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How the scientific method is used in psychological research
Scientific methoda set of rules that governs the collection and analysis of data
gained through observational studies or experiments
-A set of rules that dictate the general procedure a scientist must follow in his or
her research
These rules are based on logic and common sense
The rules were originally devised by philosophers who were attempting to
determine how we could understand reality
3 major types of scientific research
1.
Naturalistic observationthe observation of the behaviour of people or other
animals in their natural environments
Provide the foundations of the biological and social sciences
Clinical observationthe observation of the behaviour of people who are
undergoing diagnosis or treatment
These methods are the least formal and are constrained by the fewest rules
A researcher might perceive new facts following careful observation
2.
Correlational studiesthe examination of relations between two or more
measurements of behaviour or other characteristics of people or other animals
- Observational in nature but involves more formal measurement – of environmental
events, of individuals’ physical and social characteristics, and of their behaviour
Researchers examine the relations of these measurements in an attempt to explain
the observed behaviours
3.
Experimentsa study in which the researcher changes the value of an independent
variable and observes whether this manipulation affects the value of a dependent
variable. Only experiments can confirm the existence of cause-and-effect relations
among variables
- only experiments can positively identify the causal relations among events
Go beyond mere measurement
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Performing an experiment makes things happen and observes the results
The 3 classes of research often occur in progressive sequence, and provide
increasingly more compelling evidence
Observational evidence identifies the phenomenon and might indicate something
about its magnitude
Correlational evidence arises when you start to observe relations between
observations
Systematic investigation of the phenomenon through experimentation can produce
concrete evidence about the causal role that you believe visual hints play in seeing the
3Dobjects
Experiments provide evidence about the psychological processes that affect
behaviour, and in this sense provide general accounts of phenomena
5 steps summarize the rules of the scientific method that apply to experiments
Following these steps decreases the chances that we will be misled by our
observations and come to incorrect conclusions in our research
1. Identify the problem and formulate hypothetical cause-and-effect relations
among variables
- identifying variables (particular behaviours and particular environmental and
physiological events)
- describing the relations among them in general terms
2. Design the experiment
- experiments involve the manipulation of independent variables and the observation
of dependent variables
Each variable must be operationally defined, and the independent variable must
be controlled so that only it, and no other variable, is responsible for any changes
in the dependent variable
3.Perform the experiment
- the researcher must organize the material needed to perform the experiment
train the people who will perform the research
recruit volunteers whose behaviour will be observed
randomly assign each of these volunteers to an experimental group or a
control group
- the experiment is performed and the observations are recorded
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4. Evaluate the hypothesis by examining the data from the study
- do the results support the hypothesis, or do they suggest that it is wrong?
this step often involves special mathematical procedures used to determine
whether an observed effect is statistically significant
5. Communicate the results
-once psychologists have learned something about the causes of a behaviour from
an experiment, they must tell others about their findings
-scientists write an article that includes a description of the procedure and results
and a discussion of their significance
-they send the article to one of the many journals that publish results of
psychological research
-journal editors and expert reviewers determine which research is
methodologically sound and important enough o publish
-researchers often present their findings at conferences or professional
conventions
other psychologists will be able to incorporate these findings into their
own thinking and hypothesizing
Scientific Method Step 1: Identifying the Problem: Getting an Idea for Research
Before providing funding, these agencies rigorously review the merits of a proposed
research program and its potential for long-term scientific value
Hypotheses
Hypothesis (suggestion) – is a statement that testatively expresses a cause-and-effect
relation between two or more events
starting point of any study
an idea phrased as a general statement, that a scientist wishes to test through
scientific research
Theory – a set of statements designed to explain a set of phenomena; more
encompassing than a hypothesis
-describes and explains known facts, proposes relations among variables, and
makes new predictions
-elaborate form of hypothesis
-scientific theory operates within the scientific method to organize a system of
facts and related hypotheses to explain some larger aspect of nature
-good theory generates testable hypotheses that can potentially be supported or
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Document Summary

How the scientific method is used in psychological research. Scientific method a set of rules that governs the collection and analysis of data gained through observational studies or experiments. A set of rules that dictate the general procedure a scientist must follow in his or her research. these rules are based on logic and common sense. the rules were originally devised by philosophers who were attempting to determine how we could understand reality. Naturalistic observation the observation of the behaviour of people or other animals in their natural environments. provide the foundations of the biological and social sciences. Clinical observation the observation of the behaviour of people who are undergoing diagnosis or treatment. these methods are the least formal and are constrained by the fewest rules. a researcher might perceive new facts following careful observation.

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