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ch 2.docx

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Jim Mc Cutcheon

chapter 2 10/27/2013 8:29:00 AM What Makes Psychological Research Scientific? Key characterists of the ideal scientist: 1. Precision theory organized system of assumptions and principles that purports to explain phenomena and how they are related hypothesis statement that attempts to predict or account for a set of phenomena; specifies relationships; empirically tested operational definition: define terms in hypothesis by specifying the operations & measuring the process or phenomenon 2. Skepticism Scientists do not accept ideas on faith or authority treat conclusions, both old and new, with caution Caution balanced with openness to new ideas & evidence. 3. Reliance on empirical evidence Anecdotes are insufficient Gathered through the use of various research methods. 4. Willingness to make “risky predicitons” Principle of falsifiability A scientific theory must make predictions that are specific enough to disconfirm the theory Predicts not only what will happen but also what will not happen Confirmation bias Tendency to seek and accept evidence that supports our theories & ignore evidence that contradicts beliefs. 5. Openness explain the source of ideas, how they were tested and what the results were so replication possible Peer review process ensures scientific standards and provides system of checks & balances. Descriptive Studies Goal to describe and predict behaviour but does not allow causal explanations Essential for all studies is obtaining a representative sample Methods: Case studies A detailed description of a particular being studied or treated Most commonly used by clinicians observational studies method where researchers systematically observe & record behavior without interference naturalistic observation observations in normal social environment laboratory observation observations in a more controlled lab setting psychological tests Procedures used to measure and evaluate personality traits, emotional states, aptitudes, interests, abilities, and values Chacteristics of a good test include Standardization, reliability, validity surveys Surveys are questionnaires & interviews that ask people about experiences, attitudes, or opinions Allow for extensive data collection but many problems: Obtaining representative sample (volunteer bias) Truthfulness of responses Type and phrasing of questions. Correlation Studies A correlation study is a type of description study that looks for a relationship between two phenomena Correlations: Measure of how strongly two quantifiable characteristics of behavior are related to one another Types of Correlations Positive correlation: An association between increases in one variable and increases in another. Negative correlation: An association between increases in one variable and decreases in another. Measuring Correlation Correlation coefficient: Stastical measure of correlation (ranges -1.00 to +1.00) Indicates size and direction of correlation Often graphed using scatterplots Cautions about Correlations Are often reported but may be small, nonexistent, or meaningless They may be misleading And do not establish causation Salary and alcoholism in high school teachers Experiments A controlled test of a hypothesis in which the researcher manipulates one variable to discover its effect on another An experiment includes: Variables of interest, control conditions, random assignment, and consideration of experimenter effects Experimental Variables Independent Variable Variable that experi
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