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Chapter 2

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PSYC 215
Christa Scholtz

Chapter 2: doing social psychology research Why should you learn about research method? • Training in research methods in psychology can improve your reasoning about real-life events. • It can make you a better, more sophisticated consumer of information in general. Research process: coming up with ideas, refining them, testing them and interpreting the meaning of the results obtained. Hypothesis: a testable prediction about the conditions under which an event will occur. Theory: an organized set of principles used to explain observed phenomena. Basic research: to increase our understanding of human behavior and is often designed to test a specific hypothesis from a specific theory. Applied research: to make use of social psychology’s theories or methods to enlarge our understanding of naturally occurring events and to contribute to the solution of social problems. Operational definition: the specific procedures for manipulating or measuring a conceptual variable. Construct validity: the extent to which the measures used in a study measure the variables they were designed to measure and the manipulations in an experiment manipulate the variables they were designed to manipulate. Self-reports: participants disclose their thoughts, feelings, desires, and actions. It can consist of individual questions or sets of questions that together measure a single conceptual variable. The self-report give the researcher access to an individual’s beliefs and perceptions. Interrater reliability: the degree to which different observers agree on their observations. Research designs: • Qualitative research: the collection of data through open-ended responses, observation, and interviews. • Quantitative research: the collection of numerical data through objective testing and statistical analysis. • Random sampling: a method of selecting participants for a study so that everyone in a population has an equal chance of being in the study. • Correlational research: to measure the association between variables that are not manipulated by the researcher. • Correlational coefficient: a statistical measure of the strength and direction of the association between two variables. Correlations vs. experiments Correlational research – measuring variables and the degree of association between them, this enables the researchers to study naturally occurring variables, including variables that would be too difficult or unethical to manipulate. Experimental research – random assignment to conditions and control over the events that occur; determining the effects of manipulation of the independent variable on changes in the dependent variables Random sampling vs random ass
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