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Chapter 5

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PSYC 3110
Kieran O' Doherty

Chapter 5 Intro: - Many of psych’s traditional methods and research designs are quantitative in nature - This places emphasis on reliable and valid measurement in controlled investigations with experiments, trials and surveys - Multiple sources are combined in meta-analysis - Qualitative methods use interviews, focus groups, narratives or texts to explore health and illness concepts - Which methods is appropriate in any situation depends upon the question being asked in the context Action Research: - Is concerned with the process of change and what is decided upon to stimulate change - The investigator works with the stakeholders in a community or organization to help a situation to develop or make a change of direction - The aim is to bring change in partnership with the community or organization to help a situation or make a change in direction - Suited to organizational and consultancy work and when a system or service requires improvement - Stems from Kurt Lewin’s studies of the 1940’s - The Lewin studies are considered unscientific because they did not use control groups or random sampling - *see figure 5.1 - Participatory action research (when participants are an active part of research) can engage in direct social action to promote health related change - Action research takes time and a lot of collaboration with other agencies - There are many challenges and the researcher must devote a lot of energy to the project Between Groups Design: - Between groups design allocates matched groups of people to different treatments - Cross-sectional design if the measures are taken at one time - Longitudinal design groups are tested at two or more time points - A failure to find a difference between treatment groups on an outcome measure might be for one of three reasons: - 1. They are equally effective - 2. They are equally ineffective - 3. They are equally harmful - For this reason one of the groups should be a control group - Control group a group that does not receive the treatment - This helps us to discover whether the treatment shows a different effect from no treatment - Ethical issues arise over the use of control groups - Not treating someone in need of treatment is unacceptable - The control group should receive the exact amount of attention as those in the treatment condition - This control is called, placebo control - It is important to measure the groups responses before the treatment as well as after to see if there are different starting positions - This is when a mixed design is often used Case Studies: - This term is used to describe a detailed descriptive account of an individual, group or collective - The purpose is to provide a “thick description” - It requires the researcher to be expansive in the type of data collected with a deliberate aim to link the person with the context (ex. The sick person with the family) - A chronological account of the evolution of the phenomenon from the perspective of the patient is given - The major strength of case studies is the integration of actor and context and the developmental perspective - The researcher moves in an inductive manner (from specific to general) - Clinical cases are the best examples of a particular phenomena - There are a variety of techniques used to collect information in case studies - This info is used to shape the case Confidence Interval: - Confidence interval the interval around the mean of a sample that one can state with a known probability contains the mean of the population - A population parameter is always estimated using a sample - The reliability of this varies according to sample size - The confidence interval specifies a range of values within which a parameter is estimated - The narrower the interval the more reliable the estimate Cross-over or Within Participants Designs: - Used when the same people provide measures at more than one time and difference between the measures at the different times are recorded - Ex. A measure taken pre-treatment and one taken post-treatment from the same individual - This design minimizes the effect of individual differences because each person acts as their own control group - Some problems with this design are: - Any change in measure may be due to the fact that other factors have changed (ex. - Failure to find a difference between the two occasions doesn’t tell you much, in a worsening situation the intervention might still have been effective in preventing things from worsening even more - Artefact an uncontrolled and possibly unknown variable or factor causing a misleading, spurious finding in a study - There could be carry-over effects (ex. Later trials show improvement as a result of practice or poorer performance from fatigue) - To counter order effects we could use a “washout” period before and after treatment periods - Or we could randomly assign people to different orders Cross-sectional Studies: - Obtain responses from respondents on one occasion only - The sampling is random - The sample can be assumed to be representative cross-section of the population(s) under study and its possible to make comparisons between sub-groups (ex. Males vs. females, older people vs. younger people) - Relatively inexpensive - Cause and effect can never be inferred between one variable and another - It’s also impossible to tell if associations observed were caused by a third variable not measured Diary Techniques: - Diary techniquesany data collection method in which the data are linked to the passage of time - Used as a method for collecting information about temporal changes in health status - They can be quantitative, qualitative or both - They can aid in evaluation of particular interventions - A major challenge of this is to convince a research participant to complete the diary entry on a regular basis - Diary keeping can be psychologically beneficial - There has been evidence that says journal writing can lead to reduction in illness symptoms Direct Observation: - Directly observing behaviour in a relevant setting - The simplest kind of study - The observation is usually accompanied by recordings - However, there is the ethical issue that people have not consented to the observation Discourse Analysis: - A set of procedures for analysing language as used in speech or texts - How language is used to construct versions of “social reality” and what is gained by constructing events using the particular terms being used - Two forms of discourse analysis: - Discursive psychology: - Concerned with the conversational context of discourse -
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