PSYA01H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Indep, Inter-Rater Reliability, Naturalistic Observation

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12 Nov 2011
Chapter 2
The scientific method in psychology
Goal to discover the causes of behavior
Must describe the behaviors and events that are responsible for their occurrence
thoroughly and appropriately
Scientific method consists of a set of rules that dictates the collection and analysis of
data gained through observational studies or experiments
Based on logic and common sense, not arbitrary
3 major types of scientific research
naturalistic observation – obs of ppl or animals in their natural environment
clinical observation – the observation of the behaviour of ppl who are undergoing
diagnonsis or treatment
least formal and constrained by fewest rules
provide foundations of biological and social sciences
correlation studies – obs in nature, but involve more formal measurement, of
environmental events of individuals’ physical and social charac, and of their behav
examination of relations btwn 2+ measurements of behav or other charac of
experiments – go beyond measurement; make something happen and obs results
only thing that can positively identify the causal relations among events
study where indep variable can be changed and observe whether
manipulation affects value of depen variable
only thing tht can confirm the existence of cause-and-effect relations among
provide general accounts of phenomena stumbled upon
ex. SIRD stereogram – some ppl take longer than others to identify hidden
objects in images
Observational evidence identifies the phenomenon and might indicate
something about its magnitude; Correlational evidence arises when you start
to observe relations between observations
steps of the scientific method – the form of scientific research that identifies cause-and-
effect relations
identify the problem and formulate hypothetical cause-and-effect relations among
design the experiment
indep variable must be controlled so no other variable is responsible for any
changes in the depen variable
perform the experiment
record observations
evaluate the hypothesis by examining the data from the study
results support hypothesis or go against
communicate the results
replication – ensures that erroneous results and incorrect conclusions are weeded out;
avoids statistical flukes; checks whether previous results were obtained
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Identifying the problem: getting an idea for research
accumulation of most scientific info occurs as the result of long-term research programs
in which findings of individual researchers are part of a larger collective (international)
require financial support, 3 major ones in Canada are: the Natural Sciences and
Engineering Research Council, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and
the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (aka Medical Research Council)
hypothesis – tentative statement about a cause-and-effect relation btwn 2+ events tat
is to be tested by an experiment
means “suggestion” in greek
come as a result of accumulated research and scholarship
theory – set of statements that describes and explains known facts, proposes relations
among variables, and makes new predictions
can be a way of organizing a system of related hypotheses to explain some larger
aspect of nature
good if generates testable hypotheses
important feature of naturalistic observations is tht the observer remains in the
background, trying not to interfere with the subjects being observed
if interference occurs it becomes an experiment
case study – a detailed descrip of an individ’s behaviour during the course of a clinical
treatment or diagnosis
clinical psychologist most likely does not remain in the background, cuz the object of
therapy is to change patient’s behaviour and to solve problems (but cant interfere wit
treatment regime for patient)
survey study – study of ppls responses to standardized questions
designing an experiment
variables – anything capable of assuming any of several values (ex: temp, happiness)
manipulate – “to handle”; setting the values of an indep variable in an experiment to
see whether the value of another variable is affected
to test hypothesis with an experiment, need 2 groups of volunteers to serve as
experimental group – members exposed to a particular value of the indep
variable, which has been manipulated
control group – comparison group; members exposed to naturally occurring or
zero value of the indep variable
groups are randomly assigned/split up
independent variable – variable that is manipulate to determine cause-and-effect
dependent variable – variable that is measured in an experiment
the value of a depen variable depends on the value of an indep variable
nominal fallacy – refers to erroneous belief tht one has explained an event merely by
naming it
lazy behavior explained by attributing it to “laziness”
if feeling anger, these feelings are not causing his behaviour their describing it
task of a psychologist is to determine which of the many events that occurred before a
particular behavior caused that behavior to happen
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