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University of Toronto Scarborough
Konstantine Zakzanis

SCIENCE AND SCIENTIFIC METHODS o Science: pursuit of systemized knowledge through observation, refers to method and goal THE ROLE OF THEORY o Theory: set of propositions meant to explain in a class of phenomena. Primary goal of science is to advance theories to account for data, often by proposing cause-effect relationships o Permits generation of hypotheses - expectations about what should occur if a theory is true o Early school of thought, called operationism: proposed each concept take a single observable/measurable operation. Each theoretical concept could be nothing more than one particular measurable event o If each concept is generalized, it is lost - theoretical concept for learning identified as single operation/effect that can be measured, other behaviour cannot be called learning, attempts to relate the different phenomena to one another might be discourage o Early operationist point of view - flexible position that theoretical concept can be defined by sets of operations or effects THE RESEARCH METHODS OF ABNORMAL PSYCHOLOGY o All empirical research entails the collection of observable data THE CASE STUDY o Collecting historical/biographical info on a single individual, including experiences during therapy sessions o Complete case study: cover family history, background, medical, development, adjustment, personality, life course, current o IE: Case studies of psychoanalytically clinicians: info on early child/conflicts with parents than by behaviourally clinicians o PROVIDING DETAILED DESCRIPTION  1954, psychiatrists Thigpen/Cleckley described client, EVE WHITE- assumes at various times three distinct personalities  The three faces of Eve  Eve White, Eve Black, Jane, Evelyn - valuable classic in literature, one of few detailed accounts of dissociative identity D  Trichotillomania is the desire to rip out ones hair  Constant comparative method: consists of identification of relevant units of info, placing units into categories that emerge from data, providing organizational themes for the information  3 themes related to issue of control (lack of control, self-disclosure, and lack of information from medical community), and the last theme related to triggers or precipitants of the compulsive hair-pulling o GENERATING HYPOTHESES  Some case studies are unique - impossible to generalize to other individuals, including others with the same disorder  Case study may not reveal principle characteristics of people in general, no evidence of cause/effect relationship EPIDEMIOLOGICAL RESEARCH o Epidemiology: study of frequency/distribution of a disorder in a population  Data is gathered about the rates of a disorder and its possible correlates in a large sample or population  Determines three features of a disorder: 1. Prevalence – proportions of a population that has the disorder at a given point/time 2. Incidence – number of new cases of disorder that occur in some period usually a year 3. Risk factors – conditions/variables that increase likelihood of developing the disorder  Important to planning health care facilities/services and for allocating provincial/federal grants for study of disorders CANADIAN PERSPECTIVES 5.1 - 1990 Ontario Mental Health Supplement study examined relation between selected risk factors/mental disorders in people living in the community - Risk factors: experience of severe physical/sexual abuse as child, parental mental disorder, failure to graduate from high school - Parental mental disorder /severe abuse are strongest risk factors from among all of the variables examined - Ontario epidemiological study found 38% of people with 2> disorders reported experiencing severe sexual/physical abuse as a child and comparable figures for the one-disorder and healthy groups were 21% and 10% - According to Blackstock , Aboriginal children living in out-of-home care than during the ear of residential schools - First Nation child welfare agencies can be better than provincial agencies in finding ways to care for children in need within their own communities and in providing services they are culturally appropriate if given the flexibility and necessary resources THE CORRELATIONAL METHOD o Research relies on correlational method – it establishes if there is a relationship between/among 2> variables o Variables being studied are measured as they exist in nature, distinguishes method from experimental research, in which variables are actually manipulated/controlled by researcher o We would measure stress levels by having people fill out a questionnaire/interviewing them about recent stressful experiences o MEASURING CORRELATION  1 step in determining a correlation is to obtain pairs of observations of the variables in question i.e. height and weight  Correlation coefficient denoted by the symbol r  Takes any value between -1.00 and +1.00, measures both the magnitude and the direction of a relationship  The higher the value of r , larger and stronger the relationship between two variables  If r = -1.00 or +1.00 it is the highest possible/perfect relationship  If r = 0.00 the variables are unrelated  +r = variables are positively related, values for variable X increase while variable Y increases  -r = variables are negatively related and the values for Variable X increase while Variable Y decreases o STATISTICAL SIGNIFICANCE - Likelihood that results of an investigation due to chance. Statistically significant correlation - not occurred by chance - In psychological research correlation is considered statistically significant if the likelihood or probability that it is a chance finding is 5 or less in 100. This level of significance is called the .05 level, commonly written as p=.05 (p= probability) - As size of the correlation coefficient increases, result is more likely to be statistically significant - Greater the number of observations, smaller r needs to be to reach statistical significance o APPLICATIONS TO PSYCHOPATHOLOGY - When correlational method is used on psychopathology, one variable is typically diagnosis. To calculate correlation between 2 variables, diagnosis is quantified so that (having anxiety disorder is designated by score of 1 , not by a score of 2) - Classificatory variables: age, sex, social class, yes or no. These variables are naturally occurring patterns and not manipulated o PROBLEMS OF CAUSALITY - Correlational method does not allow determination of cause-effect relationships.
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