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22 Apr 2012
Hypothesis: a type of idea or question; it makes a statement about something that may be true.
- A formal hypothesis usually states that two or more variables are related to one another
Prediction: concerning the outcome of the experiment
- When the results of a study confirm a prediction, the hypothesis is only supported, not proven
Respondents: individuals who take part in survey research
Informants: people who help researchers understand the dynamics of particular cultural and
organizational settings
Participants: when describing humans in a study
Sources of Ideas
(1) Common Sense
- The things we all believe to be true
- Ex. do “opposites attract” “picture worth a thousand words”?
(2) Observation of the World Around Us
- Ex. Storing something away in a “special place”, the effects of music lyrics, research on tipping
- Serendipity sometimes the most interesting discoveries are the result of accident or sheer luck
ex. Pavlov’s classical conditioning
(3) Theories
- 2 important functions in increasing our understanding of behavior,
- *theories organize and explain facts/descriptions of behavior ex. Charles Darwin’s theory of
evolution organized and explained characteristics of animal species
- *theories generate new knowledge by focusing our thinking, guide our observations of the world,
we generate hypothesis about behavior, conduct studies to test hypothesis, if confirmed, the
theory is supported
- A scientific theory is grounded in actual data: observations that have been made and hypothesis
that can be tested through research
- Ex. Evolutionary theory predicts that females and males will use different criteria for mate
- Theories are usually modified as new research defines the scope of the theory
(4) Past Research
- Becoming familiar with a body of research on a topic is perhaps the best way to generate ideas for
new research
- The research may lead to an attempt to apply the findings in a different setting, to study the topic
with a different age group, or to use a different methodology to replicate the results
- Ex. Drinking between males and females may lead to research on ways to reduce excess drinking
by college students
- May see inconsistencies in research results that need to be investigated, or may want to study
alternative explanations for the results
(5) Practical Problems
- Ex. Practical problems that can have immediate applications, city planners/citizens might survey
bicycle riders to determine most desirable route for a city bike path
APA database system is called PsycINFO, related database is PsycFIRST (past 3 years)
Literature Review: articles that summarize the research in particular areas
Research Article Anatomy
a) Abstract
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- Summary of research report , no more than 120 words, includes info about hypothesis, procedure,
and broad pattern of results, not a lot on discussion
b) Introduction
- Outline of problem being investigated, past research and theories relevant to problem described in
detail, specific expectation of researcher often as formal hypotheses
c) Method
- Divided into subsections, overview of design, characteristics of participants and how they were
recruited, details of the procedure used, equipment and materials used
d) Results
- Present the findings; a description in narrative form, in statistical language, or tables and graphs
e) Discussion
- Review of research from various perspectives, explanation of results and why one is better than
the other, potential reasons of hypothesis not being supported, how results compare with past
research, suggestions for practical applications of research
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