September 12th, 2013 - Lecture 2
Conclusion of Part 1 - Ethics
“Provides an objective set of rules for gathering, evaluating, and reporting information”.
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—
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
• Inferences of cause and effect require:
1. Temporal precedence: causal variable should precede the 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 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
– Attempts to answer fundamental questions about the nature of behaviour (theoretical issues)
– Issue of ecological validity
– Practical problems and potential solutions
Basic or Applied?
• Scientific progress dependent on a synergy between basic and applied research
Overview of Scientific Experimental Design
• Posing an appropriate research question
• Conceptualizing the question
• 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 theory
• Prediction—specific; concerns outcome of experiment
Choosing an Appropriate Method
• Experimental, quasi-experimental, or non-experimental
• What method is appropriate for the situation?
• Utility of knowledge of research methods
• Utility of scientific method (objectivity)
• Fundamental characteristics of science (skepticism and empiricism)
• Empiricism (knowledge based on systemic observation)
• Goals of Science – Description
• Basic Vs. Applied Science
• Overview of Scientific Design
• Choosing an Appropriate Method