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PSY100Y5 Study Guide - Comprehensive Midterm Guide: Descriptive Statistics, Naturalistic Observation, Random Assignment


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSY100Y5
Professor
Dax Urbszat
Study Guide
Midterm

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UTM
PSY100Y5
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE

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Research Methods
We are bombarded with information, most of which is poorly presented. The
media presents information only if it is entertaining/attractive. In order to
differentiate which news is coming from good, credible sources, we must learn
how to think critically.
Peer-reviewed journals are the best source of information. They are reviewed
objectively without any internal bias.
Characteristics of Good Psychological Research
1. Theoretical framework. A set of interconnected ideas that have hypotheses.
A hypothesis is a question. A good theory has a lot of hypotheses. A good
theory is never finished. Ex: Gravity. It started with Newton, then Einstein,
and has moved on to quantum mechanics and string theory … it’s constantly
being studied. The theory of gravity hasn’t finished yet. There are still things
we don’t know.
2. Standardized procedure. A procedure that’s the same for all subjects
except where variation is introduced to test hypothesis. Any results that I see
are results of how I manipulated the independent variable. No one study is
good enough on its own; there’s always a chance of it being a fluke.
Research always has to be done by different researchers; it should be able to
be replicated. We can’t rely on the findings of just one study.
3. Generalizability. How well can we generalize this study to the rest of the
world? This is the external validity of the study. We need to undergo a
procedure that is sensible and relevant to circumstances outside the lab. For
example, we can’t use university students as subjects in an experiment
regarding jurors and their tendency for discrimination because their mindsets
are different. University students are exposed to diversity which lowers their
prejudice tendency. So we can’t use them to make a general study in the
experiment. What can we get away with that is realistic while exerting as
much control as we can?
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4. Objective measurements. Measures that are reliable (produce consistent
results) and that are valid (that assess the dimensions they purport to assess).
Are the things we are using to measure valid and reliable? Do they measure
what they say they’re going to measure? For example, galvanic skin
detectors are examples of valid and reliable measures because they can
measure anxiety levels according to how sweaty one’s palms are and other
external responses. An invalid measure is a polygraph—the so called ‘lie
detector’. It is really only measuring the heart rate, breathing, pulse, etc. It
doesn’t actually tell if one is lying or not.
Psychological Research
Naturalistic observation. Observing the world around you. You must be
unobtrusive so as not to affect the behavior of your subjects. The problem
with this method is that you can’t know for sure why your subjects are
behaving the way you are simply by watching them. You can’t really
make a definitive claim.
Surveys. This is the best way to gain information. But it’s also the most
corruptible and easiest to manipulate. It depends on who writes the
surveys; they often manipulate the words to get what they want. For
instance, Nestle posted a survey in which they asked pediatricians
whether or not peanuts should be consumed by toddlers aged 2 and
under. Nestle did this to boost their sales as the general consensus was
‘yes’.
Case study. When one person/thing/phenomenon is studied. Case studies
are done with no evidence and are not experimental. The results can’t be
trusted because it is just one study and therefore cannot be generalized.
This often leads to trial and error and people making assumptions and
claims based on anecdotal evidence (a personal experience).
Correlations. Measure of association between two variables (-1<r<+1).
not accurate.
Correlational research. Establishes whether there’s a relationship
between 2 or more variables. Cannot infer casuality.
1. Directional problem.
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