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Class 2. The Ways+Means of Psychology.docx

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Brenda Baird

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 experiment - 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 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 Description - 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 phenomena o Variables occur naturally - Correlation Coefficient o A statistical measure of how strongly two variables are related to one another 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) 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 Correlations (Naturally Occurring) - Start with 2 variables, (X, Y) where X and Y are correlated: o X may cause Y o Y may cause X o Z may cause X and Y o Correlations show relational patterns, not causes - Naturally occurring: not manipulated, data taken how it occurs normally in daily life Research Designs Experiments - A research method in which the investigator varies some factors, keeps others constant, and measures the effects on randomly assigned subjects Experimental Research Experimental Variables - Independent Variable: a variable that an experimenter manipulates (the one the researcher manipulates) - Dependent Variable: a variable that an experimenter predicts will be affected by manipulations of the independent variable (always is the measure of the participants behaviour) Correlational vs. Experimental Studies Correlational Studies - Cannot infer causation - Can only state that there is a relation between the variables of interest - May be due to a third unknown variable Experimental Studies - Can infer a causal relation between the two variables of interest - May be due to a third unknown variable Experimental Method Concerns Overview - Selection bias - Confounding variables - Experimenter/Participant bias - Placebo effect - Reliability & Validity Methods of Control Experimental Condition - A condition in which t
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