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Chapter 2

Chapter 2- Methodology.docx

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC 241
Professor
Tara Mac Donald
Semester
Fall

Description
CH 2: METHODOLOGY Sept/20/11 – Pg 29-53 Social Psychology: An - When we study human behaviour, the results may appear to have been predictable – in Empirical Science retrospect. Hindsight bias - Hindsight bias: a human tendency whereby people exaggerate how much they could have predicted an outcome after knowing that it occurred. o Ex. After we know the winner of a political election, we look at the reasons why that candidate won and the outcome becomes inevitable and easily predictable. Formulating Hypotheses and Theories Inspiration from Earlier - Many studies stem from a researcher’s dissatisfaction with existing theories and explanations. Theories and Research o Ex. Leon Festinger was dissatisfied with the ability of a major theory, behaviourism to explain why people change their attitudes. o Formulated a new approach – dissonance theory that made specific predictions about when and how people would change their attitudes. Hypotheses Based on Personal Observations - Researchers often observe something in their lives or others’ lives that they find curious and interesting, stimulating them to construct a theory about why this phenomenon occurred – and to design a study to see if they are right. o Ex. Latane and Darley examined the social situation of the Genovese case and thought that the more people who witness an emergency, the less likely that any given individual will intervene. o Diffusion of responsibility – ‘someone else probably called the police’ Observational Method: Describing Social Behavior - If the goal is to describe what a particular group of people or type of behaviour is like, the Observational method observational method is very helpful. - This technique requires a researcher to observe people and records measurements or impressions of their behaviour. Ethnography o Ex. Ethnography: the method by which researchers attempt to understand a group or culture by observing it from the inside, without imposing any preconceived notions they might have. o Ex. Festinger joined a cult that thought the world would end. Interjudge reliability - It is important to establish interjudge reliability which is the level of agreement between two or more people who independently observe and code a set of data. Archival Analysis - Archival analysis is when the researcher can examine the accumulated documents of a culture o Ex. Diaries, novels, suicide notes, popular music lyrics… - Archival analysis is a good tool for answering the question ‘what is defined as pornography?’ because it enables researchers to describe the content of documents present in the culture. - Observational research can tell us a lot about a society’s values and beliefs, the fact that sexual violence against women is common in pornography suggests that these images appeal to many Limits of the Observational readers. method - Certain kinds of behaviour are difficult to observe because they occur only rarely or only in private. - Social psychologists want to do more than just describe behaviour, they want to predict and explain it. The Correlational Method: Predicting Social Behavior - With correlational method two variables are systematically measured, and the relationship between them – how much you predict one from the other – is assessed. Correlation coefficient - Researchers look at relationships by calculating the correlation coefficient a statistic that assesses how well you can predict one variable from another. - Positive correlation means that increases in the value of one variable are associated with increases in the value of the other variable. o Ex. Height and weight - Negative correlation means that increases in the value of one variable are associated with decreases in the value of the other. - Correlation coefficients are expressed as numbers that can range from -1.00 to +1.00. - A correlation of 1.00 means that two variables are perfectly correlated in a positive direction. Surveys - A representative sample of people are asked questions about their attitudes or behaviour. - Convenient way to measure people’s attitudes - Allows researchers to judge the relationship between variables that are difficult to observe, such as how often people engage in safer sex. - Answers to a survey are useful only if they reflect the responses of people in general – not just the people actually tested - Using a random selection of people from the population at large is a way of ensuring that a sample of people is representative of a population. Limits of the Correlational Method: Correlation does not equal causation - Correlational method only tells us that two variables are related, not the causes. o Ex. Correlation between the amount of violent television children watch and how aggressive they are o TV violence causes kids to become more violent themselves o Kids who are violent to begin with are more likely to watch violent TV o Or there might be no causal relationship between the two: both TV watching and rd
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