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PSYB01 Lecture 2.pdf

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Anna Nagy

Lecture 2: Research Methods • Skepticism and Empiricism: • intuition and authority legitimate sources of ideas • need for skepticism • ideas must be evaluated based on careful logic and results from scientific investigations • more you know about scientific method, the more skeptical you will be of research results • Fundamental Characteristic of Scientific Method: • Empiricism- Knowledge based on systemic observations; conclusions about the nature of the world based on collection and evaluation of data that is evaluated in a systemic way; scientific method provides many rules for collection and evaluation of data • Goals of Science: • 1) Description of Behaviour-careful observation • 2) Prediction of Behaviour- systemic regularities in relation of two events • 3) Determine the Causes of Behaviour- requires three types of evidence and caution • 4) Understand or Explain Behaviour- why does behaviour occur; explanation of relationships • how we define a variable may impact our results • whether it was done inside or outside of the lab • what sort of household, parents subject has; location subject is from; where testings are done • neighborhood subject grew up/comes from • who’s funding the research? • We want converging data • Causality: • Inferences of cause and effect require: • 1) Temporal precedence- causal variable should precede effect -how is this tested in an experiment? Manipulate IV; observe effect on DV • 2) Covariation- when cause present, effect occurs; when cause not present, effect doesn’t occur -demonstrated in experiment when subjects in experimental condition show effect and those in control do not • 3) Elimination of Plausible Alternative Explanations- Nothing other than casual variable could be responsible for observed effect, no other plausible explanation -is there a third variable responsible (alternate explanations?) • Explanation of Behaviour: • Description, prediction, causality, and explanation all closely related • explanation may be deemed inaccurate when new causes found • Ambiguity in science • leads to new questions • continual discarding and revision of explanations of behaviour as new evidence gathered • Basic Vs.Applied Research: • Basic Research: -attempts to answer fundamental questions about the nature of behaviour (theoretical issues) -issue of ecological validity • Applied Research: -practical problems and potential solutions • Basic orApplied? =>scientific progress dependent on a synergy between basic and applied research • Overview of Scientific Experimental Design: • Posing an appropriate research question • Conceptualizing the question- turning something abstract into something measurable; objective ways of measuring something abstract; look to the literature • Operationalizing the related concepts • Identifying independent, dependent, and controlled variables • Developing the hypothesis • Hypotheses and Predictions: • Hypothesis- tentative idea or question; based on past research and the
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