Lecture 2- Research.docx

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8 Apr 2012
Lecture 2 - Research 1/12/2012 12:38:00 PM
1-Lack of unity in psychology
lack of unity in the subject matter
-there are many methods used by psychologists used to study
-methodological pluralism = use of multiple methods in the field of
-we are not joined by a common method we are not unified by a
commitment to a single methodology
-*there is also a lack of unity in how we interpret our findings
we stand out from the natural sciences in this regard
-different from medicine
psychologists interpret results from tests differently
o depending on their theoretical background
-what joins these psychologists together is a commitment to scientific
methods of conducting research
2-Scientific method
-Charles Pierce argued that the most reliable and meaningful way to
develop a belief is through the scientific method
-we are guided by empirical reasoning
empiricism as a philosophy = knowledge is derived through
empirical reasoning = takes place through direct
o observer reflects logically on these experiences
o guided by two main assumptions:
determinism: assumption that all events have causes
*biological vs psychic determinism
causes can be predicted within a certain
Freud’s psychic determinism = every
psychological event is determined by a preceding
mental event (unconscious mental determination)
mental event ---- psychic event
Skinner looked at the environment at the most
important place to look to understand a person
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Functional analysis = principals of
objectivity: without bias, can be verified by more than
one observer
an objective method is not influenced by human
factors such as bias and expectations
can be verified by more than one observer
-characteristics of research methods
o a theory is the best available abstraction to understand
o a theory has to be compliant
o should allow for revision, should get better
Evolution of scientific disciplines
natural history comes before experimental science
natural science= observation activity, descriptive activity
o addresses the question of how things are
o defined by variables (events and conditions we plan to
o researchers have less challenges providing operational
definitions of their variable
o their variables are defined by an actual set of operations
we can not provide the same operational definitions in psychology
as in natural sciences
a natural history approach is a descriptive analysis, first step in
scientific inquiry
relational research
o looks at relations between two variables
experimental research
o manipulation of one or more independent variables defines
experimental research
Psychology as a natural science
Guided as deductive reasoning
o Try to determine whether certain conclusions can or cannot
be drawn
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