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Chapter 1

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC 2360
Professor
Harjinder Gill
Semester
Fall

Description
PSYC 2360: Chapter 1 Introduction to Research 9/26/2013 7:44:00 AM Behavioral Research  Goal is to discover, among other things, how people perceive their world, how they think and feel, how they change over time, learn and make decisions, and interact with others  What sets them apart from other researchers is their belief that, just as dramatic technological advances have occurred through scientific research, personal and social behaviour can be understood, and potentially improved through scientific research methods  Their statements are empirical (conclusions are drawn based on systematic collection and analysis of data)  Behavioral scientists believe in the value of behavioral research to answer questions about human behaviour Everyday Science Vs. Empirical Research  It has been argued that people are “everyday scientists” who conduct research projects to answer questions about behaviour (when we perform poorly on a test, we question why and try to understand what caused the failure) Relying on Our Intuition  Many people believe that behavioral research is just common sense  We’re often incorrect in our intuition about why others do what they do, and even why we ourselves do what we do  People are not always particularly thorough with their research  People are convinced of the existence of extrasensory perception, or the predictive value of astrology when there’s no evidence  There are a variety of cognitive/motivational biases that make us draw incorrect conclusions Discovering the Limitations of Using Intuition  Intuition may lad us astray; once we learn of an outcome we believe that we would have been able to predict it ahead of time  Hindsight bias is the tendency to think that we could have predicted something that we probably could not have The Scientific Method  The scientific method is the set of assumptions, rules, and procedures that scientists use to conduct research  It demands that the procedures used be objective (or free from personal bias)  Demands that science be based on what has come before it  An accumulation of scientific knowledge, through the reporting of research and the addition to and modifications of these reported findings Values Vs. Facts in Scientific Research  Not all questions can be answered using scientific approaches  Values are personal statements such as “I will go to heaven when I die”  Facts are objective statements determined to be accurate through empirical study such as “there were over 16,000 homicides in the United States in 2002 Facts and Formation of Value  Values cannot be considered to be either true or false, so science cannot prove or disprove them  Behavioral research can provide facts that can help people develop their values  Values also come into play in determining what research is appropriate or important to conduct Distinguishing Between Facts and Values  The distinction between the two ^ is not always clear-cut  There is usually more than one way to interpret data  People have their own hypotheses and beliefs about human behaviour that they can easily make their own interpretations of the results of behavioral research Values and Facts in the Research Report  The goal of science is not to make everything objective, but to make clear which parts of the research process are objective and which are not  The research report is a document that presents scientific findings using a standardized written format  Behavioral science frequently uses APA  One of the most important requirements of the research report is that the appropriate information goes in the appropriate sections  Introduction/Discussion are relatively subjective because they involve questions as what topics are of importance to study and how the data should be interpreted  Results/Discussion are completely objective describing the actual procedures of the experiments and the statistical analyses Basic and Applied Research  Some scientists conduct research primarily for the intellectual satisfaction of knowing something  Others conduct research for the purpose of gaining practical knowledge about a particular social issue/problem  Basic research answers fundamental questions about behaviour  Applied research investigates issues that have implications for everyday life and provide solutions to everyday problems  One type of applied research is called program evaluation research, which is conducted to study the effectiveness of methods designed to make positive social changes  Scientists are frequently influenced by practical issues in determining which topics to study The Importance of Studying Research Methods  Understanding how the research was conducted and what the collected data mean is very important Evaluating Research Reports  Understanding the principles and practices of behavioural research will be useful because it will help determine the quality of the research that you read about  Research can mislead you if it is not valid  An important skill is distinguishing good research from bad research Conducting Research  The ability to design and execute research projects is important Thinking Critically About Research  Progress in the behavioral sciences requires skills in thinking critically about research Research Design
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