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Lecture 2

PSY 110 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Caffeine, Trepanning, Dependent And Independent Variables

Course Code
PSY 110

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Studying Human Behavior
A. General Steps
1. Develop a research question
i. Example: "What causes ADHD?"
2. Use theory to generate plausible answers
i. Example: "Eating too much sugar = ADHD"
3. State a hypothesis (a testable prediction)
i. Example: "Kids who eat a lot of sugar will have more ADHD symptoms"
4. Develop operational definitions
i. Specify exactly how variables are measured or quantified
ii. Example: "lots of sugar" = >20g/day recorded in food diary
iii. Example: "ADHD symptoms" = M.D. record of # diagnostic criteria met
iv. Must be precise, unambiguous
v. Allows others to replicate the study
5. Select participant(s)
i. Population = a whole group of interest
ii. Sample = select group of cases from the population
iii. Random sample = everyone in population has an equal chance of being
6. Test hypothesis by gathering data
7. Draw conclusions based on data
B. Types of Research Methods
1. Non-experimental (4 kinds)
Naturalistic Observation
a. Watch and record behavior in natural environment
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b. Good for describing, not explaining
Case Study
a. Study one or a few cases in depth
b. Necessary when population is small
c. But participants may be atypical – do results generalize?
a. Question people via paper, computer, or interview
b. Economical, practical
c. Sometimes the only way to get data (example: about how people think)
d. Warning: Self-reports may be inaccurate
Correlational Studies
a. Measure (collect data on) 2 or more variables
b. See how variables are related by calculating a correlation coefficient
c. Correlation = a number from –1 to +1
d. Sign tells how variables are related
1. Positive = as one variable increases, so does the other
2. Negatives = as one variable increases, the other decreases
e. Number tells how strongly they are related
1. +1 = strongest positive
2. -1 = strongest negative
3. 0 = no relationship (closer to 0, the weaker the relationship)
4. -.10 = weak negative/+.32 = moderate positive
5. Strength is determined by number, not sign (example: -.99 is stronger than +.23)
f. Correlation
1. Positive correlation = left to right going up (/)
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