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Lecture 7

Lecture 7 - Descriptive and Correlational Methods 2.docx

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Psychology 2800E
Doug Hazlewood

Descriptive and Correlational Methods 2: Archival research Prologue A. We like to record information. E.g.  Newspaper records;  The Gazette  Birth dates and death records;  School and employment records;  Record of credit card purchases;  Government records;  On TV, written records  National census; police & court records;  Attitude and opinion polls (e.g., Gallup);  Health records (… grave stones) B. These records are called “archives”  Similar to physical trace measures (what’s “left behind” after behaviour occurs). But  Archival records are different in two respects:  Records were not specifically collected to answer research questions;  Someone other than the researcher recorded the data  The researcher plays a “passive role” by observing what someone else has already recorded Part 1: Advantages of Using Archives for Research A. Extensive (see examples above) B. Easily accessible: 1. *Many archives are stored in public places (e.g. libraries) *Stored in digital form (e.g. PsycInfo) *Stored on the Internet *Or,… a brief letter and postage stamp 2. Easily available (someone else has done the recording, so we don’t have to) C. Method is unobtrusive and non-reactive D. Ethical issues (involving informed consent and privacy) are minimized  Often data are part of the “public record” – don’t need special permission to use the data. E.g.,  Newspaper editorials  Classified ads  But must be careful with phone numbers and other personal identifying information  Often provided in “aggregate” form so individuals can’t be identified (e.g., know number of people infected with HIV, not who is infected) Part 2: Examples of Archival Research A. Clothing and Aggression  Researchers began with informal observation – there is an association between “black” and bad things”  E.g. being black-listed, black-mailed  When bad things happen, it’s a black day; black cats crossing paths  The association extends to the clothes we wear  Wear black when someone dies  Also in the movies we watch…  “Bad Guy” always wears black, “Good Guy” wears white  “Wicked Witch” of the west dressed in black, “Good Witch” of the North is dressed in white  Darth Vader (a bad guy) is dressed in black, also influenced by the “dark side” of the Force, not the light side! …lol.  Q: Are NFL and NHL teams who wear black uniforms more aggressive?  Operationally defined a “black uniform” as at least 50% black  “Aggression” = penalties  All data was stored in easily accessible archives  Results: Yes they are B. Attributions in the sports page (explaining the cause of success and failure)  Wins = internal attributions (“we’re good”)  Losses = external attributions (“bad weather”, “bad referee”, “other team was unfair”)  And attributions in advice columns (letters to Dear Abby & Ann Landers)  When it comes to explaining their own problems, people tend to make external attributions (it’s not my fault)  When explaining other’s problems, people make internal attributions (it’s their fault)  Researchers opened up archives and all the information/attributions were there, but they needed to be coded/analyzed to determine if a particular statement was an external or internal attribution C. Relation between temperature and aggression (“beanballs” in professional baseball)  A bean ball occurs when the pitcher hits the batter with the ball (operational definition of aggression) Results:  More beanballs when weather is hot. But:  Maybe pitcher’s hand got sweaty when hot; lost control of the ball; beanball was accident? Not a valid measure of aggression?  Researcher turned to archival records to help address the validity issue  Number of balls vs. strikes -> balls would indicate accidental loss of control  Also numbe
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