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May 10th

Research Methods

Characteristics of good Psychological Research

1. A theoretical framework

a. Systematic way of organizing and explaining observations

b. Hypothesis that flows from the theory or from an important question

2. A standardized procedure

a. Procedure that is the same for all subjects except where variation is introduced

to test a hypothesis

3. generalizability

a. sample that is representative of the population

b. procedure that is sensible and relecant to circumstances outside the laboratory

4. objective measurement

a. measures that are reliable – that produce consistent results

b. measures that are valid – that assess the dimensions they purport to assess

Psychological Research

-naturalistic observation

-surveys

-case study

-correlational

-experimental

Correlation

-a correlation is a measure of association between two variables (-

1<r<+1)

-direction – positive vs. negative / inverse

-strength

1. perfect correlation (1.0)

2. strong (0.6-0.8)

3. moderately strong (0.3-0.5)

4. no correlation (0)

-cannot tell us about causation

-correlational research:

1. establishes whether there is a relationship between two or more

variables

2. CANNOT INFER CASUALITY

3. directionality problem

4. potential for a third variable (confound)

Correlational Vs. Experimental Research

-smoking is correlated with lung cancer

-high grades are correlated with successful careers

-eating frosted flakes is correlated with lower cancer rates

-in Taiwan, birth control is correlated with a number of household

appliances

Experimental Research

-considered the most powerful tool for determining casual relationships

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