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Lecture 3

Psyc 260 SFU lecture 3 Methodology

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Simon Fraser University
PSYC 260
Jamal Mansour

Lecture 3-Methodology Why bother with research? -in the big picture, research methods help us as learners 1.) understanding the terminology and thought process helps you understand the field 2.) provides insight into the conclusions we can draw from a study (if we understand what a study is doing, we can understand what its telling us) 3.) makes you an educated consumer of research -example in class: you can undermine a person’s intrinsic motivation if you give them extrinsic reward -the gift and curse of social psychology-> topics seems familiar cause we can relate them (research) to ourselves -once you know the outcome of the study it seems wrong to think anything different than the results in the first place (hindsight bias “I knew it all along”->people exaggerate how much they could have predicted the outcome after knowing that it occurred) -eg: students told story & given 1 of 2 endings (both obvious), everybody thought their ending was predictable, but it could have ben any ending, so why did they think their way was the obvious one? -outcomes can usually be reasoned either way ahead of time -everything seems obvious in retrospect, hindsight is 20/20 -predict behaviour before it occurs not just explain it afterward -we need to find the answer through scientific research * we can get conflicting evidence in many points (wisdom, advice from others) that we need science to explain so we can predict behaviour in advance->we create theories & hypotheses to test Theories and Hypotheses (a building process) THEORY: an organized set of principles that can be used to explain observed phenomena eg: used to form a hypothesis, collect data and see if you are correct- use the data to refine and regenerate the theory HYPOTHESIS: a tentative explanation for a set of facts that can be tested with further investigation eg: “opposites attract” - after a researcher has a hypothesis, they must collect data to test it, which requires precise specification of how variables are measured or manipulated which is called operational definition 3 main research methods 1.) OBSERVATIONAL- making observations, watching, studying an organism -technique whereby a researcher systematically observe & record behaviour -the goal= to describe and measure behaviour in a natural setting -its up close and immediate eg: watching whether people talk to strangers on the bus -OR from a distance and at a delay ->might not actually need to be there in the moment eg: calling someone at the end of the day and ASKING if they talked to anyone on the bus -a new method: EAR (electronically activated recorder)-> small recorder that sits on your belt (or wherever), turns on randomly without you knowing and captures clips (70, 30 sec clips), finds out what people do in their daily lives & allows for unobtrusive naturalistic observation (lessens the exaggerations that people can say when they are speaking about themselves- self presenting) -operational definition: a description of exactly how variables are measured or manipulated->need to be clear about what you (researcher) are asking the person to do (what does talking with a stranger mean?-does one word count? Who’s considered a stranger? etc.) 1.) ethnography the method by which researchers attempt to understand a group/culture by observing it from the inside without imposing any preconceived notions they might have -form of observational method -studying a group/culture by joining the group & trying to understand them from the inside -must ignore your OWN preconceived notions/views -eg: Leon Festinger (coined the cognitive dissonance term) infiltrating Mrs. Keech’s group-> people predicted that the world was going to end, and aliens would rescue this group of individuals-> Leon thought this was fascinating so he joined the group to become a member so he did not change their behaviour in his presence- “When Prophecy fails” book 2.) archival analysis a form of observational method -examines documents (eg. diaries, newspapers, lyrics, novels etc.) from a culture to identify its values -used to understand if there is any evidence of things changing over time eg: racism stregnths of Ob.Method: -a good first step in understanding how people behave -real life behaviour -see people in natural environments weaknesses of Ob.Method: -some behaviours can be hard to observe -behaviours can be hard to code/measure reliably 2.) CORRELATIONAL- finding the similarities between two factors/stimuli, how they are related -ideal for answering questions about whether 2 variables are related &, If so, determining the strength of their relationship -systematically measures 2/more variables & asses the degree of relation between them -eg: media violence and aggression in kids -correlation coefficients: a measure of association between 2 variables of interest (how well they go together) -2 key features: 1.) direction (either + or -) -positive= both go in same direction eg: height & weight {the taller someone is, the more they weigh} -negative= opposite directions (one goes up, one goes down) eg: # of classes a student skips= the more their grade goes down 2.) size -captured in a # (-11, as the #s get closer to 1 knowing information about one variable gives info to the other) {+1.00 means that two variables are perfectly correlated} -+ correlation eg= amount of hours practiced & expertise’s (more practice makes you better) - - correlation eg= as men get older their # of hair follicles decrease (as age goes up, hair amount goes down) -NO correlation= how much we eat has little to do with our grades -gives us the sense of how 2 things go together -heavy use of surveys -convenient way for researchers to measure people’s attitudes eg: people can be telephones & asked which candidate they will support in an upcoming election, or how often the person has sex (this is an example of a variable that is hard to observe) -easy measure of attitudes & behaviours -capture views of large groups via random selection-> generalizability (larger the sample= more general conclusion we ca
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