2012-09-20 Psyb01h3 week 2
Getting started with research!!
- Recalling the picture of circle last lecture
Getting initial ideas
Look around you!
o Direct observation: the things you see in your environment;
One important thing here: Question what you usually take for granted
Especially when it comes to human behaviour
For example: if you are in a store, you have insert the chip to pay; ppl doing different
things: cover the pin enter, or changing body position or other; why do they do this? Or
in different situation, they cover their pin or other. But in this case you may turn these
into research questions.
o Stories in newspapers, magazines, websites
: Tuxedo Stan for Mayor, because neglect isn’t working a cat
o Blogs : ppl write their life story in their blogs. check the link from the PPT slide
Anything make you wonder could turn into your research topic
Common sayings: ex: 3 ppl living together always make a 3 person out….. you may come up some question like
o Does this really happen? (is it true?)
o Could I research this – what question might it translate into? Is it testable/provable?
You need find sth that you transfer into a research question with scientific ideas
o Under what conditions might this hold or not hold?
Different situation matters in the same topics
o Ex: Absence makes the heart grow fonder
You could transfer this into a research question: phycial separation make ppl more like other ppl?
What is the affective of time separation good for a couple or not?
This could be a whole research question: related researches: distanced couples
You may want to see difference in same sex couple, or ppl in different age and in different
When ppl go to fridge, do they actually want food or just thinking A research question: how often ppl go to fridge? Are they really looking for food? Or how many
patterns come up in mind but not just food?
Extend previous research: ppl build up on previous researches in psychology; to stand, or twist, or to expand on
other countries or other group of ppl
o What are the questions that were left unanswered by study X? check the link from the PPT slide
Research showed that the actually physical contact with care giver is very beneficial for new
Does the second care giver has the similar effect? Male or female care giver matters or not?
This is the question left unanswered so that you may expand on this question…
o Are there additional variables I could add, or different conditions I could look at?
Narrowing it down:
after you get your initial downthis is where students have problems in!!! for example, I am interested in
certain topic like love, but it is very broad idea, and you need something more specific!
Be specific about what you want to research!
o I want to study love
o I want to find out if talent is inherited
o Why do so many people think Obama is Muslim? (why this is bad???)
o I’m interested in the development of love relationships that start online
o I’d like to know if the ability to match pitch is mostly genetic or mostly learned
o I’m interested in why people are less likely to question information that is consistent with their beliefs
Don’t ramble on and on – narrow it to one OR 2 sentences –get some advice on this to help you to focus on one
Use sentence stems or fill-in-the-blanks
o I’m interested in the relationship between ____ and ___.
o I’d like to investigate the effect of ____ on ____. Ex: a type of music Vs level of exercise
o I want to see if ____ has the same effect on ____ under these conditions:_____. Ex:pop music Vs
observation Vs spin class ….
o Is the influence of ____ on ____ the same for women as for men? Ex: massage VS relaxation
Searching the literature
Why is this necessary?
o History of research in the area: you have to know what other ppl had done this area
o Establish case for project / build rationale: you don’t necessary to have a valid value on ur research but
you need a reason of doing this
o Make sure it hasn’t already been done
o Can be a source of ideas in itself
Best ways to start
o Library web page
Talk with the librarians; ppl in the reference library
We could make appointment with the librarians to help you with ur research topics
On line tutorials
o Google scholar (still need to look up article) Keywords
o Refer to texts
o Use keywords in references to access more articles on same
What exactly is “the literature”? if you are not sure about whether is a scholar article check with
o Scholarly books and papers that describe theory or report on research findings
Book chapters or entire books
Papers presented at conferences
Not news paper or magazine articles
What are journal articles?
o Scholarly papers published in academic journals
Submitted to journal by researcher / author
Accepted or rejected by journal editor
So the articles should be critiqued and reviewed
Parts of a journal article
Short summary of contents of article
Sets up problem
Discusses shortcomings in present understanding of problem, describes how study will try to
overcome some of them
Describes in exact detail how study was conducted
Must allow for replication
Details the outcome of study, reports statistical analyses of the data
Restates the results, relates them to the original goals
Practical and theoretical implications
List of sources
Reading empirical articles
o If the abstract is too complex, the paper will be too.
o Skim article to see how it is set up
o Read discussion section first
o Take brief notes
o Skip sections you don’t understand and reread later
Developing a Hypothesis
A good hypothesis is: o Testable
o About a specific relationship (there must be a comparison or contrast bt two or more things)
o About a particular population
o Are these good hypotheses?
Soccer players are better athletes than football players
No. cuz the skills for these two are different so that it is not comparable;
So that you have to break down more details to be more specific
Our subconscious motivates most of our act