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PSY 1101 Lecture Notes - Scatter Plot, Selection Bias, Random Assignment

Course Code
PSY 1101
Brenda Baird

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The Ways & Means of Psychology
The Scientific Method in Psychology
Main Issues
- Goals
- Identifying the problem
- Research methods
- Designing an experiment
- Conducting an experiment
- Generalization
The Goals of Psychology
- Description
- Explanation
- Prediction
- Control
o Example: studying depression
Identifying the Problem
What questions do you want to pursue?
Hypotheses vs. Theories
- A hypothesis is a statement of what you think should happen in your
- A theory is a set of integrated statements that organizes/predicts results and
is more encompassing that a hypothesis
- Operational definition
The Scientific Method
The Research Process

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How Psychologists Do Research
Research Methods
- Descriptive Studies
- Correlation Studies
- Experiments
- Evaluating the findings
- Keeping the enterprise ethical
Descriptive Research Methods
- Naturalistic Observation
- Case study
- Survey
- Correlation
- Vs. Experimental research methods
- Naturalistic Observation
o Observing and recording behaviour in naturally occurring situations
without trying to manipulate and control the situation
- Case Study
o Psychologists study one or more individuals in great depth in the hop
of revealing things true of us all
Drawback: you can’t generalize
Research Designs
The Correlation Study
- A descriptive study that looks for a consistent relation between two
o Variables occur naturally
- Correlation Coefficient
o A statistical measure of how strongly two variables are related to one
o A correlation can range from -1.0 to +1.0 (number indicated strength,
sign indicates direction)
o Positive as one increases the other increases/one decreases the
other decreases (study hours go up, grades go up)
o Negative as one increases one decreases (the more drinks you have
while studying, the less you retain)

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Graphing Correlations: The Scatter Plot
How to construct a scatter plot
1. Draw 2 axes and label both variables
2. Mark the axes using the full range of values
3. Plot by placing a dot that corresponds to each person’s pair of scores
Examples of positive and negative correlations
- Beer sales (gallons) are positively related to temperature, but coffee sales
(gallons) are negatively related to temperature
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