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Research Methods I & II - Module Notes

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McMaster University
Karen Mc Garry

Sept 20, 2013 Research Methods 1 To objectively understand research questions scientists use the: Scientific Method 1) Construct a theory 2) Generate hypothesis 3) Collect data 4) Analyse data 5) Report the findings 6) Revise existing theories Explaination of each Theory - general set of ideas about he way that the world works. Hypothesis - testable statement , which makes a specific prediction about he relationship between variables involved in the theory Collect data - by creating different research methods Analyze data - note any specific trends or relationships that the research has revealed, ultimatly leading to accept or reject the original hypothesis Report findings - make formal presentationsat scientific meetings with a goal of publishing results in scientific journal Revision of theories - science and research dynamic processes, theories continusly being revised to account for new information. Note: paradigm shift (change in our ways of thinking as we keep learning something new) Anecdotal evidence = Evidence gathered from others or self experience Experiment = Scientific tool used to measure the effect of one variable on another Indep V = Varibale manipulated by the scientist -> ASK: What variable is the experimenter MANIPULATING? Dep V = Varibale observed by the scientist -> ASK: What variable is the experimenter observing OR what variable does the independent variable effect? Control Group (No manipulation, ie neutral) vs. Experimental Group (Recieves manipulation of independt variable) Within-Subject Design (Repeated Measures) = Manipulating the independt variable within each participant (ie same subject) to minimize the effect of external variables on the dependent variable. Limitations: 1) Time consuming 2) costly 3) subject may change in important ways during the experiment. This is known as PRACTISE EFFECT. * Practise effect = Subject performance changes due to experience with the experiment rather than an experimental manipulation. (ie Subject becomes more experienced of the task as experiment continues). Reduces the control of an experiment as its hard to seperate natural actions/improvements from the ones needed to be observed or measured (ie actual result from the effect of manipulating the independent variable). Between-Subjects Design (Independent Measures) = One group recieves experimental manipulation, and other acts as control group. Limitations: 1) Confounding Variables = variable other than the indep v that has effect on experiment Interpretations of results get more complex taking into consideration the confounding variable as results may be influenced by it. THUS, Important in an experiment to have both groups/all subjects in experiment similar as possible with least amount of differences. IMPORTANT to control experiment to minimize confounding variables. Sampling Results from very specific/strict groups of participants CANNOT be generalized to other groups, also can limit scope of conclusions Samples vs. Populations Population = general group of people we are trying to learn about Sample = selected members of the poplation we actually collect data from Sample "represents" population. Must accuratly do so so results can be generalized. Sampling Techniques: Random Sampling Random Sampling = choosing sample randomly from target population. - Pros: - Reduces chance that selection might be biased toward a specific group - ensures that findings of the study can have broader implications for the population Random Assignment = assign participants to either E or C groups randomly Placebo Effect = Effect that occurs when an individual exhibits a response to a treatment that has no related therapeutic effect This is a form of subject bias. Subject/Participant Bias = When a participant's or Subject's actions in an experiment influence the results of the manipulation of the experimenter Results may be due to particpant's influence not the experimental manipulation Reduce by single blind technique Blinding = when participants dont know whether they belong to the experimental or control group or which treatment they are recieving Experimenter Bias = Actions made by the experimenter, unintentionally or deliberatly to promote the result they hope to achieve Reduce by double blind technique Research Methods 2 When analysing data after collection important to: - Summarize and observe trends in data using descriptive stat
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