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Chapter 5

Chapter 5

7 Pages
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Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYB32H3
Professor
Konstantine Zakzanis

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Chapter 5: Research methods in the study of Abnormal Behaviour
[SCIENCE AND SCIENTIFIC METHODS]
Science is the pursuit of systemization knowledge thru observation; refers to both method (the
systematic acquisition and evaluation of info) and to a goal (the development of general theories that
explain the info)
Important for scientific explanations to be testable (open to systematic probes) and reliable (replicable)
Testability and Replicability
Statements, theories and assertions, must be testable in the public arena and subject to disproof
Hypothesis must be amenable to systematic testing that could show it to be false
Each observation that contributes to the scientific body of knowledge be replicable or reliable
It must be replicable meaning that it should occur under prescribed circumstances not once but
repeatedly
The Role of Theory
Theory is a set of propositions meant to explain a class of phenomena- advance theories account for
data by proposing cause-effect relationships
Theories can play important role in guiding research by suggesting certain additional data be collected
Theories permit generation of hypotheses: expectations about what should occur if a theory is true;
tested in research
The most challenging part of scientific enterprise is generating a theory
In formulating a theory, scientists must often make use of theoretical concepts, unobservable stats or
processes that are inferred from observable data
Repression is a theoretical concept, which are inferred from observable data; can summarize
already observed relationships; explains what has been observed; TC become mediators of
relationships
What criteria are applied in judging the legitimacy of the TC?
oOperationism: each concept take as its meaning a single observable and measureable operation; each
TC would be nothing more than one particular measureable event
oIf however, each TC is operationalized in only one way, its generality is lost
oTC can be defined by sets of operations or effects: the behaviour/physiological effects are set of
operations defining the TC (i.e. hand trembling; heart rate increases); better to do this rather than
defining TC by single operation
[The Research Methods of Abnormal Psychology]
All empirical research entails collection of observable data
osome research stays at descriptive level but often researchers observe several events and try to
determine how they are associated or related
www.notesolution.com
large descriptive literature concerning typical symptoms of people who have been diagnosed as having
particular disorders are related to other characteristics such as gender or social classes
we want to understand causes of relationships we have observed
methods vary in degree to which they permit collection of adequate descriptive data and the extent to
which they allow researchers to infer causal relationships
The Case Study
study individual at one time and record detailed information about them
collecting historical and biographical info on a single individual, often including experiences in
therapy; family history and background, medical history, educational background, jobs held, marital
history and details concerning development, adjustment, personality, life course and current situation
case studies of practising clinicians may lack the degree of control and objectivity of research using
other methods, but descriptive accounts have played important role in study of abnormal behaviour
case study has been used to:
oprovide detailed description of a rare or unusual phenomenon and of important, often novel, methods
or procedures of interviewing, diagnosis and treatment
dissociative identity disorder; trichotillomania
constant comparative method: consist of the identification of relevant units of information
(unitizing), placing the units into categories that emerge form the data (categorizing) and providing
organizational themes for the info (identifying themes)
important to address issues such as emotional, social and psychological well being when assessing
and treating patients rather than just focusing on symptom reduction with limited effectiveness
odisconfirm allegedly universal aspects of a particular theoretical proposition
case studies negate an assumed universal relationship or low
if even a single case does not agree with a universal theory then this would negate the theory or at
least force it to be changed to agree with the new findings
case studies do not provide the means for ruling out alternative hypotheses
several plausible hypotheses can account for clinical improvement
data yielded by the case study do not allow us to determine the true cause of the change
ogenerate hypotheses that can be tested through controlled research
validity of info gathered in case study is sometimes questionable
case studies good way of examining behaviour of a single individual in great detail and of generating
hypotheses that can later be evaluated by controlled research; useful in clinical settings where focus is
only on one person
not very useful when universal laws are sought to explain phenomenon
www.notesolution.com

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Description
Chapter 5: Research methods in the study of Abnormal Behaviour [SCIENCE AND SCIENTIFIC METHODS] Science is the pursuit of systemization knowledge thru observation; refers to both method (the systematic acquisition and evaluation of info) and to a goal (the development of general theories that explain the info) Important for scientific explanations to be testable (open to systematic probes) and reliable (replicable) Testability and Replicability Statements, theories and assertions, must be testable in the public arena and subject to disproof Hypothesis must be amenable to systematic testing that could show it to be false Each observation that contributes to the scientific body of knowledge be replicable or reliable It must be replicable meaning that it should occur under prescribed circumstances not once but repeatedly The Role of Theory Theory is a set of propositions meant to explain a class of phenomena- advance theories account for data by proposing cause-effect relationships Theories can play important role in guiding research by suggesting certain additional data be collected Theories permit generation of hypotheses: expectations about what should occur if a theory is true; tested in research The most challenging part of scientific enterprise is generating a theory In formulating a theory, scientists must often make use of theoretical concepts, unobservable stats or processes that are inferred from observable data Repression is a theoretical concept, which are inferred from observable data; can summarize already observed relationships; explains what has been observed; TC become mediators of relationships What criteria are applied in judging the legitimacy of the TC? o Operationism: each concept take as its meaning a single observable and measureable operation; each TC would be nothing more than one particular measureable event o If however, each TC is operationalized in only one way, its generality is lost o TC can be defined by sets of operations or effects: the behaviourphysiological effects are set of operations defining the TC (i.e. hand trembling; heart rate increases); better to do this rather than defining TC by single operation [The Research Methods of Abnormal Psychology] All empirical research entails collection of observable data o some research stays at descriptive level but often researchers observe several events and try to determine how they are associated or related www.notesolution.com
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