Chapter 11 – research methods
Titchner – introspection
Watson – methodological ehaviourism
Logical positivism – the philosophy formulate general principles for gathering knowledge, taking these
rules from successful knowledge gathering disciplines (ie physics & chem.)
Began with a group called the Vienna Circle, a group of scientists/logicians working in Vienna
Carnap (1959) – supports this philosophy
o Knowledge is embodied in language
o In experiements, observations should be described by protocol sentences
Verification principal – the meaning of a statement is its method of verification; the truth or falsehood
of statements must be objectively determinable
Protocol sentences – sentences that refer to publicly observable events; these sentences are
meaningful, but no surplus meaning (ambiguity in what they state)
Dispositional concepts – descriptions of lawful relationships b/t independent and dependent variables
Has the form: If X, then Y. x=stimulus, y=bh
Falsifiability – concept by philosophers such as karl Popper (1965)
Operationalism – idea that suggests researchers to specify how a concept is measured.
These specifications are called operational definitions
Acceptance of the concepts
Both operationalism & logical positivism were welcomed by behaviourists - which dominated
the psychological world at the time because these two methods of inquiry were widely accepted
Gestalt psychology and psychoanalysis was damaged by these new concepts, since they used
variables that are un-quantifiable or theories that were untestable or they did not use
operational definitions in their studies. No hard, raw data.
Criticisms of operationalism
Sigmund Koch (1917-96) – operationism is necessary for meanings, but not sufficient.
o It was not meant to be a theory/method of definition, but only a method of sharpening
the meanings already in place.
o Not operation definition, but operational method.
o R.A. Fisher (1890-1962) – made this major contribution; started with a tea tasting
experiment; 5% chance of making the wrong conclusion
Null hypothesis – any differences b/t the experimental conditions are due only
Criticism: o It can only be rejected/falsified, never accepted (so it cannot be
said that an alternative hypothesis is correct).
o By 1950’s, the term ‘statistically significant’ is widely used as a goal of psychologists
Correlational methods - A number of diff measures is obtained from a set of participants and the
relationship b/t these measures is examined
Originated from Galton
Charles spearman (1863-1945) – central figure for development of correlational methods
o Factor analysis – begins with a set of correlations b/t a number of measures, then uses
statistical procedures to indentify factors that describes the structure of the correlation
o Allowed Spearman to use two factor theory of intelligence to describe intelligence
o Two factor theory of intelligence – every indiv measurement of every ability can be