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Lecture

Topic 2: Research Methods in Psychology

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSY 0010
Professor
Allan Zuckoff
Semester
Spring

Description
PSY 0010 notes – Research Methods in Psychology – page 1 Theory: explains set of facts/observations Describes causal connections Is falsifiable Possible that evidence against can be found Anything that cannot be falsified is not a theory Contrast with faith ­ cannot be falsified, so not a theory Allows prediction of new observations If x causes y in z situation, x in z ­> y Research tests a theory by testing its predictions Systematic and objective observation EX: what is the relationship between violence on TV and aggression in children? Scientific method: 1. observe 2. generalize from observations Will observation repeat in multiple situations? 3. develop a theory 4. test the theory 5. revise theory Testing a theory Hypothesis: testable proposition describing the relationship that may exist  between events If _____ then _____ Testing hypothesis: who will be observed? Cannot study entire population, need a sample to study and draw  conclusions about  population What method of observation will be used? Descriptive Methods Naturalistic observation Real world settings Advantages:  Discovery of initial connection Real­world applicability Disadvantages: Uncontrolled Might be other influences Observer bias may influence observations Other approach: case study Observe and describe a single individual  PSY 0010 notes – Research Methods in Psychology – page 2 EX: memory research ­ HM ­ brain surgery changed memory Most of our current knowledge on memory comes from his case study Advantages to case studies: Rich detail Access to rare phenomena Proof of existence ­ proves some things are possible Disadvantages: Uncontrolled Problem of generalizability 3rd approach: surveys/interviews Obtain a representative sample that mirrors the population of interest Randomly select participants ­ in theory, gives each part of population an equal  chance to be in  the study Administer self­report measures i.e. interview, questionnaires Advantages: Generalizable Efficient, cost­effective Disadvantages: Sample vs. population ­ how representative is the sample? Logistically challenging Response biases Social desirability ­ they might look bad if answering truthfully, so answers not  always truthful Experimental Methods Systematically vary an aspect of situation, control all others, observe (measure) effects to  establish a cause/effect relationship Aspect of situation ­ variable ­ must have at least 2 values Elements of experiment: Independent variable: manipulated by researcher; cause Dependent variable: measured byr esearcher; effect EX: hypothesis: if (kids exposed to violent TV) then (aggression will increase) Independent variable: violent TV Dependent variable: aggressive behavior Other elements Operational definition: specify and define phenomena of interest so they can be  experimentally studied Define IV so manipulation possible ­ exposure to X hours violent TV PSY 0010 notes – Research Methods in Psychology – page 3 Define DV so measurement possible ­ number of aggressive behaviors Controlling uncontrolled variables Assignment of participants to groups: experimental/control groups Control
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