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Lecture 2

PSY 302 Lecture 2: Developmental Research Methods

Course Code
PSY 302
Lixia Yang

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The Scientific Method
Identify a problem/ question
Formulate a hypothesis (predict the answer, ex; tv can cause aggressive
Gather data to test the hypothesis
Reliability (inter-rater -the amount of agreement in observations of
different raters who witness the same behaviour; test-retest-the
degree of similarity of a participants performance on two or more
Validity (testing what you're meant to test)
Data analysis and conclusions
Basic Methods of Data Collection (Describing Behaviour)
Self-report methodologies
Interviews (structured-fixed set of questions vs clinical which is more
open ended)
Advantages: Can reveal children's subjective experience. Structured
interviews are inexpensive means for collecting in-depth data about
individuals. Clinical interviews allow flexibility for following up on
unexpected comments
Disadvantages: Reports are often biased to reflect favourably on
interviewee. Memories of interviewee are often inaccurate and
incomplete. Prediction of future behaviours often is inaccurate
Naturalistic (ex: home, school) ( On going behaviour in an
environment not controlled by researcher)
Advantages: Useful for describing behaviour in everyday
settings. Helps illuminate social interaction processes
Disadvantages: Difficult to know which aspects of situation are
most influential. Limited value of studying infrequent
Structured Observations (ex: lab) (presenting identical situation to
each participant and recording the participant's behaviour)
Advantages: Ensures that all children's behaviours are
Developmental Research Methods
Monday, January 21, 2019
9:08 AM
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Advantages: Ensures that all children's behaviours are
observed in same context. Allows controlled comparison of
children's behaviour in different situations
Disadvantages: Context is less natural than naturalistic
observation. Reveals less about subjective experience than
General Research Design (Detect Relationships)
Predict behaviour
Explain behaviour
Correlational Design
Relationship between two or more variable
Exist? (are they related)
Ex: Watching violent tv programs and aggression
3 Types of Correlations
Positive correlation
R>0 (0-1)
No correlation
Negative Correlation
R<0 (-1 to 0)
R is the correlation coefficient
+/- sign shows the direction
Number represents the strength, 1 is the highest
Problem: Direction of causation problem (concept that a correlation
between two variables does not indicate which, if either, variable is the
cause of the other)
Problem: Third variable problem (the concept that a correlation between
two variables may stem from both being influenced by some third
Experimental Design
Three variables:
Independent variable
Different treatment conditions (manipulate the cause variable or
outcome measure)
Dependent variable
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