is usually a behavior or mental process

What will be the outcome? It will DEPEND on the IV

Practice designing the study:


Hypothesis Testing
Drug
The

A makes children more attentive in school

larger the family, the duller the children

Cigarette

smoking causes lung cancer

Television

violence is related to aggression in children

Absence

Make

makes the heart grow fonder

a prediction that is testable

Something to think about


Does behavior depend on ones culture and
gender?

Remember, culture can be thought of


as the shared ideas and behaviors that
one generation passes on to the next