Introduction to Research
• behavioral research is used to study important human problems and provide solutions
for them. Because research has such a significant impact on scientific decisions and
public policy, informed citizens, like you, are wise to understand.
• conducted by scientists in fields such as behavioral medicine, communication,
criminology, human development, education, psychology and sociology.
the goal of behavioral research is to discover, among other things, how people
perceive their world, how they think and feel, how they change over time, how they
learn and make decisions and how they interact with others.
• the statements made by behavioral researchers are empirical, which means that they
are based on systematic collection and analysis of data, where data are information
collected through formal observation or measurement.
hindsight bias: The tendency to think that we could have predicted something that we
probably could not have predicted.
• Reading a description of the research finding leads us think of the many cases we
know that support it, and thus, make it seem believable.
• scientists always back up intuitions empirically
The Scientific Method
• scientific method: the set of assumptions, rules and procedures that scientists use to
• the scientific method demands that the procedures used be objective, or free from
the personal bias or emotions of scientists
• It describes how scientists collect and analyze data, how they draw conclusions from
data, and how they share data with others
• these rules increase objectivity
• accumulation of scientific knowledge through the reporting of research and the
addition to and modifications of these reported findings through further research by
Values Versus Facts in Scientific Research
• not all questions can be answered using scientific approaches
• statements that cannot be objectively measured or objectively determined to be true or
false are not within the domain of scientific inquiry.
• Values: are personal statements such
• Facts: objective statements determined to be accurate through empirical research
Facts and the formation of values
• values cannot not be considered true or false
• behavioral research can sometimes provide facts that can help develop their values • values also come into play when determining what research is appropriate or
important to conduct.
Distinguishing between facts and values
• Hard, because there is more than one way to interpret data
Values and facts in research reports
• one of the most important requirements of the research report is that the appropriate
information goes in the appropriate section.
• There are 2 sections: introduction and discussion, they involve such questions as
what topics are of importance to study and how the data should be interpreted
• the other 1 is Results and Discussion, describing the actual procedures of the
experiments and the statistical analysis.
Basic and Applied Research
• Basic: answers fundamental questions about behavior. For instances, cognitive
psychologists study how different types of practices influence memory for pictures
there is no particular reason to study such things expect to acquire a better knowledge
of how these processes occur
• Applied: investigates issues that have implications for everyday life and provide
solutions to everyday problems. An example of this could be what types of
psychotherapies are most effective in reducing depression
• 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, such as training programs, anti prejudice programs.
• scientists who conduct basic research are frequently influenced by practical issues in
determining which topics to study.
• scientists who are interested in solving practical programs are well aware that the
results of basic research can help them do so
• applied and basic research inform each other
• basic research provides underlying principles that can be used to solve specific
problems, and applied research gives ideas for the kinds of topics that basic research
The importance of studying research methods
-evaluating research reports
-thinking critically about research
Research Designs: Three Approaches to Studying behavior
• different goals require different approaches to answering research questions
• research design: Is the specific method a researcher uses to collect, analyze, and
interpret data. • descriptive research designs, correlational research designs, and experimental
Descriptive Research: Assessing the Current State of Affairs
• research designed to answer questions about the current state of affairs is know as
• naturalistic observations