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Chapter 1

PSY 1101 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Histogram, Frequency Distribution, Bar Chart

Course Code
PSY 1101
Jenna Boulanger

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What determines why psychology is a science?
How the research is conducted, not the subject. If the scientific method is employed, it is referred
to as a science.
1. Observation- Casual, then Systematic.
2. Theory- Helps to organize, summarize, integrate the information. provide us with an
explanation as to why we're observing what we're observing. Theory is not fact!! simply an
attempt to explain.
3. Hypothesis Testing- Hypothesis is a testable predication; a tentative statement about a
relationship between two variables.
a. Operational definition (of the variables). as a researcher, you must clearly, concisely
and completely define how you will measure your variables. EX: optimism=
achieving a score of 50 and above on the Haddad optimism scale.
4. Replication- retesting using the same operational definition and hypothesis, but using a new
set of participants. the more you repeat the test and achieve the same results, the more confident
you become of your results. However, if you test many times and achieve different results, you
will be unconfident of your results.
5. Generate/Refine
Scientific research is a work in progress, in a constant state of evolution.
Types of Research Studies
1. Descriptive:
Purpose: to observe and describe behaviours. DO NOT look for relationships or cause& effect.
a)Case Study: an in-depth investigation of either one single person or a very small
group of people.
- Some advantages: the most in-depth type of study possible; ideal when dealing with a
complex phenomenon with which we are completely unfamiliar; great with extreme or rare
cases, allow for documentation of rare cases; give hints/clues about normal behaviours.
- Some disadvantages: since the sample is so small, you cannot generalize from the sample to
the population; very vulnerable to researcher bias. Videotape and record everything in order
to obtain an objective record of all information!!
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b)Survey: Researcher will reach out to a very large group of people, and ask specific questions
about opinions, behaviours etc. Very widely used.
In order to make a survey scientifically viable, a representative sample is necessary. This means
that characteristics of the sample should closely parallel/reflect the characteristics of the
Ex- average age of population is 19, average age of the sample must also be 19.
What can you do to ensure that the sample is representative?
Random Sampling, which is the most commonly used method. Don't select participants or ask
for volunteers, selection must be random in order to be scientifically viable.
- Advantages: Reach the largest possible sample of subjects; you can reach/ include people
who would usually not include in studies ex people with disabilities, illiterate people etc.;
sometimes it is the only way possible to get the required information.
- Disadvantages: Relying on self-report which is problematic because people may lie, give
the wrong answer due to lack of self-knowledge etc.; attitudes/ opinions don't always
translate into action; surveys are very vulnerable to twist effects, slightest change could lead
to a different result; surveys are very vulnerable to who is conducting the interview ex.
gender and race.
Application to real life: generalizing from unrepresentative samples and vivid cases.
False consensus effect: overestimate the extent to which people share our thinking ideas
opinions and behaviours; we assume others are the same as us.
c) Naturalistic Observation: done outside of the lab, the researcher goes out into the natural/real
world in order to study the sample in their natural habitat.
-Advantages: no artificiality, results unfold naturally; without naturalistic observations,
there are behaviours which otherwise would not have been noticed.
-Disadvantages: researcher's presence could influence the behaviour of the subject (so in
order to be accurate, the researcher must be as inconspicuous as possible); generalizing is
not accurate
Ex- kids in Ottawa may not act the same as kids in Brazil; researcher bias, assumptions, theories
etc could influence the conclusions.
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