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midterm #1 Research Methods in Psychology.docx

11 Pages

Course Code
Psychology 2220A/B
Anthony Skelton

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Research Methods in Psychology – Lecture 1 There are two roles that can come out of research methods, research producer (actually producing research) or research consumer (individuals that read research). Sources of belief and where do they come from? - Experience and anecdotal evidence o Cannot pull to similar attributes apart when using personal experience, that is why science is more influential - Intuition o Working through it, and processing it in your mind - Authority o Learning from significant figures such as your professor - Science – should be the right way to learn, and come up with these answers Science defining features - Use of systematic empiricism o Collecting data and using verifiable evidence for a basis for your conclusion o Results reveal something about its underlying feature - Production of publicly verifiable knowledge o Data or results that are presented to the scientific community for scrutiny o Making mistakes in public o Other scientists read the articles and make sure the conclusion arises from the data - Examination of empirically solvable problems o Can be answered with data o Can be tested, using currently available evidence and methods; this can also be falsifiable - Science rejects “truthiness” which is the belief something is true, without facts or evidence supporting it Why science rocks? - Provides a comparison group o 76 percent of people who volunteer feel younger than their age o Maybe 76 percent of people who don’t volunteer feel younger than their age , it all depends on the data founded in both instances o Placebo effect  Testimonials are worthless, do not take in effect of any other therapy that will work o Hawthorne effect  People perform or do better because they feel that they were treated specially - Controlled variables take into consideration of things that we cannot separate - Eliminates (or reduces) confounds o Takes away the “it depends” - Reduces cognitive bias Cognitive biases - Present/present bias o Focus on positive instances more than negative ones o For example we focus more on people that got better when sick, and don’t focus more on the people that did not get better o We look at the most positive situations, and leave out the mediocre and negative situations - Pop-up principle (aka availability heuristic) o Things that come easily to mind guide our thinking - Confirmation bias o See out confirming evidence and rely on that evidence in drawing conclusions o More likely to seek evidence that confirms ones beliefs o Take confirming evidence at face value (belief bias); reinterpret disconfirming evidence to diminish its impact (motivated reasoning ) o Fail to use disconfirming evidence to adjust ones beliefs (aka belief perseverance) o Belief perseverance – an example is when looking at suicide notes, half of the people were told to say that they were real, and the other half were told to say they were fake. In result, people that were told that they were good ended up believing that they were able to find out what notes are actually real life. o Fail to consider rival hypotheses Science is better than intuition because we as humans are not very good at reasoning. Memories are created when we are able to find two comparable things that match. Theories lead researchers to pose particular research questions, which lead to an appropriate research design. In the context of the design, researchers formulate hypothesis. Researchers then collect and analyze data, which feed back into the cycle to support your theory. Theory - Statement that describes general principles about how variables relate to one another - Can lead to questions or a specific hypotheses or predictions - Most reliable, rigorous evidence of science - Characteristics of a good theory o Accounts for the data o Falsifiable  Can be disproven when set up in the right way  Needs to lead to predictions that, when tested cold prove to be wrong and thus challenge the theory itself o Productive  Opens new research methods and hypothesis  Can be used to predict outcomes o Parsimonious  Theory isn’t more complicated than it needs to be  All other things being equal , the simplest solution is the best In research methods, you should never use the word prove. You should say that some data supports, or is consistent with a theory, or they might say that some data are inconsistent with or complicate a theory. You should evaluate your theories based on the weight of evidence, for and against. Research questions - Kinds of questions o Frequency o Association o Casual - Guide research design o Observational study , correlational study, experiment o Variables o Sample Hypothesis - A way of stating the specific outcome that the researcher expects to observe if the theory is accurate - Specific prediction based on theory - Testable statement about a presumed relation between two or more variables - Testable – specifies how the variables will be measured )operational definition) and how the variables will be related Bring in recent example of a psychology study in the media *can be from a newspaper, blog or magazine. Empiricism is the approach of collecting data and using it to develop, support, or challenge a theory. Uses evidence from our senses as the basis for our conclusions. Applied research is done with a practical problem in mind, the researchers hope their findings will be directly applied to the solution of that problem. Basic research is not intended to address a specific, practical problem. The goal is to enhance the general body of knowledge. Translational research can be used to create a bridge from basic to applied research. Journal to journalism cycle, writers for a popular media try to translate scientific studies into everyday language. Research vs your experience – when we use our own experience for research, we do not take a comparison group into account. This group allows you to see what will happen with and without the thing you are interested in. our experience is confounded, which is known as the alternative explanations to why certain outcomes occur. Research Methods – Lecture 2 Reasoning about science - Research conclusions are probalistic o Generalizations that hold more often than not o Do not hold in every case - Person who statistics o But I know a person who o A single case or a small amount of cases does not invalidate a probabilistic trend - Failure to use sample size info o A larger sample size leads to more accurate estimates We should not be persuaded by personal arguments when talking dealing with sciences. Measured vs manipulated variables - Variable o Characteristic of interest that varies in the study ( has two levels / values ; at least) o Independent variable (IV)  The variables that are manipulated  The potential causes Assigning subjects to levels of an IV – between subjects; separate groups of subjects are assigned to each level of the independent variable. Within subjects; all subjects are assigned to all levels of the independent variables. Two levels are the same as two different groups or conditions, such as caffeine – no caffeine or caffeine; these would be two levels of the IV. In a within subject, you would be in both caffeine and no caffeine, you would be tested in both conditions on different days. 2/number of levels (caffeine intake/IV: no caffeine/level 1, caffeine/ level 2) – this is the design of your study. Write between subjects (or within subjects) design. With _DV_ (reaction time) as the DV. o Dependent variable (DV)  The variable that is observed  The outcomes o Control variables
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