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BA (Hons) Psychology (Pdn), Diploma in
Counselling (Pdn), MSc: Issues in Applied
Psychology (Worcester, UK)
Memberships: American Psychological
Association (Division 48), Commonwealth
Alumni Association
Ô Description of social behavior
Ô Are people who grow up in warm climates different from those in
cold climates?
Ô Establish a relationship between cause & effect
Ô Does heat cause higher amounts of aggression?
Ô Develop theories about why people behave the way that
they do
Ô We dislike certain groups of people to feel better about ourselves
Ô Application
Ô Creating effective therapeutic treatments, more successful
negotiation tactics, and greater understanding amongst groups of
Ô Study indicated that the life span of left-handed people is
significantly shorter than those who are right hand dominant.

Ô Study demonstrated a link between smoking and poor


Ô Study indicate navigation related structural change in the

hippocampi of London taxi drivers


Ô Basic Research:
Ô Answer fundamental questions about the nature of behaviour.
Not done for application, but rather to gain knowledge for sake
of knowledge
Ô Applied Research:
Ô Concerned with finding solutions to practical problems and
putting these solutions to work in order to help others
º  ^  
Ô Empirical
Ô Knowledge based on direct observation
Ô Theory
Ô Set of ideas which try to explain what we observe
Ô Goal is to find support OR disprove
Ô We can never prove!!
Ô Theoretical diversity
Ô How can that information be collected in a reasonable
fashion, e.g., questionnaires, interviews, examining
documentation, observing staff and/or clients in the
program, conducting focus groups among staff and/or
students, etc?
Ô How accurate will this information be?
Ô When is the information needed (so, by when must it be
Ô What resources are available to collect the information?
Ô How will this information be analyzed?

üThe most common error made in reading [and

conducting] research is overlooking the
methodology, and concentrating on the
conclusions. Yet if the methodology isn·t sound,
the conclusions and subsequent recommendations
won·t be sound.µ
Ô Patricia Goubil-Gambrell
r       ^  
Ô oirst, select a topic
Ô Good theory:
Ô Has predictive power
Ô Is simple & straightforward r 





Ô Then, search the literature

Ô oind out what others have done that may be
applicable to your area of interest
r       ^  
÷u u   



Next, formulate hypotheses


ÔHypothesis: specific statement of expectation


derived from theory



 the relationship

between two variables




ÔVariable: can be any event, characteristic,

condition, or 


r       ^  

Ô Then pick your research method

Ô Experimental vs. correlational (Design
Ô oield vs. laboratory (Setting

Ô oinally, collect & analyze your data

Ô Dependent variable (outcome variable)
Ô Dependent on the influence of other factor(s)
Ô How do we operationalize?

Ô Independent variable (predictor variable)

Ô oactor(s) that change the outcome variable
Ô How do we operationalize & manipulate?
Ô Control group
Ô Experimental vs. correlational designs
Ô Correlational: observe the relationship between two
Ô Describe patterns of behavior
Ô Types include
Ô Naturalistic observation
Ô Case studies
Ô Surveys

Ô ùualitative
Ô Methods focused upon acquiring a detailed,
complex understanding of social processes and
meanings which surround social phenomena
Ô ùuantitative
Ô Methods focused upon assessing the quantity or
frequency with which particular social phenomena
p !  
Ô Participants are carefully observed in their natural setting
without interference by the researchers. Researchers should
be inconspicuous and do nothing to change the environment
or behaviour of the participants.

Ô E.g.
Ô an animal psychologist discreetly observing wild gorillas
Ô A researcher sitting in a fast food restaurant and observing the
eating habits of men vs. women

questioning a large group of people about their attitudes, beliefs,
etc. Conducting a survey requires a representative sample, or a
sample that reflects all major characteristics of the population
you want to represent. If you are attempting to survey "Sri
Lankan's attitude towards exercising", then your sample cannot
include only upper-class, English speaking students between the
ages of 18 and 25 years.This does not represent Sri Lanka.
Surveys must also use careful wording in the questions to
prevent confusion or bias.
Ô Examples:
(a) survey of recent retired citizens on their major concerns
about life without work
(b) survey of first-time pregnant women on their beliefs about
their efficacy on being a mother

Ô obtaining detailed information about an individual to develop

general principles about behaviour. It is sometimes very
helpful to study one person (or a very small group of people)
in great depth to learn as much information as possible. This
method is particularly useful in studying rare disorders or

Ô Examples:
(a) studying the life history of a man who
acquired schizophrenia at the age of 20
(b) following one child from conception to adulthood
to examine this specific lifespan development
Ô Measuring the relation between two variables. Sometimes
correlation studies are seen as a separate research method
while other times it is subsumed under another category.

Ô Examples:
(a) there exists a positive correlation between
intelligence and grade point average such that the more
intelligent a person is, the higher their grade point average
(b) there exists a negative correlation between eating
junk food and overall health such that the more junk food a
person ingests, the less they are healthier
Ô Advantages
Ô Sometimes manipulation of variables is impossible or unethical
Ô Efficient ² look at lots of data

Ô Disadvantages
Ô Could be a lurking variable
Ô A study in which the investigator manipulates (at least) one
variable while measuring (at least) one other variable. This
method is often used in psychological research and can
potentially lead to answering cause-effect questions.

Ô Examples:
(a) Testing the effects of low mood of evaluator on low
grades on exam answers
(b) Examining the reliability of eyewitness testimony
in young children
º   ^  
Ô Researcher manipulates one variable (IV) to see effect on other
variable (DV)
Ô Try to hold everything else constant

Ô True experiments have

Ô Random sampling: selecting Ps randomly from population
Ô Random assignment: chance assignment to condition
Ô Refers to whether the research actually measures what it
says it·ll measure. Validity is the strength of our
conclusions, inferences or propositions.
Ô °    : the difference in the dependent variable is
actually a result of the independent variable
Ô º    : the results of the study are generalizable to
other groups and environments outside the experimental
Ô ë 
  : we can identify a relationship between
treatment and observed outcome
Ô ë 
   : we can generalize our conceptualized
treatment and outcomes to broader constructs of the same
The consistency of a measurement, or the degree to
which an instrument measures the same way each time it
is used under the same condition with the same subjects.
In short, it is the repeatability of your measurement. A
measure is considered reliable if a person's score on the
same test given twice is similar. It is important to
remember that reliability is not measured, it is
estimated. Measured by test/retest and internal
ÔShould the study be done?
ÔValue vs. potential cost
ÔAPA guidelines, SLAAS guidelines,
ÔHow do we protect Participants?
ÔInformed consent
ÔConfidentiality & anonymity

"# $
Ô Descriptive statistics
Ô Mean: add up all the scores and divide it by the number of cases
Ô Median: Middle score after all the scores have been arranged
from highest to lowest
Ô Mode: the Score that occurs most frequently
Ô Standard deviation: indicates whether most scores are clustered
closer to the mean or whether they are spread.
Ô Try to reach conclusions that extend beyond the immediate
Ô Determine whether an observed difference between group is
a dependable one or could it have happened by chance
Ô t-test: to test difference between groups is dependable or by
Ô What questions came up in your