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Lecture 2

PSYC 1010 Lecture 2: PSYCH1010 - L2 - The Research Enterprise in Psychology

Course Code
PSYC 1010
Agnieszka Kopinska

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2 | HH/PSYCH 1010 The Research Enterprise in Psychology
Chapter 2: “The Research Enterprise in Psychology
Goals of Psychology
1. Measurement and Description – To develop measurement techniques that make it possible to
describe behaviour clearly and precisely.
oWhat are they?
2. Understanding and Explanation – To understand events is when they can explain the reasons for
the occurrence of the events.
oA Hypothesis is a tentative statement about the relationship between two or more
variables, and Variables are any measurable conditions, events, characteristics, or
behaviours that are controlled or observed in a study.
oHow do they work?
3. Predict – The ability to predict behaviours.
oIf we know X, can we predict Y behaviour?
4. Application and Control – The gathering of information of practical value in helping to solve
everyday problems.
oA Theory is a system of interrelated ideas used to explain a set of observations.
oIf we know the relations between X and Y, can we manipulate situations to
influence/elicit Y behaviour?
Advantages of the Scientific Approach
The scientific approach requires that people satisfy exactly what they are talking about when they
formulate a hypotheses, this clarity and precision enhances communication about important ideas.
It is relatively intolerable of error, scientists are trained to be skeptical, they subject their ideas to
empirical tests.
Steps in Scientific Investigation
1. Formulate A Testable Hypothesis
oAn Operational Definition describes the actions or operations that will be used to
measure or control a variable.
2. Select The Research Method And Design The Study
oParticipants, or Subjects, are the persons or animals whose behaviour is systemically
observed in a study.
3. Collect The Data
oData Collection Techniques, which are procedures for making empirical observations
and measurements.
4. Analyze The Data And Draw Conclusion – Researchers use statistics and meta-analysis to
analyze their data.
5. Report The Findings
oA Journal is a periodical that publishes technical and scholarly material, usually in a
narrowly defined area of inquiry.
Ways of Knowing: Non-Scientific Ways of Knowing
Intuition and common sense.
Rationalism (Use of reason)
oReason as a source of knowledge or justification.
oTruth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive.
Empiricism the theory of knowledge that asserts that knowledge comes only or primarily from
sensory experience.
Direct experience (However this can be influenced by social cognition biases)
oBelief Perseverance – Tendency to stick to our initial beliefs even when evidence
contradicts them.
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2 | HH/PSYCH 1010 The Research Enterprise in Psychology
oDon’t confuse me with the facts.
oConfirmation Bias – Tendency to seek out evidence that supports our hypothesis and
deny, dismiss, or distort evidence that contradicts them.
You will see what you are looking for.
Our perception often leads us to focus on evidence that supports our beliefs,
resulting in psychological tunnel vision.
oAvailability Heuristic – A heuristic that involves estimating the likelihood of an
occurrence based on the ease with which it comes to our minds, how “available” it is in
our memories.
oHindsight BiasA tendency to overestimate how well we could have successful
forecasted known outcomes.
Experimental Research
Experimental Research is a research method in which the investigator manipulates a variable
under carefully controlled conditions and observes whether any changes occur in a second variable
as a result, and attempts to control for other factors that might influence results.
Variable – Any characteristic that can vary – The purpose of the experiment is to find out whether
changes in one variable (X) cause changes in another variable (Y).
oIndependent Variable (IV) – A variable that an experimenter manipulates in order to its
impact on another variable – It is to be free to be varied by the experimenter.
oDependent Variable (DV)A variable that an experimenter measures to see whether the
manipulation has an effect – It is to depend on manipulations of the independent variable.
Experimental Group consists of the subjects who receive conditions and/or manipulation of an
independent variable.
Control Group consists of similar subjects who are not exposed to conditions and/or
manipulation given to the experimental group.
Extraneous Variables are any variables other than the independent variable that seem likely to
influence the dependent variable in a specific study.
oA confounding of variables occurs when two variables are linked together in a way that
makes it difficult to sort out their specific effects.
Random Assignment of subject occurs when all subjects have an equal chance of being assigned
to any group or condition in the study.
oRandomization is used to control extraneous variables and prevent them from becoming
cofounds, or creating similar groups.
Variations in Designing Experiments:
oBetween-Subjects Design, when two or more independent groups of subjects are
exposed to a manipulation of an independent variable, comparisons are made between
two different groups of participants.
oWithin-Subject Design, where subjects serve as their own control group, comparisons
are made within the same group of participants.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Experimental Research
Advantages Disadvantages
Researchers are able to draw conclusions about
cause-and-effect relationships between
Precise control over variables can eliminate
alternative explanations for findings.
Confounding of variables must be avoided.
Contrived laboratory situations are often
artificial, making it risky to generalize
findings to the real world.
Ethical concerns and practical realities
preclude experiments on many important
Descriptive /Correlational Research
Descriptive/Correlational is a research method permitting investigators to only describe patterns
of behaviour and discover links or associations between variables.
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