Psychology 2800E Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Participant Observation, Scatter Plot, Hawthorne Effect

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L9: Ethical Guidelines for Psychology Research con’t… & Bivariate
Correlations
November 20, 2014
Encouraging Accurate Responses
-Response sets: people might respond in a similar way to a set of related items and
doesn’t reflect their genuine opinion
>Acquiescence (or yea-saying): people say, “yes” or “strongly agree” to all items
-Opposite response is nay-saying: people say “no” or “strongly disagree” to
all items
-How can you identify these individuals? By using reverse-scored items
-“Overall, i am happy with my life”
-“Overall, I am not content with my life” (reverse-scored)
-Fence-Setting: another kind of response set
>When asked controversial questions or confusing questions, participants will
play it safe and answer in the middle of the scale
>Can try to encourage individuals to take a side by changing the scale or using
forced-choice format
>Ex: my life is close to ideal
-Trying to Look Good
>Socially desirable responding: people sometimes try to answer questions in a way
that that makes them look better than they actually are
-Opposite: faking bad
-Reduce social desirability by: ensuring anonymity, using filler items, using
implicit measures
>Self-reporting “more than they can know”: can people accurately report why they
feel, think, or behave in a particular way?
-Reasons for behavior (ex: Nylon stockings study)
-Memories of events (ex: flashbulb memories)
Observational Research
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Observational Research
-When researchers study people (or animals) by watching them
>Record what participants are doing systematically
>Can use direct means, technology
-Better than self-report?
>People may not always be able to state the real reasons why they behave in a
particular way
>Issues with administering questionnaires
>Can aid in the operationalization of variables
Is observational research better than self-reports?
-Naturalistic observation:
>Study how people and animals naturally respond to their environment
>Ex: how much people smile during a job interview
>Ex: how many times a person says “um” during a presentation
>Important for observer not to disrupt the “natural” environment
-Hide from being observed, sit in strategically location, use video recordings
-Participant observation:
>Researchers can become part of the group that they are interested in studying
>Researcher experiences what participant is experiencing to allow more intimate
knowledge of the observed behaviours
Challenges of Observational Research
-Lack of control
>Need to be cautious of conclusions from observations
>Involves internal validity issues
>Observations can be important for theory building
>Impossible for us to control third variables explanations
>Bias on researchers behalf (ex: expectations about what they want to see based
on their hypothesis)
-Observer bias
>Untrained observers tend to be biased
>Observers might see what they want to see (ex: health professionals study)
>Observers can affect what they see (ex: bright and dull rats study)
>Can reduce bias by using behaviours checklists, several observers, or masked
designs
-Participant reactivity (or observer effect)
>People change their behaviours when they know that they are being watched
(ex: Hawthorne studies)
>Can avoid this in 3 ways:
1. Hide (unobtrusive behaviours)
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2. Wait it out
3. Measure the behaviours results
-Observing people ethically
>Is it ethical for researchers to observe other people’s behaviours? It depends!
>Public vs. Private behaviours
Good observations are reliable and valid
-Need to ensure construct validity of observational measures
1. Researchers need to provide observers with good training
>Create clear rating scales (or codebooks) so that observers can make reliable
judgment with less bias
2. Using multiple observers
>Researcher can evaluate interrater reliability
-Good reliability does not imply good validity
Bivariate Correlations
Association claims…
-Establish covariance
What type of association is this?
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