Notes From Reading
CHAPTER 2: THE RESEARCH ENTERPRISE IN PSYCHOLOGY
I. Looking for Laws: The Scientific Approach to Behavior
A.Goals of The Scientific Enterprise
Scientific Enterprise assumes that events are governed by some lawful order.
1. Measurement and Description – Develop measurement techniques that make
it possible to describe behavior clearly and precisely
2. Understanding and Prediction – explain reasons for an occurrence
a.Hypothesis – tentative statement about relationship between 2 or more
b. Variables – any measurable conditions, events, characteristics, or
behaviors that are controlled or observed in a study.
3. Application and Control – Practical Problems and how to control them
4. Theory – a system of interrelated ideas used to explain a set of observations.
a.Must be testable
B. Steps in a Scientific Investigation
Scientific Investigation are systematic – follow an orderly pattern
1. Step 1: Formulate a Testable Hypothesis
a.Hypothesis expressed as a prediction
b. Operational Definition: describes actions or operations that will be used
to measure or control a variable (IV, DV, CV).
2. Step 2: Select the Research Method and Design the Study (i.e. How to put the
hypothesis through an Empirical Test).
a.Subjects/Participants – persons or animals whose behavior is
systematically observed in a study.
3. Step 3: Collect the Data
a.Data Collection Techniques: procedures for making empirical
observations and measurements i.e. direct observation, questionnaires,
4. Step 4: Analyze the Data and Draw Conclusions
a.Researchers use statistics to analyze their data and decide whether their
hypothesis has been supported.
5. Step 5: Repeat the Findings: Share findings with other scientists and general
a.Done through journals – periodicals that publish technical and scholarly
material, usually in a narrowly defined area of inquiry.
b. Allows others to evaluate and critique new findings. Discloses flaws.
C. Advantages of the Scientific Approach
1. Clarity and Precision – enhance communication about important ideas
2. Intolerance for Error
3. Research Methods – Differing approaches to observation, measurement,
manipulation, and control of variables in empirical studies.
II. Looking for Causes: Experimental Research
A.Independent and Dependant Variables