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PSYC 2310 (255)
Chapter 2

PSYC 2310 chapter 2 notes.docx

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University of Guelph
PSYC 2310
Jeffrey Yen

Chapter 2 – Research Methods FORM A QUESTION  Can be based on the observation of a real-world event.  Sometimes questions are designed to test established theories in psych. SEARCH THE LITERATURE  First find out what other people have already discovered about the same or similar ideas.  Literature review – examining previous relevant studies on a given topic and critically appraising them. o The aim is to conduct a review of valid and unbiased studies. o You don’t want to conduct a piece of research that you think is original, only to discover something similar has already been done. FORM A HYPOTHESIS Hypothesis – a testable prediction about the conditions under which an event will occur.  Statement about the cause and effect relationship between two variables.  A quasi-experimental approach samples pre-existing groups and then treats them as if they are different experimental groups. CREATE AN OPERATIONAL DEFINITION Operational definition – a specific procedure or measure that one uses to test a hypothesis.  If you have a good operational definition, your measure if valid – it measures what it is supposed to measure. COLLECT AND ANALYZE DATA  Can be collected by observation, through surveys, from pre-existing documents, or via experiment.  The Facebook study conducted an online survey which was appropriate because more than 90% of students use Facebook – representative of the general student population.  Next step is to analyze the data where researchers get to see if their ideas are supported by data. PROPOSE OR REVISE A THEORY Theory – an organized set of principles that explain observed phenomena.  Theories give potential explanations.  Example: exposure to violence on television leads to aggression through a variety of processes.  Some studies lead to the revision of a theory and others contest altogether.  Theories generate questions for future research. CORRELATIONAL RESEARCH METHODS Correlational research – a research technique that examines the extent to which two or more variables are associated with one another. Observational/Naturalistic Methods Definition – a research approach that involves the observation and systematic recording of a particular behaviour.  Data can be collected by observing social interactions and then rating them – watching children on a playground to determine if girls or boys are more aggressive.  Naturalistic data can be obtained without observing people’s behaviour – relation between being in a fraternity and amount of pizza consumption. You can look outside in the garbage can each week to see how many pizza boxes were thrown away.  Archival research – a research approach that uses already recorded behaviour. o Hot weather and the increase in violence and crime.  Meta analysis – a literature review that analyzes data from several studies that examine related hypothesis. Advantages  Help researchers develop hypotheses and theories.  Internal validity and less vulnerable to criticisms.  Relatively easy to conduct.  Naturalistic methods provide data about events that researchers would be unable to examine in other settings.  Naturalistic methods can provide large amounts of data that researchers would never be able to gather on their own. Limitations  Presence of the observer is likely to influence behaviour – behave differently when watched.  Observer’s own biases – one might thinking pushing on a playground is normal.  Inter-rater reliability – the extent to which two or more coders agree on ratings of a particular measure.  Observational – cannot tell us which variable causes the other. SELF-REPORT OR SURVEY METHODS  Rely on asking people questions about their thoughts, feelings, and behaviour. Event recording or experience sampling measures – a particular type of self-report or survey data where participants report various experiences they have at regular time intervals. Advantages  Enable researchers to collect data from many participants at the same time; inexpensive.  Faster when collected as a group.  Let researchers ask questions about a range of topics. Limitations Questions Wording  Can lead to biased findings if they use leading questions.  The order in which questions are asked can influence responses.  Providing information about who is conducting the research influences responses. Response Options  Responses provided give people an idea of what the normal or typical behaviour is and people don’t want to appear different from others.  Options can have an even stronger impact on answers when participants must choose between a set of very limited response options. Inaccuracy of Responses  People might think they are telling the truth, but they simply may not be able to accurately recall the necessary information. o People may forget how much money they donated to charity last year.  People are concerned with the social desirability of their responses.  Covert measures – measures used by researchers that rely on participants’ behaviour or reaction not directly under participants’ control. o Used when participants might not want to be honest in their responses. o Penile cuffs when watching erotic videos. EXPERIMENTAL METHODS Experimental methods – a research approach that involves the manipulation of one or more independent variables and the measurement of one or more dependent variables. Independent variable – the variable that is manipulated in experimental research. Dependent variable – the factor that is measured to see if it affected
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