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PSYCH 1X03 Research Methods I and II.docx

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYCH 1X03
Professor
Joe Kim
Semester
Fall

Description
Research Methods in Psychology I The Scientific Method - Scientists use a much more rigorous approach when trying to objectively understand research questions - The Scientific method provides a seven step “recipe” for how to collect and analyze info o Construct a theory o Generate hypothesis o Choose research method o Collect data o Analyze data o Report the findings o Revise existing theories - The benefit to this is that it standardizes the procedure of research, and reduces bias, conflicts and other problems in order to promote accurate results and scientific discourse - Begin by studying existing collection of info about the world such as work published by other scientists. This will help construct a theory o Theory – a general set of ideas about the way that the world works. - A theory will guide the creation of a set of testable statements called hypotheses o Hypothesis – a specific prediction about the relationship between variables involved in the theory - Selecting a Research Method that is appropriate to test the hypothesis o Quintessential method – the experiment o Methods allow scientists to collect data about how the events of the world unfold (i.e. experiments)  Used to judge whether hypothesis was correct - Analyze the data o To note any specific trends or relationships that the research has revealed  Leads to decision to accept or reject original hypothesis - Report the findings o Making formal presentations at scientific meeting with the goal of publishing articles in scholarly journals o Each submission undergoes a rigorous review process by experts to ensure research is scholarly, accurate and meaningful to the field - This scientific method is also used in other fields (i.e. PhysicsChemBiology) Conducting an Experiment - Testing a hypothesis o Anecdotal evidence – evidence gathered from others or self-experience  i.e. hearing that another student drank an energy drink and aced his exam o Single experience may not be representative of the general result that would result if you conducted it several times o Your experience may not be the same as what others would experience under the same circumstances o Cannot be sure if the result was due to the variable only  Ex. Cannot be sure that a good mark is due to energy drinks only, the test was easier or you studied more - Using an Experiment o Experiment – scientific tool used to measure the effect of one variable on another  Manipulation of the independent variable to observe the effect on the dependent variable  Ex. Adding enzymes to a cell culture to measure the effect on cell growth Control Groups - Using Control Groups o An experiment can have two groups of participants  Experimental group  receives a manipulation of the independent variable  Control group  Allows the experimenter to compare the group that did receive the manipulation of the independent variable to a group of similar individuals who did not receive the manipulation  We can then compare the dependent variable measure for both groups o Ideally, participants in experimental and control groups should be as similar as possible to minimize the differences that exist between them prior to the experiment  That way, if the difference in dependent variable is found it can be attributed to the independent variable - Participant Designs o To guarantee a similar experimental and control group, we use a „within –subjects‟ experimental design. o Within-Subjects Design: Manipulating the independent variable within each participant to minimize the effect of external variables on the dependent measure o Tests the same subject repeatedly while the independent variable is manipulated o This minimizes the effect of subject differences on the dependent measure o This is time-consuming and costly to have a subject complete the entire experiment  The measure we are using or the subject himself may also change over the period of time, causing a large variable change o Practice Effect – Improved performance over the course of an experiment due to becoming more experienced  Occur when subject‟s performances changes due to experience with the experiment, rather than an experimental manipulation  Reduces the control of our experiment because it‟s hard to separate this natural improvement from the effect of manipulating the independent variable o Between Subjects Design: One group receives the experimental manipulation while the other acts as the control group  i.e. Group A drinks the energy drink, Group B does not, both do exams  Try to be a similar as possible in every way, except in the manipulation of the independent variable.  Any systematic difference between participants that is present even before manipulation of the independent variable is a confounding variable  Confounding Variable: A variable other than the independent variable that has an effect on the results Sampling - Selecting Subjects o While you can use a very strict criteria to ensure uniformity in the subjects, it will be difficult to find the participants that will fulfill that. o As well, one limits the scope of their conclusions as there is the possibility that it will only affect that group of people o An important distinction needs to made between the group of participants and the general group of people we are trying to learn about  Population – the general group of people we are trying to learn about  Sample – the selected members of the population that we collect data from to represent the larger population o The sample must accurately reflect the population itself so results can be generalized.  To do this we choose participants based on a random sample  Random Sample – Choosing a sample at random from the entire population  This is done to reduce the chance of bias o Random Assignment – Assigning subjects to either the experimental or control group at random to avoid any biases that may cause differences between the groups of subjects o After this we can be reasonable confident that we have limited any preexisting differences between our experimental and control groups that might influence our results Conducting an Experiment What are experimenter biases, and how can they be avoided? What are subject biases, and how can they be avoided? What is the placebo effect? - Placebo effect – effect that occurs when an individual exhibits a response to a treatment that has no related therapeutic effect o i.e. patients showing remarkable recover from sickness when given „miracle cures‟ even when said drugs had no effect o may occur where participants might know in advance the expected results of the experimental manipulation o this is a form of subject bias which can intentionally or unintentionally influence the results of the experiment - Participant Bias – When a participant‟s actions in an experiment influences the results outside of the manipulations of the experimenter - This can be countered by also giving the control group a mock treatment. o i.e. giving both groups drinks, except only group A has the mega study o Blinding – When participants do not know whether they belong to the experimental or control group, or which treatment they are receiving - The researcher may also influence the results of an experiment, since they know the hypothesis they want to test and thus may try to promote the result that they hope to achieve o Experimenter bias – actions made by the experimenter, intentionally
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