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PSY311H5 (58)
Chapter 2

Chapter 2 - Research Methods

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Stuart Kamenetsky

Chapter2ResearchMethodsGETTING STARTED FORMULATING HYPOTHESES AND ASKING QUESTIONSOne step in the research process is to translate a general idea into clear research hypotheses or questions This step involves proposing testable hypotheses based on theoretical premises For example if children watch violent television their own aggression will increase because they will imitate the TV models behaviour Another step is called operationalization of the idea or construct to be studied by translating it into an empirically assessable form For example operationalizing violent television as television programs sowing at least three instances of an adult hitting kicking or shooting another person RESEARCH METHODS ESTABLISHING PATTERNS AND CAUSES Correlational method involves looking for statistical associations between two variables determining whether two things are related to each other in a regular and systematic way and finding out how strongly they are related strength ranges from 10 to 10oPro it is able to avoid ethical concerns that would limit the research of things like divorce and child abuseoCon we cannot determine causation from correlations Laboratory experiments researchers manipulate an independent variable to see the effects on a dependent variable while keeping controlled variables constant The researcher tests both an experimental and a control group oPro can determine direct causation of variables on behaviouroCon may not realistically represent real life situations people may act differently in lab settings To counter this a lab experiment must have good ecological validity and accurately reflect everyday situations Field experiments investigators deliberately introduce changes into a persons natural environment For example introducing violent television programs into a childs regular lifestyle to see the effects on their violent behaviouroPro results can be easily generalized to real lifeoCon susceptible to observer biasInterventions A program provided to improve a situation or relieve psychological illness or distressNatural experiments researchers measure the effects of events or changes that occur without their intervention This is often called a quasiexperiment since participants are not being randomly assigned to experimental or controlled conditions Instead researchers select participants who are exposed to a certain variable ex children who watch violent television and participants who are not exposed to the variable ex children who dont watch violent television and compare the two groups together
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