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Chapter 2

Chapter 2 Textbook Notes

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PSYC 1001
Elaine Waddington Lamont

Chapter 2 Textbook Notes ● Qualitative Researchers - Instead of working with variables they define in advance, they let the meaning emerge from the data collected. Data often words of experiences ○ make empirical observations of the work and report these observations as narratives ● Quantitative Researchers - Study cause-effect relationships with pre-defined variables and the data is numerical ○ Involves empirical observations of the world reported in numeric quantities ● Goals of Psychology ○ 1.) measurement and description of behavior, ○ 2.) the understanding and prediction of behavior, ○ 3.) application of this knowledge to the task of controlling behavior ● A theory is a system of interrelated ideas used to explain a set of observations ○ Apparently unrelated facts into a coherent whole ○ Go from description of behavior to understanding of behavior (different) ○ Generates new predictions for future research ○ If hypothesis derived from a theory is supported by observations, confidence in theory grows. If findings don’t support theory, theory may be revised or discarded. ○ Theory construction is gradual and always subject to revision ● Steps in Scientific Investigation (Systematic) ○ 1.) Formulate a Testable Hypothesis ■ Normally expressed as predictions ■ Must be formulated precisely and variables under study clearly defined ■ Operational Definition - Describes the actions or operations that will be used to measure or control a variable. Establish precisely what is meant by each variable ○ 2.) Select the Research method and Design the Study ■ Decide how to put hypothesis to an empirical test ■ Method depends on nature of question - case study, survey, etc ■ Once pros and cons weighed and method chosen, make detailed plans ■ Decide where to get participants/subjects - person or animal whose behavior is systematically observed in a study ○ 3.) Collect Data ■ Data Collecting Techniques - procedures for making empirical observations and measurements ○ 4.) Analyze Data and Draw Conclusions ■ Observations converted into numbers ■ Use statistics to analyze data and decide if hypothesis was supported ○ 5.) Report Findings ■ Publication of research results. Progress achieved only if researchers share findings ■ Write concise (a lot of information clearly) report on study and findings, usually delivered at a meeting or submitted to a scientific journal ■ Journal - periodical (published regular intervals) that publishes technical and scholarly material, usually in a narrowly defined area of inquiry ■ Allowing other experts to evaluate work can point out flaws in a study ● Advantages of Scientific Method ○ 1.) Its clarity and precision ○ 2.) Its relative intolerance to error ● Research Methods - consist of various approaches to the observation, measurement, and control of variables in empirical studies ○ No single method ideal for all purposes ● Experimental Research ○ Experiment - Research method in which the investigator manipulates a variable under carefully controlled conditions and observes whether any changes occur in a second variable as a result ■ Must take into account a number of factors that could affect the clarity of the result ■ Purpose - find out if changes in one variable cause changes in another variable. * How X affects Y; X the independent variable and Y dependent ■ Independent Variable - Condition or event that an experimenter varies in order to see its impact on another variable (free to be varied) ■ Dependent Variable - the variable thought to be affected by the independent variable (Usually subjects behavior) ○ Experimental Group - consists of the subjects who receive some special treatment in regard to the independent variable. ○ Control Group - Consist of similar subjects who do not receive the special treatment given to the experimental group ■ Any differences between the experimental and control groups must be due to the manipulation of the independent variable ● Variations in Designing Experiments ○ Sometimes advantage to use only one group of subjects who serve as their own control group ■ Typing speed of person while listening to music and without (same group of people) ■ Require fewer participants and control group is 100% equivalent ○ It is possible to manipulate more than 1 independent variable in 1 ■ Researchers often manipulate more than 1 independent variable to see their joint effect on the dependent variable ○ Interaction - The effects of one variable depends on the effect of another ○ It is possible to have more than one dependent variable in a single study ● Advantages and Disadvantages of Experimental Research ○ Strengths: ■ Permits conclusions about cause-effect relationships between variables ■ Precise control available in an experiment allows researcher to isolate the relationship between independent and dependent variables while isolating extraneous (unrelated) variables ○ Limitations: ■ Often artificial, researcher often construct simple, contrived (deliberately created) situations to test hypothesis ● Leads to doubts of applicability to everyday behavior ■ ○ Field Experiments - use settings very much like real life ■ Sacrifice control of extraneous variables for greater generalizability ■ More applicable to everyday life ● Descriptive/Correlational Research ○ Methods such as naturalistic research, case studies, and surveys. Means researchers can’t manipulate variables under study ○ Descriptive/Correlational methods permit investigators to only describe patterns of behavior and discover links or associations between variables ○ Naturalistic Observation - A researcher engages in careful observation of behavior without intervening directly with the research subjects or participants ■ Behavior is allowed to unfold naturally, in its natural environment ■ Could involve subject wearing a recording device to record interactions ■ Reactivity occurs when the subjects behavior is altered by the presence of an observer ○ Case Studies - In depth investigation of an individual subject ■ Not conducting empirical research, generally ■ Analyze many case studies, looking for patterns so a conclusion can be drawn ■ Can provide compelling real life illustrations that can bolster a hypothesis ■ Con: Can be highly subjective (influenced by personal feelings/opinions) ○ Surveys - Questionnaires or interviews about certain aspects of a participant's behavior ■ Most common research tool in social sciences ■ Problem with surveys is, Sampling Bias - The sample that it is based does not represent the population it is intended to describe ○ Descriptive/correlational research give researchers the ability to explore questions that could not be examined with experimental procedures ■ Descriptive/correlational research broadens the scope of phenomena that psychologists are able to study ○ Consequently correlational research cannot demonstrate conclusively that 2 variables are causally related Advantages Disadvantages Experiment - Precise Control over - Contrived situations often variables artificial - ability to draw conclusions - ethical concerns and about cause-effect practical realities relationships Naturalistic Observation - Minimize artificiality - Difficult to remain - Good start place if little unnoticeable known about phenomena - Can’t explain why certain behavior patterns were observed Case Studies - Well suited for studying - Easy to see what they want certain phenomena to see - Provide compelling - Clinical samples illustrations to support a theorunrepresentative Surveys - Gather data on difficult to - Self report data often observe aspects of behavior unreliable (intentional - Relatively easy to collect deception) data from large samples - Social desirability bias - memory lapses and wishful thinking ● Statistics and Research ○ Both experimental and correlational research methods need some way to make sense of their data. Statistical analysis analyses permit researchers to draw conclusions based on their observations ○ Statistics - The use of mathematics to organize, summarize, and interpret numerical data ○ Descriptive Statistics - Used to organize and summarize data ■ Central Tendency - Measured with median, mean and mode ● Median - the score that falls exactly in the center of a distribution of scores ● Mean - Arithmetic average of the scores in a distribution ○ Sensitive to extreme scores in a distribution that can be misleading ● Mode - Most frequent score in a distribution ● Generally, mean is the most useful because additional statistical
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