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Chapter 2

PSYC 1000 Chapter 2: 2.1, 2.2

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University of Guelph
PSYC 1000
Dan Meegan

2.1,2.1 Sept 15, 2016 Principles of Scientific Research  Objectivity – assumes that certain facts about the world can be observed and tested independently from the individual who describes them (eg. The scientist) o Everyone should be able to agree on these facts given the same tools, methods, and context o As people observe an event, interpretation becomes subjective  Subjective – knowledge of the event is shaped by prior beliefs, expectations, experiences, etc 5 characteristics of quality scientific research 1. It is based on measurements that are objective, valid, and reliable 2. It can be generalized 3. It uses techniques that reduce bias 4. It is made public 5. It can be replicated Scientific measurement: objective, valid, and reliable  Foundation of scientific methodology is objective measurements – the way a quality or behaviour is measured must be the same regardless of who is doing the measuring and the exact tools they are using o Ex. Kilograms are same from place to place but scale can be off (margin of error)  Variable – object, concept, or event being measured  Operational definitions – statements that describe the procedures (or operations) and specific measures that are used to record observations  Validity – the degree to which an instrument or procedure actually measures what it claims to measure  Reliability – consistent and stable answers across multiple observations and points in time Generalizability of Results  Generalizability – degree to which one set of results can be applied to other situations, individuals, or events o Ex. Happens to more than one person  Sample- select group of population members o Once sample is made, then the results may be generalized to the population as a whole  Researchers try to use random sample – technique in which every individual of a population has an equal chance of being included  To generalize humanity, researchers must do convenience sample o This is samples of individuals who are the most readily available  Ecological validity – results of a laboratory study can be applied to or repeated in the natural environment Sources of bias in psychological research  Generalizability is only important if the experiment itself were conducted without bias o Researcher bias (treating experiment different), participant bias, subject bias  Hawthorne effect – behaviour changes because they know they are being observed Techniques to reduce bias: - Anonymity – each individual’s responses are recorded without any name or other personal info that could link person to specific result - Confidentiality – results will be seen only by researcher - Single-blind study – participants do not know the true purpose of the study or else do not know which type of treatment they are receiving (ex. Placebo) - Double blind study – participant and experimenter know the exact treatment for any individual Sharing the results: - Peer review: process in which papers submitted for publication in scholarly journals are read and critiqued by experts in the study - Replication – process of repeating a study and finding a similar outcome each time 5 characteristics of poor research  For hypothesis to be testable, it must be falsified o Hypothesis is precise enough that it could be proven false  Use of anecdotal evidence – individuals story or testimony about an observation or event that is used to make a claim as evidence 2  Appeal to authority – the belief that an experts claim even when no supporting data or scientific evidence is present  Appeal to c
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