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University of Toronto St. George
Astronomy & Astrophysics
Michael Reid

Four Canons of Science 1.____________: The universe is orderly – all events have meaningful, systematic causes –_________: Statements about the causal relation between two or more variables –___________: A characteristic or condition that changes or has different values for different individuals 2.__________: The best way of figuring out these orderly principles is by collecting data or making observations 3.____________: When facing two competing theories that do an equally good job of explaining a set of empirical observations, we should prefer the simpler (the more parsimonious) of the two 4.____________: Scientific theories should be testable (confirmable or disconfirmable) using currently available research techniques –Falsifiability: It must be possible, in principle, to make an observation that would show the hypothesis/theory to be false Constructs: Internal attributes or characteristics that cannot be directly observed but are useful for describing and explaining behavior H__________ O__________ M__________ E___________ R_____________ Descriptive Studies •Naturalistic observation: Passive observation. Observers do not change or alter ongoing behavior. •Participant observation: Active observation. The researcher is actively involved in the situation. •Correlational study: A study that examines how variables are naturally related in the real world, without any attempt by the researcher to manipulate them. Correlational Studies •Correlational studies tell us about ______________ between variables –“There is a relationship between the presence of People for Good billboards and amount of shoving at train stations” –The relationship in this case, is negative •As the number of billboards increases, the amount of shoving decreases •Correlational studies do not tell us whether one variable causes changes in another variable CORRELATION ≠ CAUSATION Experiments •Involve manipulating the variable(s) of interest, while keeping everything else consistent (control!) between the different conditions •____________ variable: Variable being manipulated, in order to see its impact on the dependent variable •___________ variable: Variable being measured, in order to see how it is affected by the independent variable •___________: Anything that may unintentionally vary along with the independent variable –E.g., We are intentionally varying the ads shown the participants –We don’t want to accidentally vary anything else between the two conditions –Confounds limit our ability to make causal claims •Random sample: Each member of the population you are interested in (e.g., Torontonians) has an equal chance of being chosen to participate –Not a necessary component of an experiment –Researchers often use convenience samples (e.g., U of T students) •Random assignment: Each participant has an equal chance of being assigned to each experimental
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