Textbook Notes (290,000)
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Chapter

Book Notes


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYB32H3
Professor
Konstantine Zakzanis

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CHAPTER 5: RESEARCH METHODS IN THE STUDY OF ABNORMAL
PSYCHOLOGY
SCIENCE AND SCIENTIFIC METHODS
Science: The pursuit of systematized knowledge through observation.
Theory: Set of propositions meant to explain a class of phenomena.
Hypotheses: Expectations about what should occur if a theory is true.
The generation of a theory is perhaps the most challenging part of the scientific enterprise. One earlier
school of thought, called operationism, proposed that each concept take as its meaning a single observable
and measurable operation. In this way each theoretical concept would be nothing more than one particular
measurable event. For example, anxiety might be identified as nothing more than scoring above 50 on a
particular anxiety questionnaire.
THE RESEARCH METHODS OF ABNORMAL PSYCHOLOGY
The case study has been used to:
1.Provide a detailed description of a rare or unusual phenomenon and of important, often novel,
methods or procedures of interviewing, diagnosis and treatment.
2.Disconfirm allegedly universal aspects of a particular theoretical proposition.
3.Generate hypotheses that can be tested through controlled research.
Multiple personality is known also as dissociative identity disorder.
GENERATING HYPOTHESES
A case study may reveal principles characteristic of people in general and is unable to provide satisfactory
evidence concerning cause-effect relationships.
Epidemiology: The study of the frequency and distribution of a disorder in a population.
Three features of a disorder:
1.Prevalence- the proportion of a population that has the disorder at a given point or period of time.
2.Incidence- the number of new cases of the disorder that occur in some period, usually a year.
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3.Risk factors- conditions or variables that, if present, increase the likelihood of developing the
disorder.
The results of epidemiological research may provide hypotheses that can be more thoroughly investigated
using other research methods.
THE CORRELATIONAL METHOD
A great deal of research in psychopathology relies on the correlational method. This method establishes
whether there is a relationship between or among two or more variables. It is often employed in
epidemiological research, as well as in other studies.
Measuring correlation the first step in determining a correlation is to obtain pairs of observations of the
variables in question, such as height and weight, for each member of a group of participants. Once such
pairs of measurements are obtained, the strength of the relationship between the two sets of observations
can be calculated to determine the correlation coefficient, denoted by the symbol r.
STATISTICAL SIGNIFICANCE
Statistical significance: Refers to the likelihood that the results of an investigation are due to chance.
Classificatory variables: Variables such as having an anxiety disorder or not.
The correlational method although often employed in abnormal psychology has a critical drawback; it
does not allow determination of cause-effect relationships.
Directional problem: It present in many correlational research designs hence the often-cited dictum
Correlation does not imply causation”.
One way of overcoming the directionality problem is based on idea that causes must precede effects.
According to this idea studies investigating the hypothesized causes of psychopathology would use a
longitudinal design in which the hypothesized causes studied before a disorder has developed.
High-risk method: This approach only individuals with greater than average risk of developing
schizophrenia in adulthood would be selected for study.
The third-variables problem: Correlation may have been produced by a third unforeseen factor.
THE EXPERIMENT
Experiment: Is generally considered the most powerful tool for determining causal relationship between
events.
Basic features of experimental design:
1.The research typically begins with an experimental hypothesis that is what he or she assumes will
happen when a particular variable is manipulated.
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