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PSYCH 291 (44)


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University of Waterloo
Joanne Wood

Basics of Research Design Hypothesis – a tentative explanation for an observation, phenomenon or scientific problem; it could either be wrong or right - tentative statement about causal relation between 2 variables Variable – an element, feature, or factor that is reliable to change - an entity that could take on different values, eg: gender Independent or predictor variable – a variable whose variation does not depend on that of the other - predictor variable – the proposed cause Dependent variable - a variable whose variation depends on that of the other - the proposed effect Operational definition (a.k.a. operationalization) - the process of defining a fuzzy concept so as to make the concept measurable and to understand it in terms of empirical observations. - Concrete procedure researchers use to study variable True experiments - it randomly allocates the subjects in order to neutralize the potential for experimenter bias; have the potential to make very strong causal control statements. - Random assignment to condition and manipulation of independent variable - Participants will have the equal chance to be in different conditions Manipulation vs. measurement – manipulation –researcher systematically varies the level of IV/ the researcher exposing the participants into different conditions/ measurement the researchers assign labels/ numbers to the variable Random assignment - an experimental technique for assigning subjects to different treatments (or no treatment). The thinking behind random assignment is that by randomizing treatment assignment, then the group attributes for the different treatments will be roughly equivalent and therefore any effect observed between treatment groups can be linked to the treatment effect and is not a characteristic of the individuals in the group. - Why random assignments? Any kind of participants should be equalized in a true experiment - - the differences are spread out among all individual differences - Therefore; if there is a difference in the manipulation, it must be done in the manipulation Correlational designs - A correlational design merely MEASURES 2 or more variables rather than manipulating one or more independent variables and subsequently measuring the dependent variable. - Researcher measures a proposed cause and a proposed effect Independent vs. predictor variable - a variable that can be used to predict the value of another variable (as in statistical regression) Internal validity - Internal validity addresses the "true" causes of the outcomes that you observed in your study. - Involves the extent to which the researcher has clearly established a causal relation between the dependent variable and independent variable; how safely could we conclude…… PREDICTOR V ----------- Dependent V External validity - External validity addresses the ability to generalize your study to other people and other situations (times, participants, places) *Predictor – general category; independent – under predictor variable Manipulation vs. Measurement of the Predictor Variable (the dependent var
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