Class Notes (1,100,000)
CA (630,000)
UTSC (30,000)
Psychology (8,000)
PSYB32H3 (600)

Chapter 5

Course Code
Konstantine Zakzanis

This preview shows page 1. to view the full 5 pages of the document.
Chapter 5 - Research Methods In The Study of Abnormal Behaviour
Science and Scientific Methods
Science is the pursuit of systematized knowledge through observation. It refers to both the method (the
systematic acquisition and evaluation of information) and to a goal (the development of general theories that
explain the information)
Testability and Replicability
A scientific approach requires that the propositions and ideas must be stated in a clear and precise way so that
they can be tested
A hypothesis must be amenable to systematic testing that could show it to be false
Whatever is observed must be replicated
If it cannot be reproduced, scientists become wary of the legitimacy of the original observation
The role of Theory
A Theory is a set of propositions meant to explain a class of phenomena
¾ It permits the generation of a hypotheses, expectations about what should occur if a theory is true
¾ Theories are constructions put together by scientists
¾ In creating a theory, scientists use theoretical concepts, unobservable states or processes that are inferred
from observable data
Theoretical concepts can also summarize already observed relationships
Operationalism: proposed that each concept take as its meaning a single observable and measureable
Theoretical concepts are better defined by sets of operations or effects, rather than by a single operation
The Research Methods of Abnormal Psychology
Often researchers observe several events and try to determine how often they are associated or related
Researchers want to know what the symptoms are, and their relation to other found data, and the reason for it
(ie. eating disorders are more common in females, but why?)
Commonly used research methods in abnormal behaviour: case studies, epidemiological research, the
correlation method, and various types of experiments
The case study
Studying a patient one at a time and in detail
A comprehensive case study covers family history and background, medical history, educational background,
jobs held, marital history, and details concerning development, adjustment, personality, life course, and
current situation
Case studies may lack the degree of control and objectivity of other forms of research
The case study has been used to:
¾ Provide a detailed description of rare or unusual phenomenon, and of important methods or procedures of
interviewing, diagnoses and treatment
You're Reading a Preview

Unlock to view full version

Only page 1 are available for preview. Some parts have been intentionally blurred.

¾ Disconfirm allegedly uniformal aspects of particular theoretical proposition
¾ Generate hypnoses that can be tested through controlled research
Constant comparative method: consists of the identification of relevant units of information (unitizing),
placing the units into categories that emerge from the data (categorizing), and providing organizational
themes for the information (identifying themes)
Case studies are especially useful when they negate an assumed universal relationship or law
The data yielded by the case study do not allow us to determine the true cause of the change
Case studies play a role in generating hypothesis (but not confirming them)
Some cases are so unique that it is impossible to generalize to other individuals
Case studies are ideal for studying in an individualistic context
They are unable to provide satisfactory evidence concerning cause-effect relationships
Epidemiological Research
Epidemiology is the study of the frequency and distribution of a disorder in a population
It can be used to give a general picture of a disorderZKRPDQ\SHRSOHLWDIIHFWVZKHWKHULW¶VPRUHFRPPRQ
in men than in women, and whether its occurrence also varies according to social and cultural factors
Epidemiological research focuses on determining 3 features of a disorder:
¾ 1) Prevalence: the proportion of a population that has the disorder at a given point or period in time
¾ 2) Incidence: the number of new cases of the disorder that occur in some period, usually a year
¾ 3) Risk factors: conditions or variables that, if present, increase the likelihood of developing the disorder
The results of epidemiological research may provide hypotheses that can be more thoroughly investigated
using other research methods
Canadian Perspectives 5.1 ± Early Risk Factors and Psychological Disorders in a Canadian Setting: The Role
of Abuse
One study found that parental mental disorder and severe abuse as a child are the biggest risk factors for
getting a mental disease
Another study found that interpersonal traumas (being molested, raped, mugged, or kidnapped; being
physically attacked; suffering from parental aggression) were the most consistent predictors of disorders after
parental psychopathologies
$PRQJ2QWDULR¶V$ERULJLQDOFRPPXQLW\14% of boys and 28% of girls in the current generation (aged 12-
17) reported some form of sexual abuse; these rates are higher than non-Aboriginal children
The results of the major epidemiological study conducted in Ontario suggest that severe physical and sexual
abuse and even spanking and slapping are risk factors for the onset and/or persistence of adult psychiatric
The Correlational Method
The Correlational method establishes whether there is a relationship between or among two or more
YDULDEOHVLWs often employed in epidemiological research
In the correlational method, variables being studied are measured as they exist in nature
Correlational studies address D TXHVWLRQ³are variable X and Y associated in some way so that they vary
together (co-relate)
The first step is to obtain pairs of observations of variables (ie. Height and weight)
You're Reading a Preview

Unlock to view full version