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1-September 13, 2012 Methods of Research.pdf

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PSYC 1010
Rebecca Jubis

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PSYC 1010 K (AB)    September 13, 2012  ** These notes are not a substitution to attending class, reading the textbook, or taking your own notes** Methods of Research - There are many different methods or research to use in psychology o Is there one method that’s better than another? NO. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages. o The method you chose depends on the purpose of your study. Your choice may depend on the type of research question you ask, funds that are available, ethics considerations etc. 1) Survey Method – questions are used to determine people’s attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours. Very often, these are paper & pencil surveys, but nowadays many of them are conducted on-line or by telephone - Advantages: o Quick and efficient o Also it is cheap to conduct o Anonymous (may help the participant feel that he/she can be honest in answering the questions because nobody will know who they are) - Disadvantages: o Response rate (i.e., although you may hand out 100 questionnaires, only a few people may return completed questionnaires) o Honesty? We can’t determine if people are answering their questions honestly, or whether they are even reading the questions carefully o Require a large sample of participants o Interpretation?? Just because the researcher has one interpretation of the questions posed in these questionnaires, it doesn’t mean that the person filling out the questionnaire will understand the questions to mean the same thing o Many surveys don’t have open-ended questions - Pilot study – take a small group of people and conduct a mini-version of your study. Try to see if your study will work the way you might expect it to. Based on these results, you may tweak your study design before you run the complete study - Selecting a sample for your study: Population Sample - By using a given group of people for your study (sample) you are hoping to be able to say that your findings hold true for the entire population of interest even though you did not 1    PSYC 1010 K (AB)    September 13, 2012  test the entire population. Thus, you have to make sure that your sample is picked carefully because it has to be a “mini” version of the population. - In order to generalize from the sample to the population, your sample must be representative of the population. Another way to say representative is to say that your sample must be unbiased. This is an essential idea! - One way to get a representative sample is to use Random Sampling o Random Sampling: each person in the population has an equal chance to be picked for the sample o Example: Survey in a magazine. For example, the question may be “is he really the man for me?” Would the results of this question be representative of the population? No. Why? One reason is that we don’t know who is reading the magazine. If it’s just younger women, we can’t generalize to older women. We also don’t know what number of people who read the magazine responded to the questionnaire. Although many people may read the magazine, only a handful may actually complete the questionnaire. These people may be different from those who read the magazine and don’t fill out the questionnaire. 2) Naturalistic Observation – this method is used to describe or measure behaviour as it naturally occurs in a natural setting. - Advantages: o People are behaving naturally - Disadvantages: o You CANNOT infer cause and effect. Namely, you cannot say what is causing a given behaviour o Time consuming o Subject reactivity – i.e., the subject is reacting to being watched. If this were to happen, it would defeat the purpose of doing naturalistic research. One solution to this may be to have hidden cameras, one-way mirrors, participant observer (i.e., where you as the researcher are doing the observing but you are also pretending to be a participant. Thus, you are blending in and this may be helpful in getting inside glimpses of what is going on) o No control over the situation o The experimenter’s expectations can colour what he/she observes. Experimenter bias or expectancy effects  Expectations can be a very powerful factor  Recall the example from class when you were first shown a drawing of a rabbit. Next, you saw a picture that could either be a rabbit or a duck. Because you were first shown a picture of a rabbit, you may expect to see a rabbit. Thus, you may be more likely to see a rabbit first because of this expectation. 2    PSYC 1010 K (AB)    September 13, 2012   Recall another example done in class: Dr. Jubis spelled out words and students called them out: “F-O-L-K, J-O-K-E, S-O-A-K.” Dr. Jubis then asked what is the white of the egg called? Many people answered YOLK! Do you see how expectations played a part?  To try to minimize expectancy effects of one observer, you may want to have two or more observers examining the same study/behaviour. You may then determine the inter-observer reliability (consistency). If there is high consistency, both observers probably gave similar observations 3) Experimental Metho
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