PSYCH 3GG3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 5: Internal Validity, Psychopathology, Dependent And Independent Variables

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Published on 19 Apr 2013
School
McMaster University
Department
Psychology
Course
PSYCH 3GG3
Professor
ABNORMAL PSYCHOLOGY
Chapter 5 Research Methods in the Study
of Abnormal Behaviour
Science & the Scientific Method
It is important scientific methods be reliable (replicable) and testable (open to systemic probe)
Theory: A set of prepositions meant to explain a class of phenomena
Hypothesis: Expectations of what should occur if the theory is true
Scientists must often use theoretical concepts (unobservable states or processes that are inferred by
observable data) to come up with a theory
In abnormal psychology, theoretical concepts are used to fill in information that are unaccounted for
based on a theory (i.e. if a person goes though a traumatic event, and their attitude suddenly changes
we can use the theoretical concept of applied fear to fill the gap)
Operationism, an earlier school of thought, suggested that each theoretical concept take as tis meaning,
only observable and measurable operation (i.e. the concept of anxiety could be thought as schoring over
50 on an anxiety test)
The problem with that was each concept was too specific, and it lost its generality. A concept did not
include events, only one specific one
Research Methods of Abnormal Psychology
The Case Study
The most familiar and time-honoured method; Therapists gather historical and biographical information
on a single individual (i.e. background, family/medical history, educational background, jobs held,
marital history, life course etc.)
However, how the therapist gathers information and what they focus more attention on is determined
by what paradigm they chose to adopt
Case studies are beneficial because...
They provide detailed descriptions of rare/unusual phenomenon and of important methods of
interviewing, diagnosing and treatment
Disconfirm allegedly universal aspects of a particular theoretical proposition
General testable, controlled hypotheses
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They can also be effective by combining a series of cases of unusual phenomenon using a method called
constant comparative method, which consists of the identification of relevant information (unitization),
placing the units in categories that immerge from the data (categorization), and providing organizational
themes for the information (identifying themes)
Case studies are especially effective (as evidence) if they disprove an assumed universal
relationship/law. However, case studies are not useful in ruling out the possibility of alternate
hypotheses
i.e. if a clinician diagnoses a person with depression and comes up with a treatment method which
significantly reduces the depression in 10 weeks, it is not enough to conclude that the treatment
worked, it is possible other factors could have contributed to the loss of depression (a stressful situation
could have solved itself, the depression could have been naturally time limited etc.) the case study does
not rule out these possibilities
Therefore case studies are great for studying in great detail the phenomena of one individual as well as
forming hypotheses but it is not useful in general studies where universal laws are used
Epidemiological Research
Epidemiology: The study of the frequency and distribution of a disorder in a population
Data is gathered about the rates of a disorder and its possible correlates in a large sample or population
Epidemiological research tries to determine:
1. The proportion of a population that has the disorder at a given point (prevalence)
2. The number of new cases of the disorder that occurs in some period of time, usually a year
(incidence)
3. Conditions or variables that, if present, increase the likelihood of developing the disorder
The Correlation Method
This method establishes whether or not there is a relationship between 2 or more variables
This method differs from experimental methods because the variables are observed in their natural
states; they are not manipulated/controlled. So there would be no need to recreate stress in a lab
Correlation is measured by comparing the variable being studied for each of the participants in a group,
then the relationship between the 2 sets of observation are calculated to find out the correlation
coefficient, r.
In finding the relationship, it is to find out whether variable X & variable Y are associated in some way so
they vary together (changing one changes the other)
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Document Summary

Chapter 5 research methods in the study of abnormal behaviour. Expectations of what should occur if the theory is true. A set of prepositions meant to explain a class of phenomena. It is important scientific methods be reliable (replicable) and testable (open to systemic probe) Scientists must often use theoretical concepts (unobservable states or processes that are inferred by observable data) to come up with a theory. Operationism, an earlier school of thought, suggested that each theoretical concept take as tis meaning, only observable and measurable operation (i. e. the concept of anxiety could be thought as schoring over. The problem with that was each concept was too specific, and it lost its generality. A concept did not include events, only one specific one. The most familiar and time-honoured method; therapists gather historical and biographical information on a single individual (i. e. background, family/medical history, educational background, jobs held, marital history, life course etc. )

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