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Chapter 2

Chapter 2 - Research Methods.docx

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David Collins

PSY 2105 F Chapter 2 Research Methods September 12 2012 What is Science?  A process of inquiry Lessons from “Clever Hans”  Famous European horse “Clever Hans”  Early 20th century  Answered questions about geography, science, math, etc…  Responded to many languages  Used hoof taps or nods  Many scientists concluded that von Osten was right o Hans answered correctly even when master not present  psychologist Oskar Pfungst was skeptical o Performed simple experiments  Pfungst found Hans could not answer if: o He had blinders on o No one in his sight knew the correct answer  Hypothesis? o Observant Scientific Research  Scientific method o Rules for designing, conducting, evaluating, and communicating research  Theory  A set of statements that describe a relation between behaviour and the factors that influence that behaviour  Hypothesis  A statement as to how one variable(s) may influence another variable(s) o High temperature conditions enhance aggression  Law (Principle)  A proven statement supported by strong evidence o Responses that produce satisfying consequences are strengthened (Law of Effect) Objectivity & Measurement  The scientific method assumes objective measurement o Serves to eliminate bias o Aims to operationalize the methods of study so that other scientists can replicate the study (and presumably replicate the research findings) 1 PSY 2105 F Chapter 2  Objectivity can be achieved by o A focus on observable behaviours  Have to be able to see it  Example o Can’t see memory; what is the observable behaviour: how many words a person can recite/write down  Issue  Knowing when behaviour starts and ends o Ensuring that the behaviours under study are precisely defined and are measurable  Have to be able to put a number to them o Using a quantitative approach to measurement  Studying “niceness” in children o Observable o Measurable o Quantifiable  Helping, smiling, sharing, participation, pro social behaviour, Types of Research  Descriptive research consists of conducting observations or interviews and recording responses  Correlational research o aims to describe the association between two variables  Experimental research o aims to show a causal relationship between one variable and another o always looking to establish causality Descriptive Research  Observational methods o Naturalistic observations vs. structured observations o Limitations  Observer bias  The influence of the observer’s expectations and interpretations  Observer influences  The effects of the observer’s presence  Interview methods o Open-ended vs. structured o Can provide a wealth of information o Rely on the informant’s knowledge, memory and ability or willingness to communicate  Case studies o Bring a wide range of information on one child o Often are concerned with clinical issues o Cautions need to be made when drawing conclusions ***Different types of children; children with problems tend to be main focus*** 2 PSY 2105 F Chapter 2 Correlational Research  A variable is any factor that can take on different values o Minimum of 2 values o Example  Running speed, intelligence quotients, gender  A correlation is a statistical statement as to the degree (strength) and direction of relationship between two variables o Positive  Values of one variable change in the same direction (increase or decrease) as the other variable  Both go up or both go down. Tend to follow each other  Example o Class attendance results in a higher GPA. o Negative  High values of one variable are associated with low values of the other variable  One goes up the other goes down  Example o Substance abuse goes up, GPA goes down  The correlational coefficient “r” reflects the direction and strength of a relation between two variables o Ranges from -1 through 0 through +1 o Negative values reflect a negative correlation o Positive values reflect a positive correlation o The strength of the relation is indicated by the size of the number: 0.5 is less strong than is 0.99  How tightly these numbers are linked ***Correlations do not prove causality*** *** Correlations do not prove causality - Not pay attention in class - Not study - Attendance  more organized *** 3 PSY 2105 F Chapter 2 Figure 2.1 Scatter diagrams illustrating correlations between two variables. Each dot represents one child and shows the child’s values for the two variables. One value is plotted from the vertical axis and the other from the horizontal axis. The left two graphs show positive correlations, and the right two graphs show negative correlations  Example o A high positive r (0.78) does not imply that watching Sesame Street causes improved reading – only that the two variables are related o Suggests the need for an experiment Figure 2.2 A scatter diagram of a hypothetical correlation between children’s viewing of Sesame Street and their reading level. The correlation coefficient (r ) shows a strong positive relation between the two variables. 4 PSY 2105 F Chapter 2 Experimental Research  Experiments offer the opportunity to prove causality, i.e., manipulation of one variable induces change in another variable  Variables in an experiment: o Independent variable (IV)
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