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PSYC 2360 (100)
Chapter 9

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PSYC 2360
Carol Anne Hendry

Chapter Nine: Conducting Experiments Selecting Research Participants  The method used to select participants has implications for generalizing the research results.  Probability testing is crucial for scientific polls because it can accurately describe the population whereas convenience sampling affects one’s ability to generalize the results to a larger population from the samples.  You need to determine a sample size. Increasing the sample size increases the statistical significance because larger samples give more accurate estimates of the population. Manipulating the Independent Variable  To manipulate an independent variable one must construct an operational definition of the variable (turn a conceptual variable into a set of operations).  The independent and dependent variables must be introduced within the context of the total experimental setting which is called setting the stage.  In setting the stage you have to (1) provide participants with the informed consent information needed for your study and (2) explain why the experiment is being conducted.  No clear cut rules for setting the stage or translating conceptual variables into specific operations. Types of Manipulations  Straightforward Manipulations and Staged Manipulations Straightforward Manipulations  Manipulations in which the variable in simply manipulated by presenting written, verbal or visual material to participants.  Most memory research relies on straightforward manipulations.  Most manipulations of independent variables in all areas of research are straightforward. Staged Manipulations  Not as straightforward. Stage events that occur during the experiment in order to manipulate the independent variable successfully.  Used because (1) the researcher may be trying to create some psychological state in the participants or (2) it may be necessary to stimulate some situation that occurs in the real world.  Staged manipulations frequently employ a confederate (accomplice).  Easier to interpret results when the manipulation is straightforward. Strength of the Manipulation  A strong manipulation maximizes the differences between the two groups and increases the chances that the independent variable will have a statistically significant effect on the dependent variable.  Strong manipulation is important in early stages of research.  Two considerations when using the strongest manipulation: (1) may involve a situation that rarely occurs in the real world and (2) ethics. Cost of the Manipulation  Straightforward manipulations are less costly than complex staged ones. Measuring the Dependent Variable  Self report, behavioural, and physiological. Self Report Measures  Can be used to measure attitudes, personality, confidence etc.  Ratings with descriptive anchors are most commonly used. Behavioural Measures  Direct observations of behaviours. Physiological Measures  Recordings of responses of the body.  Galvanic skin response (GSR)- a general measure of emotional arousal and anxiety that measures the electrical conductance of the skin.  Electromyogram (EMG)- measures
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