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Chapter 2

Textbook chapter 2 summary

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Dax Urbszat

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Oct/5/2003 CHANAPS
Notes From Reading
Looking for Laws: The Scientific Approach to Behavior
-As scientist, psychologists assume that behavior s governed by discernible
laws or principles.
Goals of the Scientific Enterprise
1) Measurement and description
2) Understanding and Prediction
3) Application and Control.
Measurement and Description
-Science’s commitment to observation requires that an investigator figure
out a way to measure the phenomenon under study.
-Develop measurement techniques that make it possible to describe
behavior clearly precisely.
Understanding and Prediction
-Scientists believe they can understand events when they can explain the
reason for occurrence of the events.
-Hypothesis- tentative statement about the relationship between two or
more variables.
-Variables- any measurable conditions, events, characteristics or behaviors
that are controlled or observed in a study.
Application and Control
-Scientists hope that they information they gather will be of some practical
value in helping to solve everyday problems.
-Once people understand a phenomenon, they often can exert more control
over it.
Theory- system of interrelated ideas uses to explain a set of observations.
-By integrating apparently unrelated facts and principles into a coherent
whole, theories permit psychologists to make the leap from the description
of behavior to the understanding of behavior.
Steps in a Scientific Investigation

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Oct/5/2003 CHANAPS
Notes From Reading
Step 1: Formulate a Testable Hypothesis
-Translate a theory into a testable hypothesis.
-To be testable, scientific hypothesis must be formulated precisely, and the
variables under study must be clearly defined.
-Clear formulations are provided by operational definitions of the relevant
-Operational definition- actions or operations t hat will be used to measure
or control a variable.
Step 2: Select the Research Method and Design the Study
-How to put the hypothesis to an empirical test.
-Experiments, case studies, surveys, naturalistic observation all have
advantages and disadvantages; therefore it is the researcher’s job to see
which is most suitable for the study.
-When to conduct studies, how many subjects are needed, and where the
study will take place all has to be determined.
-Participants, or subjects, are the persons or animals whose behavior is
systematically observed in a study.
Step 3: Collect the Data
-Researchers use a variety of data collection techniques, which are
procedures for making empirical observations and measurements.
-Some commonly used techniques are direct observation, questionnaires,
interviews, psychological tests, physiological recordings, and examination
of archival records.
-Data collection techniques depend on who is being investigated
Step 4: Analyze the Data and Draw Conclusions
-Observations made in a study are usually converted into numbers.
-Statistics are used be researchers to analyze their data.
-Important to be cautions about drawing far-reaching conclusions because
there might always be variables that are left uncontrolled.
Step 5: Report the Findings
-scientific progress can only be achieved if researchers share their findings
with one another and with the general public.

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Oct/5/2003 CHANAPS
Notes From Reading
-Researchers prepare a report that is delivered at a scientific meeting and
submitted to a journal for publication.
-A journal is a periodical that publishes technical and scholarly material,
usually in a narrowly defined area of inquiry.
Advantages of the Scientific Approach
-Scientific approach offers two major advantages: clarity and precision.
-Scientific approach requires that people specify exactly what they are
talking about when they formulate hypotheses.
-Scientific approach has a relative intolerance of error because scientists
are trained to be skeptical.
-Research methods consists of various approaches to the observation,
measurement, manipulation, and control of variables in empirical studies.
Looking for Causes: Experimental Research
-An experiment is a research method in which the investigator manipulated
a variable under carefully controlled conditions and observes whether any
changes occur in a second variable as a result.
-An independent variable is a condition or event that an experimenter varies
in order to see is impact on another variable. (Experimenter controls or
-A dependent variable is the variable that is thought to be affected by
manipulation of the independent variable.
-Dependent variable usually a measurement of behavior in psychology.
Experimental and Control Groups
-Experimental group consist of the subjects who receive some special
treatment in regard to the independent variable.
-Control group consists of similar subjects who do not receive the special
treatment given to the experimental group.
Extraneous Variables
-Experimental and control groups have to be alike only on dimensions
relevant to the dependent variable.
-Experimenters concentrate on ensuring that the experimental and control
groups are alike on a limited number of variables that could have a bearing
on the results of the study.
-These variables are called extraneous, secondary, or nuisance.
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