PSYC 361 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Dependent And Independent Variables, Empiricism, Determinism

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2/2/17
Research Methods & Evidence-Based Practice
Assumptions of Science
o Empiricism the best way to understand behavior is to
Generate predictions based on theory
Gather data
Use data to test prediction
o Determinism behavior is orderly and systematic. Nothing occurs by chance
o Discoverability orderliness can be discovered
Research methodologies allow us to test and draw inferences about ideas of how the
world works
o Construct abstract concept or quality that doesnt physically exist but we
attempt to measure it. This is what researchers are interested in.
o Variable an attribute, quality, or entity that can assume different values across
people or things
Provide quantitative/qualitative descriptions of constructs
Operationalize constructs
Allows it to be measured
Independent variable variable that varies or is manipulated to observe its
effect on behavior
Dependent variable variable that is thought to be affected by the
independent variable
o Hypothesis testable statement describing the relationship between 2 or more
constructs
Make hypothesis about constructs, but measure relationships among
variables
Experimental hypothesis uses variables
Research hypothesis uses constructs
o Theory a set of interrelated hypotheses used to explain a phenomenon and make
predictions among relevant constructs
Formally lay out cause and effect picture we draw from our observations
Composed of sets of hypotheses, which are predictions about the
relationships among constructs which we must represent with variables
Goal of research is to systematically examine and establish causal inferences
conclusions, drawn from data, about the likelihood of a relationship between 2 variables
o The extent to which we can make causal inferences depends on the validity of the
researchers conclusions
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