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Chapter 2

Chapter 2 Methodology

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PSYC 260
Janelle Jones

PSYC 260 – Fall 2012 Book Notes: Chapter 2 – Methodology Hindsight Bias – the tendency for people to exaggerate how much they could have predicted the outcome after knowing it occurred - Results may appear to have been predictable in retrospect - “I knew it all along” Three Methods used in Social Psychology 1. Observational Method 2. Correlational Method 3. Experimental Method Method Focus Question Answered Observational Description What is the nature of the phenomenon? Correlational Description What is the relation between variable X and variable Y? Experimental Causality Is variable X a cause of variable Y? Theory – an organized set of principles that can be used to explain observed phenomena Hypothesis – a testable statement or idea about the relationship between two or more variables Diffusion of Responsibility – people are more likely to help when each person thinks he or she is alone in witnessing the act Operational Definition – the precise specification of how variables are measured or manipulated THE OBSERVATIONAL METHOD – technique whereby a researcher observes people and systematically records measurements of their behavior - Varies according to the degree to which the observer actively participates in the scene o Observer neither participates nor intervenes in any way; is unobtrusive and tries to blend in with the scenery as much as possible - 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 A chief method of anthropology Interjudge Reliability – the level of agreement between two or more people who independently observe and code a set of data; by showing that two or more judges independently come up with the same observations, researchers can ensure that the observations are not the subjective impressions of one individual Archival Analysis – a form of observational method whereby the researcher examines the accumulated documents, or archives, of a culture (e.g. diaries, novels, magazines, and newspapers) - Playboy and Playgirl magazine were used to examine the relation between body ideals and the body sizes of average men and women; findings revealed that the average women’s body is further from the cultural ideal than it was 40 years ago, and though centerfold men have increased dramatically in muscle not fat, whereas for average men, the increases have tended to occur in the opposite direction THE CORRELATIONAL METHOD – the technique whereby researchers systematically measure two or more variables and assess the relation between them - Correlation coefficient – a statistic that assesses how well you can predict one variable based on another; e.g. how well you can predict people’s weight from their height - Positive correlation – an increase in factor X are associated with increases in factor Y - Negative correlation – an increase in factor X is associated with decreases in factor Y - Surveys – research in which a representative sample of people are asked questions about their attitudes or behavior - Random Selection – a way of ensuring that a sample of people is representative of a population, by giving everyone in the population an equal chance of being selected for the sample - Limits – correlation does not equal causation THE EXPERIMENTAL METHOD – the method in which the researcher randomly assigns participants to different conditions and ensures that these conditions are identical except for the independent variable - Only way to determine causal relations - Independent Variable – the variable a researcher changes or varies to see if it has any effect on some other variable - Dependent Variable – the variable a researcher measures to see if it is influenced by the independent variable - Internal Validity – ensuring that nothing other than the independent variable can affect the dependent variable; this is accomplished by controlling all extraneous variables and by randomly assigning people to different experimental conditions o keeping everything the same except for the independent variable o the study may seem some
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