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Lecture 6

Lecture 6 - Descriptive and Correlational Methods 1.docx

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Department
Psychology
Course
Psychology 2800E
Professor
Doug Hazlewood
Semester
Fall

Description
Descriptive and Correlational Methods 1: Describing events (or the relation between events) without directly influencing events Observational Research 1. Naturalistic Observations 2. Participant-Observer Research 3. Problems and Solutions Part 1: Naturalistic Observations A. Basic Features  Researcher plays “passive” role (observes but doesn’t participate)  Participants observed in “natural” real-world setting  Procedures are “unobtrusive” (p’s don’t now they’re being observed), and  “Non-reactive” (no attempt to influence p’s behaviour)  W&M mix these up? (p. 194-195) B. Not the same as causal or informal observations. Four decisions:  Purpose of study (what to observe),  Where observations will take place  Who participants are,  How observations recorded (e.g., see W&M p.205-208) C. Examples (p. 195-196; involve observing actual behaviours as they occur)  Can also involve observing what’s “left behind” after a behaviour occurs (“physical trace” measures p.195)  Most unobtrusive and non-reactive D. Physical Trace Measures: 1. Erosion measures (observe wear or erosion of materials). E.g.,  Wear of floor tiles to measure popularity of museum exhibits (live chicks very popular)  Tiles in front of one particular exhibit that had to be replaced much more frequently than tiles in front of other exhibits  This exhibit is more popular than the other ones  Observed what people left behind in time  Short cuts taken on campus (look for “paths” where grass/snow is worn away)  Popularity of books in the library (look for “worn pages”)  Books used frequently show clear signs of erosion 2. Accretion measures (observe what was deposited or “laid down” after behaviour)  Finger (and nose) prints on glass of museum exhibits (popularity of exhibits)  Kids are more likely to get up close to glass if they are interested in seeing what’s behind the glass  Could determine approximate age based on height  Measure how fast a car was going based on bug splatter on windshields – (speed of cars) the bigger the bug splat, the faster the car was going  Measure popularity of radio station by looking at radio dial inside parked cars  Car dealer asks mechanic and what radio station the car is set to in order to determine which stations to broadcast their ads on  Woman claimed she never wore her wedding dress, wanted to return it, but rice was found in wedding dress (never used?)  Accretion of paint (university traditions): E.g.,  Western Engineers painting Cronyn observatory like a pumpkin  If paint didn’t get washed off, it could be estimated how long the tradition has been going on for based on the thickness of the paint  Dust accretion (equipment use in factory)  Claimed that a piece of equipment was used very frequently, but dust accumulation on the machine showed that it hasn’t been used in a while  Litter (popularity of public events)  More observers there are, the more garbage is left behind  Discarded cigarette butts to learn about smoking habits  How far down the cigarette was smoked (how long the butt was)  People in England have higher rates of lung cancer because they smoke their cigarettes right down to the filter  Graffiti: “the scrawl of the wild”  E.g. public washrooms (gender differences in amount and content; people’s attitudes toward groups, e.g., gays, races, political groups)  Men have more graffiti in washrooms than women; also have more sexual content  Household garbage. E.g.,  Studying beer consumption: front door (survey) and “backdoor” (garbage)  Asked up front and look in garbage  People underrepresented what they drank compared to what was thrown out in their garbage  The Garbage Project: (U of Arizona): How much food is wasted (related to income)?  Identified high and low income areas  Arranged for contents of the household garbage cans to be emptied into special ID bags  Bags retrieved from dump and contents were analyzed  Rich people waste more food than poor people  People were more likely to waste food when it’s in short supply (“crisis buying”)  When food is in short supply, people buy as much of it as they can, end up having more
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