Chp 2 Notes

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8 Nov 2010
Chapter 2
Scientific Method: A set of rules that governs the collection and analysis of data gained
through observation
xScientists of all disciplines report the details of their research methods in sufficient detail
that other investigators can repeat, or replicate, the research.
Replication: Repetition of an experiment or observational study to see whether previous
results will be obtained. One of the greatest strengths of science. It ensures erroneous
results and incorrect conclusions are weeded out.
Hypothesis: A statement, usually designed to be tested by an experiment, that tentatively
expresses a cause- and-effect relationship btw two or more events. The starting point of
any study. It is an idea, phrased as a general statement, that a scientist wishes to test
through scientific research. Occur to scientists as a result of accumulated research and
Theory: A set of statements designed to explain a set of phenomena; more encompassing
than a hypothesis. Describes and explains known facts, proposes relations among variables,
and makes new predictions. Generates a testable hypotheses (hypotheses that can be
proven or supported by sci research)
xScientists either manipulate or measure the values of variables to help evaluate hypotheses.
Manipulation: Setting the values of an independent variable in an experiment to see
whether the value of another variable is affected.
Experimental group: A group of participants in an experiment, the members of which are
exposed to a particular value of the independent variable, which has been manipulated by
the researcher.
Control group: A comparison group used in an experiment, the members of which are
exposed to the naturally occurring or zero value of the independent variable.
Nominal fallacy: The false belief that one has explained the causes of a phenomenon by
identifying and naming it; for example, believing that one has explained lazy behaviour by
attributing it to "laziness".
xClassifying only prepares us to examine and discover events that cause a behaviour.
xCauses for behaviour could be internal or external events. Some events are causal and
others are completely unrelated to the behaviour.
xParticular variables need to be selected when designing an experiment
Operational definition: The definition of a variable in terms of operations the researcher
performs to measure or manipulate it. Independent and dependent variables are defined
in terms of this, a researcher performs to set their values/ measure them
xResearcher must provide others with a thorough and adequate description of the
procedures used to manipulate the independent variable and to measure the dependent
Confounding of variables: If there are extra, unwanted variables that vary synchronously
with the intended independent variables, the researcher won't be able to distinguish the
effects of any one of them on the dependent variables. The effects of the variables will be
confounded. No valid conclusion can be made.
Counterbalancing: A systematic variation of conditions in an experiment, such as the order
of presentation of stimuli, so that different participants encounter them in different orders;
prevents confounding of independent variables with time-dependent processes such as
habituation or fatigue.
xIf a measurement is objective than anyone could follow the procedure and obtain the same
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