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PSYC 2360 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Institutional Review Board, Naturalistic Observation, Operational Definition

Course Code
PSYC 2360
Naseem Al- Aidroos
Study Guide

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Things to Remember - Research Methods Midterm 1
Chapters 1 and 2:
Purpose of behavioural research: increase understanding of behaviour, provide methods
for improving quality of lives, guide public policy, see which methods are most effective
Goal of behavioural research: discover how people interact, perceive, think, feel, change,
learn, make decisions
Intuition: gut feeling, often leads us to incorrect conclusions because we do not study
thoroughly enough
 Confidence does not reflect accuracy
Hindsight Bias: after learning the outcome, thinking that it was obvious all along
Values: cannot be proven right or wrong, can be influenced by scientific facts
Facts: discovered empirically
Empirical: systematic data collection
Quantitative: descriptive research that focuses on numbers, then used for statistical
Qualitative: descriptive research that focuses on verbal accounts, often more subjective
and time consuming
Basic Research: curiosity sake, answers fundamental questions, uses applied research to
know what to study
Applied Research: answers specific questions for social issues, uses knowledge from
basic research
Program Evaluation Research: study the effectiveness of methods designed to make
positive social changes
Independent Variable: a.k.a. predictor variable
Dependent Variable: a.k.a. outcome variable
Descriptive Research: description of what is happening at that moment in time, “snap
shot”, e.g. interviews, surveys, naturalistic observation, limited to that point in time (does
not tell us how attitudes / behaviours changed or relationships between the variables)
Correlational Research: looking to see the relationship (correlation) between 2+
variables, often measured with Pearson Product Moment Coefficient (symbolized as r,
ranges from - 1 to + 1 with the sign indicating strength of the relationship), cannot
conclude anything about causal relationships however it is a good way to study things

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Things to Remember - Research Methods Midterm 1
that would be considered unethical to do experimentally, one must be careful of
confounding variables
Experimental Research: where the experimenter manipulates 1 variable (independent /
predictor) and looks to see the effect on another (dependent / outcome), you can conclude
causal relationships (cause and effect) using this method but it can be unethical to
manipulate some variables
Inductive Method: deriving hypothesis from observation of facts or curiosity (Sherlock
Holmes), bottom up
Deductive Method: deriving hypothesis from existing theories, top down
Laws: apply to all situations, rarely subjected to scientific investigation
Theories: apply to many but not all situations, forms basic building blocks of science
What Makes a Good Theory? General (can be generalized to population of interest),
parsimonious (the simplest explanation) and falsifiable (it can be proved incorrect,
tautological theories are ones that cannot be proven incorrect due to vague variables or
variables cannot be measured)
Chapter 3:
Four Basic Goals of Ethics: (a) to prevent physiological or psychological harm of the
participant, (b) to provide freedom to withdrawal from the experiment at any time (c)
maintaining awareness of power differentials and (d) to honestly describe the nature and
use of the research
Informed Consent: done before participating in the experiment, signed by guardian for
vulnerable populations, must be told purpose and duration of participation, the measures
taken to ensure confidentiality, if anything will be taken from them and if so for how
long, any foreseeable risks and their right to withdrawal from the experiment at any time
and prospective benefits of the research
Anonymity: when no one, even the researcher can connect the participant with their data,
often hard to achieve (have a master list to make connections and once connections are
made list is destroyed)
Confidentiality: steps taken to ensure the participant’s privacy and reduce social risk, the
individuals that have access to the data should be kept at a minimum
Debriefing: occurs after the experiment, explains purpose of research, explains any
deception, allow time for participant to answer questions and give contact information if
they have any further questions or wish to speak to someone, eliminate long-term
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