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PSYCH291 Lecture Notes - Operationalization, Experiment, Fluoxetine

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Joanne Wood

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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
-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
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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
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