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Psyc100-Ch2 - Scientific Method.docx

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PSYC 100
Jaime Palmer- Hague

Psychology 100 Chapter 2: Studying Behavior Scientifically Psychologists are Scientists 1. They are precise 2. They are skeptical 3. They rely on empirical evidence (conduct study) 4. They are willing to make “risky” predications (uncommon ideas) 5. They are open and transparent Two approaches to Study Psychology (p.31) 1. Hindsight (After-the-Fact Understanding)  Attempting to explain behaviour after it occurs. We can arrive at reasonable after-the-fact explanations for almost any result.  Past events could be explained in too many ways and there is no sure way to know which is correct. 2. Understanding through Prediction, Control, Theory Building  Preferred method. Test their understanding of “what causes what”.  Theory building generate an integrated network of predictions Gathering Evidence: The Scientific Method (p.29) Step 1: Identify a Question. Curiosity. Ask a question of interest. Step 2: Gather Information and Form Hypothesis. Hypothesis: a specific prediction about some phenomenon, usually in an “IF- THEN” statement. Eg If shown different pics, and child communicate the pic, then FC works. Step 3: Test Hypothesis by Conducting Research Step 4: Analyze Data, Draw Tentative Conclusions, and Report Findings Data: information gathered through the research Step 5: Build a Body of Knowledge; Ask further questions, conduct more research, develop and test theories. Theory: a set of formal statements that explains how and why certain events are related to one another Ethnical Principles in Research (p.35) Five Broad Ethnical Principles 1. Beneficence: seeking to benefit other people 2. Responsibility: performing professional duties with utmost care 3. Integrity: being honest and accurate in conducting experiment/recording 4. Justice: enhancing all people’s access to the benefits of psychological knowledge. (Everyone gets a chance to participate, get access to result) 5. Respect: respecting people’s dignity and rights to confidentiality and self-determination Informed Consent Before people agree to participate in research, they should be informed about: 1. The study’s purpose and procedures 2. The study’s potential benefits 3. Potential risks to participants 4. The right to decline participation and withdraw at any time without penalty 5. Whether responses will be confidential and, if not, how privacy will be safeguarded. Deception Is when participants are misled about the nature of a study. 1. Violates the principle of informed consent, but may be the only way to obtain natural responses. 2. Deception is only permitted if there are no other alternation available 3. Study must have scientific, educational, or applied benefits that clearly outweigh the ethical costs of deceiving participants 4. Requires adequate debriefing 5. True purpose of study must be revealed to participants after its over Ethics of Animal Research  7-8% of all psychological research  Animals must be treated humanely  Study goals, procedures and benefits must be clearly explained and defined  Benefits must outweigh costs, only allowed if no other alternative is available (research must be reviewed and approved before conducting)  Debate remains controversial Defining and Measuring VARIABLES (p.33) Variables: any characteristics/factor that varies  Psychologists study variables and the relations among them. Eg eye color, gender, age, income, GPA.  Psychologists usually study abstract concepts that cannot be observed. Eg self-esteem, stress, intelligence Operational Definition: defines a variable in terms of the specific procedures used to produce or measure it  Variable may mean differently to different people, so variables must be define clearly. So scientists define variables operationally.  Operational definitions translate abstract concepts into something observable and measureable. Eg self-esteem test score Measurement Techniques (of variables) (P.33) 1. SELF REPORT AND REPORT BY OTHERS  ask people to report their own knowledge, experience, attitudes, feelings or behavior  can be gathered through interviews or questionnaires. Have problems such as honesty or subjectivity (Eg definition of pain?)  Sensitive topics (sex, drugs) can be distorted by social desirability bias: the tendency to respond in a socially acceptable manner rather than according to how one truly feels or behaves .  Researcher try to minimize bias by establish rapport and ensure confidentiality  Alternative is to get reports from others. Eg parents, spouses, teachers, roommates, job supervisors 2. MEASURES OF OVERT BEHAVIOUR  Record Overt Behaviour: directly observe  They develop Coding Systems to record different categories of behavior. Observers are trained to make sure measurements will be reliable (consistent). Eg: They need to agree what ‘helping’ means.  Unobtrusive measures: record behavior in a way that keeps participants unaware they are being observed.  To avoid people acting differently, researchers camouflage themselves  Archival measures: records/documents that already exist  Example: researchers assessing a program to reduce drunk driving could examine police records before and after program was implemented 3. PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTS  Designed to measure and evaluate participants’ personality, intelligence, emotional states, interests, abilities, values etc.  personality tests, intelligence tests (IQ test), neuropsychological tests (3D test) 4. PSYSIOLOGICAL MEASURES  Used to measure a participant’s physiological response to a situation. Eg heart rate, blood pressure, respiration rate etc.  Problem: can be hard to interpret what the results indicate about a person’s feelings or thoughts Method of Research A. DESCRIPTIVE RESEARCH: Recording Events (p.37)  Descriptive research: Seek to identify how humans and other animals behave, particularly in natural settings (also called non-experimental research)  Non-experimental, non-invasive, NOT manipulated, variables are measured. 1. CASE STUDIES  Definition: an in-depth analysis of an individual, group, or event  Data is collected through observation, interviews, psychological test, task performance Advantages Disadvantages  Allows scientists to study rare circumstances (and  Does not allow cause and effect conclusions. Cannot prove sometimes otherwise unethical) certain factors as fact or coincidence, or pre-existing  Sometimes provides exception to widely held beliefs or condition. theories  Very little generalizability. Can theory hold true for other people or in other situations?  Provides foundation for new, better controlled  Can be a lot of bias in the data collection. Is the result what research the researcher think he will he see? Are there special interactions between the researcher/participant? Often relies on the researcher’s subjective interpretation 2. Naturalistic Observation  Definition: researchers observe behaviour as it occurs in a natural setting, and avoid influencing that behavior  Advantages: can provide detailed information about the nature, frequency and context of naturally occurring behaviours.  Disadvantages: cannot establish cause-effect relations, bias, researcher presence.  Example: school bullying 3. Survey Research  Definition: information about a topic is obtained by administering questionnaires or interviews to a population  Example: census, political polls, Statistics Canada surveys, surveys about attitudes towards sensitive issues  Population: all the individual we are interested in drawing a conclusion about, Eg “American adults”  Sample: a subset of individuals drawn from the larger population  Representative sample: one that reflects the important characteristics of the population  To draw valid conclusions about a po
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