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Dax Urbszat (681)
Chapter 2

Chapter 2 Notes.pdf

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Dax Urbszat

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Page 45 - 72 Chapter 2: The Research Enterprise in Psychology The Scientific Approach to Behaviour a) Goals of the Scientific Enterprise 1. Measurement and Description o Develop measurement techniques that make it possible to describe behaviour clearly and precisely 2. Understanding and Prediction o Make and test predictions (Hypothesis)  Hypothesis – tentative statement about the relationship between 2 or more variables.  Variables – any measureable conditions, events, characteristics, or behaviours that are controlled/observed in a study 3. Application and Control o Scientists hope that info gathered will be of help to solve everyday problems (practical)  Scientific theory must be testable; most theories too complex to be tested all at once b) Steps in a Scientific Investigation 1. Formulate a Testable Hypothesis o Translate theory into a testable hypothesis + variables under study must be clearly defined o Operational Definition – describes actions/operations that will be used to measure/control a variable 2. Select the Research Method and Design the Study o Figure out how to put hypothesis to an empirical test o Research method depends on nature of question under study o Ex. experiments, case studies, surveys, etc. 3. Collect the Data o Data Collection Techniques – procedures for making empirical observations and measurements o Key Data Collection Techniques Chart (Pg 49) 4. Analyze the Data and Draw Conclusions o Observations made in study usually converted into #s o Use stats to analyze data and decide whether their hypothesis have been supported 5. Report the Findings o Scientific progress achieved if researchers share their findings with one another and general public o Concise summary of study and findings 1 Page 45 - 72 o Journal – periodical that publishes technical and scholarly material o Purpose of publishing: allows other experts to evaluate and critique new research findings c) Advantages of the Scientific Approach 1. Clarity and Precision o People specify exactly what they are talking about when they formulate hypothesis o Enhances communication about important ideas 2. Its Relative Intolerance of Error o Scientists subject their ideas to empirical tests o They demand objective data and thorough documentation before they accept ideas  Research Methods – consist of various approaches to the observation, measurement, manipulation, and control of variables in empirical studies Looking for Causes: Experimental Research  Experiment – research method in which the investigator manipulates a variable under carefully controlled conditions and observes whether any changes occur in a second variable as a result  Allow researchers to detect cause-and-effect relationships a) Independent and Dependent Variables  Purpose of experiment: find out whether changes in 1 variable (x; independent) cause changes in another variable (y; dependent)  Independent Variable – condition/event that an experimenter varies in order to see its impact on another variable o Variable that experimenter controls/manipulates  Dependent Variable – variable thought to be affected by manipulation of the independent variable o Measurement of some aspect of participants’ behaviour b) Experimental and Control Groups  Experimental Group – subjects who receive some special treatment in regard to independent variable  Control Group – similar subjects who don’t receive the special treatment given to the experimental group  If the 2 groups are alike in all respects except for the variation created by the manipulation of the independent variable, any differences between the 2 groups on the dependent variable must be due to manipulation of the independent variable c) Extraneous Variables  Any variables other than the independent variable that seem likely to influence the dependent variable in a specific study 2 Page 45 - 72 o Ex. participants’ personality, risk-taking propensity  Confounding – occurs when 2 variables are linked together in a way that makes it difficult to sort out their specific effects o Result: can’t tell which is having what effect on the dependent variable o Unanticipated confounding of variables  ruined experiments  Random Assignment - occurs when all subjects have an equal chance of being assigned to any group or condition in the study d) Variations in Designing Experiments  Some have only 1 independent variable and 1 dependent variable o Ex. 1 independent variable: whether teens were or weren’t receiving the specially designed intervention program  Effects of single independent variable is by exposing this single group to 2 different conditions (experimental and control condition) o Ex. studying effects of loud music on typing performance:  Have a group of participants work on a typing task while loud music was played (experimental) + in absence of music (control)  Possible to manipulate more than 1 independent variable in a single experiment  Possible to use more than 1 dependent variable in a single study o Ex. using questionnaire and behavioural measure e) Advantages and Disadvantages of Experimental Research  Pros: o Gives conclusions about cause-and-effect relationship between variables o Researchers able to draw conclusions about causation because the precise control available in the experiment allows them to isolate the r/s between independent and dependent variable while neutralizing effects of extraneous variables  Cons: o Experiments often artificial since researchers often construct simple situations to test their hypothesis o Experimental method can’t be used to explore some research questions o Sometimes, manipulation of variables are difficult/impossible Looking for Links: Descriptive/Correlational Research  Some situations, can’t exert experimental control over variables they want to study  Ex. If interested in effects of nutritious and non-nutritious maternal diets on health of babies, you would never try to get some expectant mother to follow poor nutritional habits  must rely on descriptive/correlational  Descriptive/Correlational Methods: naturalistic observation, case studies + surveys  This lack of control means methods can’t be used to demonstrate cause-and- effect relationship  Permit investigators to only describe patterns of behaviour and discover links/associates between variables 3 Page 45 - 72 f) Naturalistic Observation  A researcher engages in careful observation of behaviour without intervening directly with the subjects  Behaviour of people being studied unfolds naturally o Pro: researchers can study behaviour under conditions less artificial than in experiments  Con: researchers often have trouble making their observations unobtrusively so they don’t affect their participants’ behaviour g) Case Studies  An in depth investigation of an individual subject  Pros: o Well suited for investigating certain phenomena (ex. psychological disorders) o Provide compelling, real-life illustrations that bolster a hypothesis/theory  Cons: o Can be highly subjective  Info from several sources must be put together in an impressionistic way  In process, researchers may focus selectively on info that fits with their expectations, which usually reflect their theoretical slant h) Surveys  Use questionnaires/interviews to gather info about specific aspects of participants’ behaviour  Pros: o Can gather data on difficult-to-observe aspects of behaviour o Easy to collect  Cons: o Depend on self-report data  often unreliable *** Summary Chart of Research Methods (Page 59) i) Advantages and Disadvantages of Descriptive/Correlational Research  Pro: give researchers a way to explore questions that couldn’t be examined with experimental procedures  Con: o Descriptive: investigators can’t control events to isolate cause and effect o Correlational: can’t demonstrate conclusively that 2 variables are casually related  Never know if the correlation between them is actually due to the
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