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Chapter 2

Chapter 2 - The Research Enterprise in Psychology.docx

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Dax Urbszat

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Chapter 2 - The Research Enterprise in Psychology The Research Enterprise in Psychology The Scientific Approach to Behaviour Goals of the Scientific Enterprise 1. Measurement and Description -figure out a way to measure the phenomenon under study -develop measurement techniques that make it possible to describe behaviour clearly and precisely 2. Understanding and Prediction -make and test prediction: hypothesis -hypothesis: a tentative statement about the relationship between two or more variables -variables: are any measureable conditions, events, characteristics, or behaviours that are controlled or observed in a study 3. Application and control -construct theories to understand behaviour better -theories permit psychologists to make leap from the description of behaviour to the understanding of behaviour -scientific theory must be testable -confidence in a theory increases when hypotheses derived from it are supported by research Steps in Scientific Investigation 1. Formulate a testable hypothesis -scientists use operational definitions to clarify what their variables mean -operational definitions: describes the actions or operations that will be used to measure or control a variable 2. Select the research method and design the study -what type of experiment? Participants? -Participants: persons or animals whose behavior is systematically observed in a study 3. Collect the Data -data collection techniques: procedures for making empirical observations and measurements -direct observation, questionnaire, interview, psychological test, physiological recording, or examination of archival records (pg. 46). 4. Analyze the data and draw conclusions -observations usually converted into numbers, which constitute the raw data -researchers use statistics to analyze their data to discover whether their hypothesis was correct or not 5. Report the findings -scientific progress only possible if findings are reported and shared or presented to others -typically researchers prepare report that is submitted to journal publication -journal: periodical that publishes technical and scholarly material, usually in a narrowly defined area of inquiry Advantages of the Scientific Approach  2 major advantages of scientific approach: (1)- clarity in communication (2)- relative intolerance of error  Research methods: consist of various approaches to observation, measurement, manipulation, and control of variables in empirical studies Looking for Causes: Experimental Research  Experiment: research method in which investigator manipulates a variable under carefully controlled conditions and observes whether any changes occur in a second variable as a result Independent and dependent variables  Purpose of experiment is to find out whether changes in one variable (x) causes changes in another (y)/ how x affects y / x is the independent variable and y is the dependent variable  Independent variable: is a condition or event that an experimenter varies in order to see its impact on another variable (called independent, because is free)  Dependent variable: is the variable that is thought to be affected by manipulation of the independent variable (called dependent since it is thought to depend) Experimental and Control Groups  In experiment, investigator assembles two groups who are treated differently, called, experimental group and control group  Experimental group: consists of the subjects who receive some special treatment in regard to the independent variable Control group: consists of similar subjects who do not receive special treatment give tot the experimental  group Extraneous Variables  It is impossible to ensure that two groups are alike in every aspect  Extraneous variables: any variables other than the independent variable that seem likely to influence the dependent variable in a specific study  Confounding of variables: occur when two variables are linked together in a way that makes it difficult to sort out their specific effects  Random assignment: occur when all subjects have an equal chance of being assigned to any group or condition in the study Variations in Designing Experiments  Sometimes advantageous to use only one group of subjects who serve as their own control group -two conditions: experimental and control -within subject design- when subjects serve as their own control group -between-subjects design - when two or more independent group of subjects are exposed to a manipulation of independent variable  It’s impossible to manipulate more than one independent variable in a single experiment  Possible to use more than one dependent variable in single study Advantages and Disadvantages of Experimental Research  Experiment is powerful research method that permits conclusions about cause-and-effect relationships between variables  Experimental method often not usable for a specific problem and may experiments tend to be artificial  When they are artificial, doubts arise, hard to find findings  Field experiments: research studies that use settings that are very much like real life Looking for Links: Descriptive/Correlation Research  Permit investigators to only describe patterns of behaviour and discover links or associations between variables  They use this only when they are unable to manipulate the variables they want to study Naturalistic Observation o Researcher engages in careful observation of behaviour without intervening directly with the research subjects or participants (called natural, because behaviour allowed to unfold naturally) o Reactivity: occurs when a subject’s behaviour is altered by presence of an observer o It is often difficult to translate naturalistic observations into numerical data that permit precise statistical analysis Case Studies o Case study: an in-depth investigation of an individual subject o When this method is applied to victims of suicide, it’s called “psychological autopsies” o Clinical research depends heavily on case studies Surveys  Surveys: researchers use questionnaires or interviews to gather information about specific aspects of participants’ behaviours  Overview of Key Research Methods in Psychology Research Description Example Advantages Disadvantages Method Experiment Manipulation of Youngsters assigned -precise control -often artificial independent variable to watch violent or over variables -ethical concerns & under controlled non-violent films, -ability to draw practical realities conditions to see and aggression is conclusions about preclude experiments whether any changes measured cause-effect on many important occur in dependent relationships questions variable Naturalistic Careful, prolonged Acts of aggression -minimizes -difficult to explain Observation observation of during recreational artificiality why certain patterns behaviour without direct activities recorded -good place to of behaviour were intervention and observed start when little observed known about
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