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PSYCH CH. 2.doc

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Dax Urbszat

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Chapter 2 The Research Enterprise in PsychologyGoals of the Scientific EnterpriseMeasurement and DescriptionFirst goal of psychology is to develop measurement techniques that make it possible to describe behaviour clearly and preciselyUnderstanding and PredictionTo evaluate understandings scientists make and test predictions called hypothesesHypothesisa tentative statement about the relationship between two or more variablesVariableany measurable conditions events characteristics or behaviours that are controlled or observed in a studyTo better understand behaviour psychologists construct theoriesoTheorya system of interrelated ideas used to explain a set of observationsIntegrating apparently unrelated facts and principles into a coherent wholeA scientific theory must be testablea good theory generates many testable hypothesesMost theories are too complex to be tested all at onceThus researchers test one or two specific hypotheses derived from the theoryIf the their findings support the hypotheses confidence in the theory growsIf the findings do not support the hypotheses the theories may be revised or discardedoTheory construction is a gradual processApplication and ControlThe information gathered should be of some practical value in helping to solve everyday problemsPsychologists attempt to apply their research findings to practical problems in schools businesses hospitals etcSteps in a Scientific InvestigationStep 1 Formulate a Testable HypothesisFirst translate a theory or an intuitive idea into a testable hypothesisoTo be testable scientific hypotheses must be formulated precisely and the variables under study must be clearly definedResearchers achieve this by providingOperational definitiondescribes the actionsoperations that will be used to measure or control a variableStep 2 Select the Research Method and Design of the StudyHow to put the hypothesis to an empirical testThere are various research methods each with their own pros and cons experiments case studies surveys naturalistic observation etcParticipantssubjectsthe persons or animals whose behaviour is systematically observed in a studyStep 3 Collect the DataResearchers use a variety of data collection techniques procedures for making empirical observations and measurementsoDirect observationoQuestionnaireoInterviewoPsychological testoPhysiological recordingoExamination of archival records institutional records census economic medical legal recordsStep 4 Analyze the Data and Draw ConclusionsObservations are usually converted into numbersResearchers use statistics to analyze their data and to decide whether their hypotheses have been supportedStep 5 Report the FindingsTo write up a concise summary of the study and its findingsoUsually submitted to a journal a periodical that publishes technical and scholarly material usuallyin a narrowly defined area of inquiryThis allows other experts to evaluate and critique new research findingsAdvantages of the Scientific ApproachOffers 2 main advantagesoClarity and precisionRequires that people specify exactly what they are talking about when they formulate hypotheses
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