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Chapter 2

PSYCH101 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Convenience Sampling, Scientific Literacy, Falsifiability


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Paul Wehr

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Module 2.1: Principles of Scientific Research
Week 1 Readings
Learning Objectives:
-know the key terminology related to the principles of scientific research
-understand the five characteristics of quality scientific research
-understand how biases might influence the outcome of a study
-concepts of reliability and validity
-analyze whether anecdotes, authority figures, and common sense are reliably truthful sources
of information
Principles of Scientific Research
objectivity: assumes that certain facts about the world can be observed and tested
independently from the individual who describes them (scientific research aims for this)
-as soon as people observe an event, their interpretation of it becomes subjective
subjective: knowledge of an event is shaped by prior beliefs, expectations, experiences,
and moods
Five Characteristics of Quality Scientific Research
-drive for objectivity influences how scientific research is conducted in five ways:
1. it is based on measurements that are objective, valid, and reliable
2. it can be generalized
3. it uses techniques that reduces bias
4. it is made public
5. it can be replicated
Scientific Measurement: Objectivity, Reliability, and Validity
-foundation of scientific methodology is the use of objective measurements
objective measurements: the measure of an entity or behaviour that, within an allowed
margin of error, is consistent across instruments and observers
-scientists in a given field have to agree upon how much variability is allowable
variable: the object, concept, or event being measured (eg. weight)
can be described or measured, key part of research
examining the same variable with different techniques strengthens our ability to
understand the different elements of behaviour
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Module 2.1: Principles of Scientific Research
Week 1 Readings
operational definitions: statements that describe the procedures (or operations) and
specific measures that are used to record observations (imperative for researchers to
define these terms)
-measurement tools used to measure the variable must be reliable and valid
validity: degree to which an instrument of procedure actually measures what it claims to
measure (requires a great deal of testing and revising before the final product)
reliability: when the tool provides consistent and stable answers across multiple
observations and points in time
-number of different types of reliability
test-retest: whether scores on a given measure of behaviour are consistent across
test sessions
alternate-forms: whether different forms of the same test produce the same result
-better performance on a 2nd round of the same test could just be due to practice
inter-rater: raters agree on the measurements that were taken, multiple raters
Generalizability of Results
generalizability: the degree to which one set of results can be applied to other
situations, individuals, or events
-can increase the generalizability of research by studying a larger group of participants
population: group that researchers want to generalize about
-generally impossible to study an entire population, so researchers use a sample
sample: select group of population members (results can be generalized to the pop.)
-how the sample is selected determines whether the results are generalizable
random sample: a sampling technique in which every individual of a population has an
equal chance of being included (researchers generally try to use this method)
convenience sample: samples of individual who are the most readily available
-in addition to generalizing across individuals, researchers should do the same with
time and location (should ideally have high ecological validity)
ecological validity: results of a laboratory study can be applied to or repeated in the
natural environment
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