research methods

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15 Mar 2011
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Psychology Chapter Two
THE RESEARCH ENTERPRISE
The Scientific Approach to Behaviour ->
Psychologists and other scientists share three sets of interrelated goals: measurements and
descriptions, understanding and prediction, and application and control.
1.Measurements and description.
Must investigate the phenomena under study
(ie: emotions, one must figure out how to read emotions and how to measure
emotions)
Must figure out measurement techniques that make it possible to measure and
describe behaviour clearly and precisely
2.Understanding and prediction.
Scientists believe that they understand events when they can explain the
occurrence for the events
To evaluate their understanding scientists test their hypothesis
3.Application and control.
Information gathered may have some practical value in helping to solve everyday
problems
They can use what they know and apply it to people with disorders or that need
the assistance
To be sure that an intervention is affective psychologists must create a scientific
examination to tests its effectiveness
To build toward a better understanding of behaviour they develop theories
Steps in a Scientific Investigation ->
STEP ONE: Formulate a Testable Hypothesis
Normally expressed as predictions
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Scientific hypothesis must be formulated precisely and the variables under study
must be clearly defined
Provide operational definition
STEP TWO: Select a Research Method and Design the Study
Put the hypothesis to an empirical test
Various Methods: experiments, case studies, surveys, naturalistic observations
each observation has both its advantages and disadvantages
Must ponder the pros and cons and figure out the most effective method
Find participants and how to use them
STEP THREE: Collect the Data
Use a variety of data collection techniques which are procedures for making
empirical
STEP FOUR: Analyze the Data and Draw Conclusions
Findings are converted in numbers which is raw data of the study
Researchers use statistics to examine their data and decide whether their
hypothesis are being supported
Play an essential role
STEP FIVE: Report the Findings
Must share their findings with each other and the general public
Prepare a report that is delivered at a scientific meeting and is submitted to a
journal for publication
ADDVANTAGES OF THE SCIENTIIC APPROACH ->
Methods: science, logic, casual observation and common-sense
Offers clarity and precision
Requires that people state exactly what they are talking about and formulate
their hypothesis
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The relative intolerance of error
Must be sceptical and subject their ideas to empirical tests
Findings of two studies may conflict
TechniqueDescription
Direct Observation Trained to watch and record behaviour
as objectively and precisely as possible.
May use a stopwatch or video recorder
QuestionnaireQuestions developed to obtain
information about attitudes, opinions
and specific aspects of behaviour
InterviewFace-face examination to obtain
information about specific aspects of a
subjects behaviour
Psychological TestsAdministered a standardized measure
to obtain a sample of their behaviour.
Usually distributed to asses mental
abilities and personal traits
Psychological RecordingsAn instrument is used to monitor and
record a specific psychological process
in a subject. Measurement of blood
pressure, heart rate, muscle tension,
and brain activity
Examination of archival records Examines existing institutional records
(the archives) such as the census,
economic, medical and legal,
educational and business records
LOOKING FOR CAUSES: Experimental Research ->
The experiment is a research method in which the investigator manipulates a
variable under carefully controlled conditions and observes whether any changes
occur to the second variable as a result
1.Independent variable: is a condition or event that an experimenter varies in order
to see its impact on the other variable. This variable is controlled and/or
manipulated.
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