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Chapter 3

Textbook Notes Chapter 3

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PSYC 3310
Jennifer Dobson

Jennifer Dobson Applied Social psychology 1 CHAPTER 3 - All research begins with a research question - Each research question (and hypothesis) specifies the variables of interest.A variable refers to a property of a person, an object, or an event that can vary in quantity (e.g., amount, degree) or in quality (e.g., kind). - The specific way in which a researcher measures a variable is referred to as the operational definition of the variable - Ameasurement procedure that reflects the meaning of the variable accurately is said to have a form of validity called construct validity. - Self-report data collection procedures are those that require participants to report (either orally or in writing) on themselves with respect to the variable(s) of interest. Examples of self-report measures include surveys, personality scales, vocational interest inventories, and single-item rating scales - Surveys involve a series of questions about one’s attitudes toward, views on, and behaviors regarding a variable or set of variables - There are three basic question types used in surveys: factual, attitude, and behavioral - Factual questions and are used to collect demographic data (e.g., age, gender, level of education) and information regarding events or circumstances about which a person is knowledgeable o Susceptible to lapses in memory or even conscious withholding of information - Attitude questions measure a person’s feelings, beliefs, or views that often cannot be easily ascertained from his or her behavior or other sources of information o Must be as specific as possible - Behavior questions tap into specific aspects of current or past behavior such as its frequency, intensity, and timing. Because they are subject to memory gaps and distortions, behavior questions are best asked about recent behaviors - Research shows that even minor differences in question wording can have a significant impact on responses. Questions have to be worded carefully to avoid bias or misinterpretation. Some Rules include: o Wording should be exact so that it reflects precisely what you want to measure o Wording/terminology should be simple so that even people with poor literacy skills, with little education, or from different backgrounds can understand o Load questions should be avoided. (questions that are phrased so that respondents are led to choose one response over another o Question should be kept short and relatively simple.Avoid double-barreed questions that involve having more than one question embedded within a sentence o Questions should not make assumptions about respondent such as about their experiences or demographic status. st - The Sequence of survey questions is important for 3 reasons. 1 you want to capture their interest from the beginning and maintain it throughout. 2 onend Jennifer Dobson Applied Social psychology 2 question can affect responses to subsequent questions, a process called a context effect. 3 question about sensitive topic should be presented at the end of survey - Close-ended questions provide respondents with a specified predetermined set of possible responses o These questions are relatively time-consuming to design and require some knowledge of the possible responses - Open-ended questions allow individuals to respond freely in their own words to survey or interview questions. o Disadvantages: process of interpreting and coding data from these questions can be time-consuming and difficult. - Electronic Surveys: compared with in-person survey respondents, web survey respondents produced lower quality of data, including less differentiation on rating scales (i.e., number of different scale points used by respondents), more “don’t know” responses, and more item nonresponse (i.e., leaving items unanswered) Observational Methods: - In the method of participant observation, the researcher is an active participant in the social situation that he or she has chosen to observe. - Nonparticipant observation, the researcher remains separate from the event being observed so as not to influence (i.e., contaminate) the natural behavior and dynamics of the situation. - Direct (systematic) observation involves selecting a naturally occurring set of behaviors, making observations of the behaviors using checklists or a coding system (developed ahead of time), and categorizing these observations for analysis. o Direct observations (a) serve a specific research purpose (i.e., address specific questions or hypotheses), (b) are carefully planned ahead of time, and (c) are recorded systematically. - Another type of nonparticipant observation, indirect observation, involves recording physical traces of the target behavior, for example, empty alcohol containers in recycling boxes to track drinking patterns o In addition, one can review previously collected (archival) data to examine behaviors that are difficult to observe or occur infrequently or to determine patterns of behavior over long periods of time Research Designs - The four basic research designs are true experimental, quasi-experimental, correlational, and descriptive. - An experimental design enables the researcher to address causal questions. Specifically, a true experiment allows the researcher to assess whether, and the degree to which, a variable (the possible cause) manipulated by the experimenter leads to a change in another variable (the effect) - Three kinds of variables relevant to experiments: independent, dependent, and extraneous. - An independent variable is one that is actively manipulated (i.e., changed) by the experimenter. Jennifer Dobson Applied Social psychology 3 - Participants who are introduced (i.e., exposed) to a level of an independent variable are said to be in a particular experimental condition - Dependent variable is one that is measured by the experimenter to determine if it changes in response to the manipulation of the independent variable. - Extraneous variable is one that the experimenter wishes to hold constant across levels of the indepen
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