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Lecture 2

Psychology 1000 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Operational Definition, Falsifiability, Statistical Inference


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYCH 1000
Professor
Lynda Hutchinson
Lecture
2

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Chapter 2: How Psychologists Do Research
What Makes Psychological Research Scientific?
Key characteristics of the ideal scientist:
1. Precision
2. Skepticism
3. Reliance on empirical evidence
4. Willigess to ake risky preditios
5. Openness
1. Precision
Theory (building knowledge)
o Organized system of assumptions and principles that purports to explain
phenomena and how they are related
Hypothesis (testing predictions)
o Statement that attempts to predict or account for a set of phenomena; specifies
relationships; empirically tested
THEORY/HUNCHHYPOTHESISPREDICTIONS w/ operational definitionsEVIDENCE
Operational definition: define terms in hypothesis by specifying the operations for observing
and measuring the process or phenomenon (ex: anxiety) ex. Taking a survey on stress result
from survey (scores) is the operational definition
-Ho ad hat you’re easurig
2. Skepticism
Scientists do not accept ideas on faith and authority
Skepticism means treating conclusions, both old and new, with caution (ex: keeping the
limitations of the study in mind)
Caution balanced with openness to new ideas & evidence
3. Reliance on Empirical Evidence
A scientist relies on empirical evidence to determine whether a hypothesis is true
Gathered through the use of various research methods (observations, experiments,
surveys)
Not all methods are perfect error will exist
4. Willigess to ake Ricky Predictios
Principle of falsifiability
o A scientific theory must make predictions that are specific enough to disconfirm
the theory
o Predicts not only what will happen but also what will not happen
Confirmation bias
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o Tendency to seek and accept evidence that supports our theories and ignore
evidence that contradicts beliefs
5. Openness
“ietist’s illigess to explain the source of their ideas, how they tested them, and
what the results were
o Enough clarity so study replication is possible
Peer review process ensures scientific standards and provides system of checks &
balances
Types of Research:
Descriptive Studies
Goal to describe and predict behaviour but does not allow casual explanations
Essential for all studies is obtaining a representative sample
Descriptive methods:
o Case studies, observational studies, psychological tests, surveys
Almost all research has a descriptive element
Case Studies
Detailed description of a particular individual being studied or treated (i.e. counselling
or clinical psychology)
May be used to formulate broader research hypothesis
Most commonly used by clinicians
o Occasionally by researchers in preliminary stages of inquiry
Hard to generalize because of the differences in people
Observational Studies
Method where researchers systematically observe and record behaviour without
interference
1) Naturalistic observation
o Oseratios i a perso’s typial soial eiroet
2) Laboratory observation
o Observations in a more controlled lab setting
Psychological Tests
Procedures used to measure and evaluate personality traits, emotional states,
aptitudes, interests, abilities, and values
Psychological tests can be objective (surveys) or projective (interpreting a picture and
being asked questions)
Characteristics of a good test include:
o Standardization, reliability*, validity* (know what it is and why it is important)
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