Chapter 2: doing social psychology research
Why should you learn about research method?
• Training in research methods in psychology can improve your reasoning about
• 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
Operational definition: the specific procedures for manipulating or measuring a
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
Interrater reliability: the degree to which different observers agree on their observations.
• 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