Scientific Method.pdf

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Rutgers University
Professor Stephen Killianski

Scientific Method (October 31) 1. Criteria for "Truth" 1. Faith- scriptures, religion, belief 2. Intuition- acquired through insight, (i.e. The Declaration of Independence) 3. Consensus- what everybody believes 4. Reason- relates to things like math; doesn't really relate to science 5. Empirical Data- only true aspect of science; being able to quantify and prove to be true; draw objective as opposed to subjective conclusions 2. Features of the Scientific Method 1. Objectivity and impartiality- method; how they're doing the work 2. Empirically testing falsifiable hypotheses derived from theory using systematic methods designed to protect against bias 1. If data doesn't support hypotheses, then it can be assumed that hypothesis is probably not true 3. Operationally defining variables 1. define the variable in the terms of how you're going to measure 4. Measuring variables with reliable and valid techniques 1. Reliability: having the ability to repeat and maintain the same results 5. Peer review, criticism, and replication 1. make sure that the experiment is valid and has not been faked 6. "Truth" is conditional 1. Science can always be overturned by new scientific discoveries 2. Never established once and for all 3. Theory 1. A coherent, unified set of principles or concepts that explain a particular set of phenomena 1. Examples: 1. Freud's psychoanalytic theory of personality 2. Serotonin deficiency theory of depression 2. Theories tell us how and why phenomena occur, allowing us to predict and sometimes control them 1. i.e. 5 factor model NOT a theory because they don't explain how and shy things happen 4. Hypothesis 1. A specific prediction derived from theory 1. Examples: 1. Freud's inversion theory of homosexuality 2. The "full moon=lunacy" theory 3. Must be "falsifiable" 2. Rigorous, systematic research techniques minimize bias in our results 3. Hypotheses are NEVER proven or disproved 1. Therefore theories are never proven or disproven 5. Limitations of the Scientific Method 1. Pure impartiality and objectivity are unattainable: science is not value-free 1. Technology influences research studies 1. i.e. when new technology comes out relating to a certain part of the body, research in that area will increase 2. We study samples, and make inferences (based on probability) about populations 3. Beware of the naturalistic fallacy- "there is no bridge from is to ought" 4. Relying on the scientific method to study human social behavior is based on several assumptions 6. Assumptions of the Scientific Approach 1. Human behavior is a phenomenon of the natural world (Naturalism: Brain and mind operate according to natural law) and thus is subject to principles of: 1. Determinism: effects occur necessarily because of causes 2. Materialism: assumption that every though, every emotion, every urge, etc, is a product of neural activity 1. this is an assumption that cannot be proven empirically 3. Rationalism: the human mind is equipped to explore another standard self 1. Basically, being able to understand and learn more about other humans/self 7. Recurre
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