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Lecture 6

PSY100H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Blood Test, Dependent And Independent Variables, Testability

Course Code
Ashley Waggoner

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lResearch Methods
How Do We Find Things Out?
Basically how do we decide what we believe vs. What we don’t believe?
4 ways of knowing about the world:
Intuition (having a gut feeling about something)
Logic (reasoning)
Authority (is the info coming from someone you trust)
Observation (use science and collect data)
What is Science?
Science is not defined by what it studies but by how it is studied
Four Canons of Science:
Determinism: The universe is orderly all events have meaningful causes or
reasons why they happen
Theories: statements about the causal relation between two or more
Variables: a condition that changes or has different values
Empiricism: The best way of figuring out principles is by collecting data or
making observations
Parsimony: Researchers should explain their observations in the simplest method
when there are two equally good theories, we should prefer the simpler one (aka
Occam’s Razor)
Testability: these theories should be testable
Falsifiability it should be possible to make an observation that would
show the hypothesis or theory to be false
Operational Definitions an observable event or condition that any other
researcher should be able to independently measure/test. Sometimes
variables are not well-defined and cannot be directly observed
Constructs: Characteristics that cannot be directly observed but are
useful for describing and explaining behaviour
Operational Definitions: Some variables are not well-defined and cannot be directly observed
Physiological Measure (blood test)
Behavioural Measure (walking in a straight line)
Self-Reported Measure (simply asking the person how intoxicated they are)
Scientific Inquiry:
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It is basically finding answers to empirical questions answer questions such
as…WHAT happens, WHEN it happens, what CAUSES it and WHY
Confidence in scientific findings increases as research outcomes are replicated
Theory a good theory produces a wide variety of testable results
Serendipity: when researchers unexpectedly discover something important
Hypothesis prediction based on the theory
Research Test of the hypothesis
Scientific Method:
Theory, Hypothesis, Research
Theory: Explanation based on observations a good theory produces a wide variety of
testable results
o Serendipity when researchers unexpectedly discover something important
Hypothesis: Predictions based on the theory
Research: Test of the hypothesis; yields data, which either:
o Supports the theory:
o Refute or fails to support the theory: which you either discard or revise (then test
your revised theory)
A single study, even a BRILLIANT single study does not tell you much on its own
o In general, confidence in scientific findings increases when research outcomes are
H - Hypothesize
O - Operationalize
M - Measure
E - Evaluate
R Replicate/ Revise/ Report
Types of Research:
What differentiates the level of control of the experimenter in the variables in the study
Different types of claims based on the levels of influence the experimenter applied
Basically how much control the researcher has over the variables
Researchers must define variables in precise ways, they do this by using operational
Longitudinal & Cross-sectional
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Descriptive Research:
Involves observing and classifying behaviour
This type of study is usually the first step in a line of research or it is done as part of a
larger research project
Three Types:
o Naturalistic Observation: Passive observation when observers do not change or
alter ongoing behaviour
o Participant Observation: Active observation when the researcher is actively
involved in the study problem with this is that the presence of an observer can
change the behaviour of the participant
o Laboratory Observation: observations that are systematic are made within a lab
instead of in the “real world”
Descriptive Research Threats:
o Observer Bias errors in the observation occur because an observer’s
expectations cultural norms
o Reactivity: Experimenter Expectancy Effect actual change in behaviour of the
people or animals (ex: Students were told that their group of rats were genetically
superior than normal rats so they treated the rats differently)
To protect against this, it is best if the person running the study (aka the
student) is unaware of the hypothesis of the study (that these rats are
genetically smarter)
o Reactivity: The Hawthorne effect if you know that you are being observed,
you will most likely alter your behaviour
Sex Cures Migraines: was not a very controlled study and there were way too many variables
and unanswered questions this will help design more controlled research
Longitudinal Studies: Developmental study which goes on for prolonged periods of time
measuring the changes that occur in the same people over time. Advantage is that you can assess
how age effects results. Disadvantage is that people may not do the experiment for that long.
Cross-Sectional Studies: observing developmental changes that occur in different types of groups
at the same time. Ad faster; dis a lot of unidentified variables
Some Problems with Self-Report:
Self-report methods: ppl are asked to provide information about themselves
o Ex: 800 participants from the British Isles and Sub-Saharan Africa complete a
survey of 41 body parts, each rated for erogenous intensity
Self-report bias:
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