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Intro to Psych Chapter 2

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PSYC 1000
Peter Pada

Chapter 2: Research Methods in Psychology Def’ns Theory- an organized set of concepts that explains a phenomenon or set of phenomena Determinism- the doctrine that all events- physical, behavioural, and mental-are determined by specific causal factors that are potentially knowable Hypothesis- A tentative and testable explanation of the relationship betwn two or more events or variables; often stated as a prediction that a certain outcome will result from specific condition Martin Seligman Positive Psychology - Training soldiers to become resilient before war and helping them after war - That we do have control over our self - Strength based psychology What do Psychology do? - Engage in psychological inquiry o Want questions that they want answer - Formulate Questions to be research - Conduct various forms of research - Apply psychological Principles o Treating different patients differently Psychologists in work setting Figure 1.2 Spending most of their time in Independent practice, academic settings, hospital and clincs(1 to 3 )d Speciality areas of psychology 1 clinical psychology 2 Counselling psychology Chapter 2: Basic Concepts of Research  Scientific Method  Defn involves a set of procedures used for gathering and interpreting objective information  an organized way of using experience and testing ideas to increase knowledge  3 Goals – Describe, Explain/Understand, Predict  follows strict rules  Intensity and duration in research (all numbers based)  it’s empirical  it’s systematic  it’s often rigorous  What is the scientific method?  Limits sources of error  Always limitations in research  Yield dependable generalization  Draw conclusions with maximum objectivity  What are the steps in the scientific method?(look at figure 2.1)  Initial observation or question  Person working in psychology has to want answers  Why groups act in certain ways  Form a hypothesis  Design the study  Analyze the data and draw conclusions  Statistics and correlations  Report the findings  Consider open questions  Act on open questions Theories  A theory is … o An organized set of concepts that explains a phenomenon or set of phenomena o Is a tentative explanation of fact and relationships that underlie observed events( is tentative until it is resreached)  Based on the concept of determinism o Defn That all events are based on specific causual factors (one variable can lead to effect another variable) o limited to the individuals environment or within the person.  Psychologists use theories to formulate new research questions o Based on the idea that lawful patterns of relationships can be explained by specific causal factors Hypothesis  A hypothesis is … o A tentative and testable statement about the relationship between the causes and consequences of behavior o Can have one or more hypothesis  Often involve “if-then” predictions o E.g., IF children view a lot of violence on television, THEN they will engage in more aggressive acts towards peers  ISSUES: the use of a lot: very vague Violence : Def’n and degree (punching, poking) Children (AGES)Aggressive (base-line) and meaning of peer  Research is conducted to verify the prediction by using the scientific method What is the Scientific Method?  The scientific method involves a set of procedures used for gathering and interpreting objective information o Limit sources of error o Yield dependable generalizations o Draw conclusions with maximum objectivity Research Challenge  When comparing people and groups we want to look at significant differences  Challenges to objectivity are an important consideration when conducting and evaluating research o Observer bias(people who in charge of collecting the data) = distortion of evidence because of the personal motives and expectations of the viewer  Sometime people will consciously and unconsciously to change data to their advantage o Our biases act as filters for information Remedies for Biases  There are two main techniques that minimize observer bias: o Standardization (procedure that everyone is following through)  Using uniform and consistent procedures in all phases of data collection  Instruction must be the same for all o Operational definitions (must be able to defn what we are studying)(both researcher and participant)  Defining a concept in terms of the specific operations or procedures used to measure it  Standardizes the meaning of concepts  Applies to all variables in a study Formal Experiments  Experimental and control groups o Experimental participants partake in the treatment; control groups do not.  Treatment: Medications, Coffee (some form a manipulation) o All other conditions are held constant for both groups. Research Variables  There are two main types of variables (factors that vary in amount or kind) o Independent Variable (IV)  A factor that is manipulated by the researcher  Changes to the variable and has impact of the dependent variable  The causal part of the relationship o Dependent Variable (DV)  A factor that the experimenter measures to determine the impact of the IV  The outcome  The effect part of the relationship  No limits on the amount of variable on both part but chances of error will increase o But must have at least one on each part Experimental Methods  Procedures used to make strong causal claims about the impact of the IV (manipulated) on the DV (measured) o While experiments allow for causal statements, alternative explanations may exist o What factors are associated with alternative explanations? Alternative explanations (in research)  Confounding variables(factors or variables) that may influence the interpretation of the results o A variable other than what the experimenter purposely introduced that may change a participant’s behavior o Adds confusion and puts interpretation of data at risk (things that the researcher cant control) o E.g of Confounding Variables; expresso test: Sleep, Amount of study) Additional Confounds  Expectancy effects: o Occur when a researcher subtly communicates to participants the behaviors that he or she expects to find, producing the desired reaction o Often unintentional o Can trigger desired response (rather than IV)  Placebo effect: o Occurs when the experimental participants change their behavior in the absence of any kind of experimental manipulation  E.g. Sugar Pills that dissolves
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