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PSYB01 Psychological Research Lab - Lecture 2.docx

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Anna Nagy

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PSYB01 Psychological Research Lab Lecture 2 Research Methods – Ethics Why Science? “Provides an objective set of rules for gathering, evaluating, and reporting information”. -Researchers create systematic observation and study to refute what we think is true. -> Seeks to falsify what we think is true. -Theory -> Structural framework based on the empirical evidences ->Explain the current data -Scientists design a study to testify and question a part of the theory ->either ending up falsifying the theory or verifying/strengthening the theory -Psychology interested in population -> variability(the range of potential values for any measurable physical or mental features) 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 -E.g., Study on new antidepressant applied to cure clinical depression (Concerns with variability) -> Comparison - Control group (No antidepressant tested, used to compare with the experimental group) VS Experimental group (New antidepressant tested) >Impact on the results - Does the dropouts of people with minor or major symptoms affect the result? >Skepticism on the results - Does it mean all people gets well due to the drug or other alternative reasons? 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 -E.g., Study of violent game on aggressive behaviours -> Contradictory in the study (Violent games causes aggressive behaviours VS No effect on aggressive behaviours) -How was the study done? -How is violent defined? -What type of violent game is considered? -How is the experiment conducted? -What population is surveyed in the study? -> Third variables that could affect the study -Parenting style -Cultural influence -Issue of sampling (exposure to violence; how much violence was involved? How long did the participants spend on violence?) -Who funds the research -Weapon accessibility -Individual’s surrounding/environment Causality Inferences of cause and effect require: 1. Temporal precedence: causal variable should precede the effect -How is this tested in an experiment? ->Manipulate Independent variable; observe effect on Dependent variable 2. Covariation: when cause present, effect occurs; when cause not present, effect does not 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 causal 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 or Applied? -Scientific progress dependent on a synergy between basic and applied research Overview of Scientific Experimental Design 1. Posing an appropriate research question 2. Conceptualize
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