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Chapter 2

PSY 105 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Karl Popper, Francis Bacon, Scientific Method

Course Code
PSY 105
Kristin Vickers

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Chapter 2: Psychology as a science
Chapter outline:
1. What is a science?
2. How do psychologists conduct research?
3. How do psychologists make sense of research results?
4. What ethical research guidelines do psychologists follow?
5. A few special issues in research design
What is a science?
Two core beliefs of science:
1. The universe operates according to natural laws
2. Such laws are discoverable and testable
3. The scientific method uses logical reasoning derived from philosophy:
Sir Francis Bacon emphasized avoiding biases
Karl Popper stressed that a good theory must be able to be proven false:
It must be falsifiable
How do psychologists do research?
A series of steps (figure 2-1 in text)
Get ethics approval (this is the “missing” box of the diagram between step 2 and 3)
Operational definitions in the hypothesis

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An operational definition is how we (the researcher) decide to measure our variables
There are usually many ways to measure a variable (e.g., sense of humor)
When you do research, you have to decide how you are going to measure the
Choose participants:
Population—The entire group of interest to researchers
Sample—A portion of any population that is selected for the study
Random selection—Randomly choosing a sample from a population
Sampling bias—Choosing a sample that does not represent your population
(We post advertisements to promote for various research)
Two basic types of research:
Research method used to observe and describe behaviour.
Used to determine the existence of a relationship between the variables.
To demonstrate a cause and effect relationship between the variables.
Descriptive research: case study method:
An intensive study of 1 or 2 people
Only method you can use if the type of behaviour you are looking at is rare
Cannot generalize results to all people
Descriptive research: naturalistic observation:
Systematic people watching
Can study things that are too unethical for an experiment or that people might lie
Hawthorne effect
Descriptive research: Surveys
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