Class 3 – 01:17.doc

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Pennsylvania State University
Nicholas Pearson

Class 3 – 01/17/12 Chapter 2 – Methodology Hypothesis Generation − Social Psychology (as with all academic disciplines) is cumulative − Social Psychologists use their personal experiences to generate ideas 3 Types of experimental methods − Observational (description) − Correlational (prediction) − Experimental (causality) Observational Method − Ethnography − researcher observes a group from within − tries not to influence the behavior of the group − Trained observers − unobtrusively watch subjects from outside − use a coding scheme to record behavior − Archival analysis − examine accumulated documents of a culture Pluses and Minuses − pluses − often the easiest way to gather information (sit there, watch and record) − minuses − some behaviors are hard to observe − the observer can't always be unobtrusive The Correlational Method − Systematically measuring the relationship between two or more variables − Surveys − Ask people about their attitudes and behaviors − Correlate Observations − Observe behaviors and see how they relate to other variables Correlation Coefficient ranges from -1 to +1 − Positive correlation indicates that as one variable or interest increases, the other increases − Negative correlation indicates that as one variable or interest increases, the other decreases − Very small plus or minus or zero correlation indicates that the two variables have no predictable relationship − Example − Suppose correlation between watching violent TV and aggression is .30 − Violent TV leads to aggressive behavior − Even if variables Aand B are perfectly correlated, we cannot determine their causal relationship − Possibilities: − Acauses B − B causes A − Third variable C is causing bothAand B (parental supervision) Correlation Examples: − Television and aggression − Exercise and heart disease − Self-Esteem and drug abuse Experimental Method − Often thought of as the prototypical “Lab Experiment” − Questions answered − Causality Independent Variable - What the researcher manipulates or changes Dependent Variable - What the researcher measures to see if the change in the IV had any affect − In the Kitty Genovese example the independent variable is the number of people in group a
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