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Lecture 3


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Carleton University
PSYC 1001
Robin Langerak

Lecture 3 Psychology PSYC 1001-B RESEARCH IN PSYCHOLOGY READING: CHAPTER 2 CHAPTER 2 CONTAINS FOUR MAIN SECTIONS 1. The Scientific Method 2. Types of Research Methods 3. Understanding Data (statistics) 4. Some design considerations LEARNING OUTCOMES • Scientific method as applied to human behaviour • Characteristics, pros & cons of research designs • Measures of central tendency & variability, and what they mean • How biases and ethical considerations factor into research WHY SCIENCE? • We choose the scientific method to study behaviour because it provides precision and accuracy. • It is an empirical approach with little tolerance for error or subjective evaluation because it examines carefully obtained observations (data) • It also protects us from our own biases and irrational beliefs because it is based on a principle of falsification. • Falsification requires us to test only those ideas which can be refuted • There must be a viable way to demonstrate an idea is inaccuracy • If the demonstration fails to show inaccuracy we accept the idea as accurate • Hypothesis testing is the root of this method, recall that an hypothesis must generate predictions, be testable, and be falsifiable. 
 GOALS OF SCIENCE 1. Measurement & Description • How do we measure happiness? What does happiness look like? 2. Understanding & Prediction • What is behind the process being happy, and can we tell when it is about to happen? 3. Application & Control • How can we use what we’ve learned to feel more happiness? How can we induce feelings of happiness when we feel sad? THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD 
 Classic Steps Textbook Steps 1. Observation 1. Form Hypothesis 2. Question 2. Design Study 3. Hypothesis 3. Collect Data 4. Experiment 4. Analyze Data & Draw Conclusions 5. Results 5. Report Findings 
 6. Conclusion Lecture 3 Psychology PSYC 1001-B THE RESEARCH PROCESS • Psychology applies the scientific method to the study of behaviour via different research methods: • Adiscipline-specific method of observing, measuring, manipulating and controlling variables to generate empirical data that tests overarching theories • There are 4 research methods in psychology: experiments, naturalistic observation, case studies, surveys • Regardless of the research method chosen, the overall process of is the same 
 Lecture 3 Psychology PSYC 1001-B Lecture 3 Psychology PSYC 1001-B Lecture 3 Psychology PSYC 1001-B Lecture 3 Psychology PSYC 1001-B RESEARCH PROCESS SUMMARY 0. Start from a theory / literature 1. Formulate an hypothesis 2. Select research method & design 3. Collect data 4. Analyze data & draw conclusions 5. Report findings 6. Consider theory RESEARCH METHODS • 2 Broad categories of research methods 1. Experimental 2. Descriptive (or Correlational) • Naturalistic Observation • Case Studies • Surveys EXPERIMENTAL METHOD • Researchers control variables of interest in order to infer causality: a cause-and-effect relationship between variables • Need to ensure random assignment of participants to different levels of the design • each participant has same chance of being in the experimental group or the control group (no treatment* or standard levels of treatment) Lecture 3 Psychology PSYC 1001-B • *treatment = manipulation • Variables come in 3 varieties: 1. Dependent (DV) – those which are measured 2. Independent (IV) – those which are manipulated 3. Extraneous – those which you did not manipulate or measure but may still influence the experimental outcome • NOTE: an extraneous variable can influence the outcome because it is confounded with another variable in your experiment • This is why we some call this type of variable a “confound”, or “confounding variable” • You could technically have any number of DVs and IVs, but it it not feasible to control / analyze too many 
 EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN • Example experiment from textbook on fear and attraction • 2 DVs • 2 IVs each with 2 levels* • *levels = conditions Experimental Designs come in 2 main varieties • 1. Within subjects (or Repeated measures) — each participant experiences all levels of the IV and acts as their own control (reduces variability) but is subject to contamination from order effects like practice and fatigue 2. Between subjects – each participant is randomly assigned to a single level of IV, and is thus immune to order effects but this design requires more participants to match a within subjects design’s low variability Lecture 3 Psychology PSYC 1001-B EXAMPLE EXPERIMENT • Let’s suppose that I’ve concocted a Brain Power Tea and I think that my tea will improve students’ concentration when studying. • How do I test this claim with an experiment? • Variables? Design
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