Tues. Sept. 23/10
Psychology Lecture 2
Methods of Research
There’s no one method of research that is superior because there are advantages and
disadvantages to everyone and it depends on the situation of topic of research on which
technique you will choose.
1) Survey Method: Consists of a set of questions used to determine people’s attitudes and
Cheap and Practical
You are able to reach a large population of participants
You are able to choose which groups of people you want to respond on the
No control over the environment
You don’t know how honest they are (pleasing the experimenter or an
acceptable social way)
Only people interested in the topic would want to participate (may get a bias
Interpretation of questions (Wording may be confusing)
Pilot Study: A mini study to make sure that there are no problems or misinterpretations in the
study (Instead of handing 2000 surveys hand out 20 to confirm it is clear and precise).
In Order to generalize from the SAMPLE to the
POPULATION, the sample must be REPRESENTATIVE of the
population. The Opposite of the representative is biased.
The sample would be as a mini version of the population.
Random Sampling: Is one method of sampling where each person in the population has an
equal chance of being chosen for the sample. 2) Naturalistic Observation: Used when you want to describe or measure peoples behaviour as
they are behaving naturally in a natural setting.
No artificial behaviour because people do not know that they are being
observed and documented
Subjects having a bad day and are not behaving the way they normally due
It’s hard to observe without disrupting the person being observed
Extreme lack of control over the situation
Observer/Experimenter Bias. (See what you want to see and automatically
interpret that it is what you are looking for. Ex. Studying separation anxiety,
adult leaves room, child about to cry and automatically interpreting that it is
anxiety when it is just gas).
Can’t infer causation (Just because you are observing a behaviour it does not
mean that you are able to know what caused the actual behaviour)
Must be able to make sure the subject does not know that they are being
observed and documented
Researcher should minimize subject reactivity (when they know they are being observed and is
not acting naturally)
They should use unobtrusive measures (Observing subject without them being aware).
o One way mirror
o Hidden camera
o Blend in with subject
Unobtrusive measures may be against ethical principles.
Before a researcher can conduct an experimenter you must have it approved by the ethics
Although it’s true about being against ethics, if it is in a public setting where the behaviour
would happen whether being watched or not, it is fine.
Also can be a participant observer.
o Acting a part of a group (Pretend to be a gang member when observing gang behaviour)
o Being undercover
o May be acting a certain way that is making them behave in a certain way
Expectation can result in seeing certain things only because you are expecting it to happen.
Inter observer reliability is having two or more observers and corresponding the observations. If
they are similar than what you have observed is right and if they are different then something is
3) Experimental Method: o Advantages
Experimenter has control over the situation
*You can infer a cause and effect relationship*
The word variable comes from the word “to vary” which means “to change”
o The two variables that are extremely important in experiments:
The independent variable: The variable that the experimenter changes or
manipulates to see if it has an effect on a behaviour.
The dependent variable: The behaviour that is measured to see if the
independent variable had an effect.
The independent variable would be known as the cause and the dependent variable would be
known as the effect. You want to find out what has caused the effect.
Ex. An experiment of male’s memory. Two groups ages 20-25 and 40 -45. Both groups received
a list of 20 words and the group was asked to repeat the 20 word list to test how their memory
is. The independent variable is age because the two groups are varied in different age. The
dependent variable is memory because it is what is being measured in the experiment.
Interaction Effect: The effect of one independent variable depends on the effect of another.
Control Group: A group that is used as a standard for comparison. It gets the “0” amount of the
independent variable. The control and experimental groups must be equivalent in every way
except for the independent variable.
Alcohol Study: 0oz, 2oz, 4oz.
o Not tested at the same time, is a one on one testing
o * Could be on Test* One scenario is that the group that has 0oz doesn’t get any glass at
all and one group that has 0oz of alcohol thinks that they are getting alcohol by
receiving a glass of something and drops of alcohol on the tip of the glass by thinking
they are having alcohol even though they are not.
o Which scenario would be best?
The second scenario would be best because one thing that is very important is
that your control group and experimental group should be equal every way
except for the alcohol. Because the person that doesn’t get any drink at all and
knows it is a alcohol test has an expectation to do great on the test on memory
because they know they are sober where as the group that doesn’t know there
is no alcohol in the glass will expect to drink alcohol and begin to expect being
drunk and it will impair their memory and act drunk.
They are equal to expectation so expectation is no longer a problem.
This is a placebo control group a special type of control group that’s used to control for subjects
expectations. If the control group is given a placebo it’s assumed that all groups are equal in
terms of expectation. Any behavioural differences are due to the actual independent variable
A placebo is something that you give someone that has nothing in it and you automatically think
that it has a effect on you because of your expectation. It can have a cause psychological and/or
Sept. 29/10 Psychology Lecture 3
Lecture 2 …Continued
Cofounding Variable: A variable that interferes with the results of a study. It aff