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PY1101 Chapter Notes - Chapter ALL CHAPTERS: Confounding, Demand Characteristics, Statistical Inference

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Scientific Psychological Research generally guided by a theory
Quantitative Research involves using experiments or surveys that provide data that can be
quantified, tabulated, summarised and analysed. (numerical)
Based on large sample sizes that are representative of the population
Deductive and objective
Qualitative Research exploring a research topic through methods such as interviews, observation,
and case studies to gain a richer understanding of the relevant phenomena. (non-numerical)
Few participants to gather data
Inductive and subjective
Theoretical Framework research is grounded firmly in theory
Theory a systemic way of organising and explaining observations
Hypothesis a tentative (not certain) belief about the relationship between two or more
Variable a characteristic that can take on different values
Independent Variable variable the experimenter manipulates and are outside the
partiipats’ otrol
Dependent Variable the response the experimenter measures to see whether the
experimental manipulation had an effect
Continuous Variable a variable that can be placed on a continuum, from none or
little to much
Categorical Variable a variable comprised of groupings, classifications or categories
Control Variable a factor in an experiment which must be held constant
Confounding Variable variables that can produce effects that are confused, or
confounded, with the effects of the independent variable
Standardised procedures expose participants in a study to as similar procedures as possible.
Generalisability the applicability of the findings to the entire population of interest to the
Sampling Bias when the sample is not representative of the population as a whole
Validity in order for a study to be considered valid, it must meet two criteria:
Internal Validity validity of the design itself (i.e., validity internal to the study). It
must employ methods that convincingly test the hypothesis
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External Validity the findings can be generalised to situations outside, or external
to, the laboratory
Objective Measurement the impartial (not influenced be personal feelings or opinions), concrete
way of assessing a variable, a way of bringing an often abstract concept down to earth.
Reliability consistency in measurement
Retest Reliability the tendency of a test to yield relatively similar scores for the
same individual over time
Internal Consistency when several ways of asking the same question yield similar
Interrater Reliability if two different interviewers rate an individual on some
dimension, both should give the person similar scores.
Validity easure’s ailit to assess the ariale it is supposed to assess
Validation demonstrating that a measure consistently relates to some objective
criterion or to other measures that have themselves already demonstrated their
Multiple Measures multiple research methods:
Experimental manipulation of variables to assist
- Demonstrates casual relationships
- Replicability: study can be repeated to see if the same findings emerge
Descriptive in-depth observation of a small number of classes
- Describes psychological processes as they occur in individual cases
- Not easily reproduced experimentally (allows study of complex phenomena)
Naturalistic Observation in-depth observation of a phenomenon as it occurs in
Survey Research asking people questions about their attitudes, behaviour etc.
- Reveals attitudes or self-reported behaviours of a large sample of individuals
- Allows quantification of attitudes or behaviours
Correlational examines the extent to which two or more variables are related and
can be used to predict one another
- Allows quantification of relationships among variables
Experimental Research investigators manipulate some aspect of a situation and examine the impact on the
way participants respond. Experimental research provides the strongest evidence in psychology because
they can establish cause and effect.
Three main goals of the scientific approach to research:
Description being able to summarise the data your research has produced in a way
that makes the events and their relationships easily understandable
Prediction using the outcome of your research to be able to identify what would
happen in the future, given the same circumstances
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Understanding identifying why that would happen the casual factors that led to
the results found in your research
Can establish cause and effect causation directly: by proving that manipulating one
variable leads to predicted changes in another
The Logic Of Experimentation An experimenter manipulates variables (independent variables)
hih are outside the partiipats’ otrol i.e. idepedet of their atios. The aim is to assess
the impact of these manipulations on the way participants subsequently respond. Because
partiipats’ resposes deped o their eposure to the idepedet ariale, these responses are
known as dependent variables.
To assess cause and effect, experimenters present participants with different possible
variations, or conditions, of the variable and study the way participants react.
Steps in Conducting an Experiment conducting an experiment requires systematically going
through a series of steps:
1. Framing a hypothesis predicting the relationships among two or more variables
2. Operationalising variables converting abstract concepts into a testable (concrete) variable,
defined by some set of actions, or operations
3. Developing a standardised procedure setting up experimental and control conditions;
attending to demand characteristics; attending to researcher bias
Control group a neutral condition against which participants in various
experimental conditions can be compared
Demand characteristics the as partiipats’ pereptios of the researher’s
goals influence their responses
To PREVENT demand characteristics from biasing results, psychologists conduct:
Blind study participants (and often the researchers themselves) are kept
unaware of, or blind to, important aspects of the research
Single-blind study participants are kept blind to crucial information, such
as the condition to which they are being exposed.
Placebo an inert, or inactive, substance such as a sugar pill
Placebo effect a phenomenon in which an experimental intervention
produces an effect because participants believe it will produce an effect
4. Selecting and assigning participants randomly assigning participants to different conditions
5. Applying statistical techniques to the data describing the data and determining the
likelihood that differences between the conditions reflect causality or chance
Descriptive statistics describing the findings in a way that summarises their
essential features
Inferential statistics drawing inferences from the sample to the population as a
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