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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYB01H3
Professor
Anna Nagy
Semester
Fall

Description
1Chapter 1Scientific Understanding of BehaviourUses of Research MethodsMany occupations require the use of research findings eg people who work in business environments rely on research to make decisions about marketing strategies ways of improving productivity and moraleIt is important to recognize that scientific research has become increasingly important in public policy decisionsResearch is also important when developing and assessing the effectiveness of programs designed to achieve certain goalsThe Scientific Approach The Limitations of Intuition and AuthorityWhen you rely on intuition you accept unquestioningly what your own personal judgment or a single story about one persons experience tells you about the worldA problem with intuition is that numerous cognitive and motivational biases affect our perceptions and so we may draw erroneous conclusions about cause and effect Illusory correlation is a cognitive bias that occurs when we focus on two events that stand out and occur together we think two events have a causal connection when they do not AuthorityMany people are all too ready to accept anything they learn from authority figures eg news media books government officials religious figures because they believe that the statements of such authorities must be trueThe scientific approach rejects the notion that one can accept on faith the statements of any authoritySkepticism Science and the Empirical ApproachScientific skepticism means that ideas must be evaluated on the basis of careful logic and results from scientific investigationsThe fundamental characteristic of the scientific method is empiricismknowledge is based on observationsGoodstein describes an evolved theory of science that defines the characteristics of scientific inquiry o Scientists make observations that are accurately reported to other scientists and the public others can replicate the method and obtain the same results o Scientists search for observations that will verify their ideas about the world o Science flourishes when there is an open system for the exchange of ideaso Before a study is published in a scientific publication it must be reviewed by peers other scientists who have the expertise to carefully evaluate the research and recommend whether the research should be publishedFalsifiability is when a theory or idea is falsified proven false by data Integrating Intuition Skepticism and Authority The advantage of the scientific approach over other ways of knowing about the world is that it provides an objective set of rules for gathering evaluating and reporting information 2 Intuition and authority are still important because scientists often rely on them for ideas for researchThere is nothing wrong with accepting the assertions of authorities or having opinions or beliefs as long as they are not accepted as scientific evidence Pseudoscientists are people who use scientific terms to substantiate their claimsGoals of ScienceScientific research has four general goals to describe behaviour to predict behaviour to determine the causes of behaviour and to understand or explain behaviour Description of BehaviourResearchers are often interested in describing the ways in which events are systematically related to one another Prediction of BehaviourOnce it has been observed with some regularity that two events are systematically related to one another it becomes possible to make predictionsOne implication of this process is that it allows us to anticipate events which could help us make better decisionsDetermining the Causes of BehaviourAlthough researchers might accurately predict the occurrence of a behaviour they might not have identified its causeTo know how to change behaviour you must know the causes of behaviourCook and Campbell describe three types of evidence used to identify the cause of a behaviour o Temporal precedence which is when the cause precedes the effect o Covariation of the cause and effect which means that when the cause is present the effect occurs when the cause is not present the effect does not occuro Elimination of alternative explanations which means that nothing other than a causal variable could be responsible for the observed effect Explanation of BehaviourA final goal of science is to explain the events that have been described and to understand why the behaviour occursDetermining cause and explaining behaviour are particularly closely related because it is difficult to know the true cause or all the causes of any behaviour an explanation that appears satisfactory may turn out to be inadequate when other causes are identified in subsequent researchBasic and Applied Research Basic ResearchBasic research tries to answer fundamental questions about the nature of behaviour eg cognition emotion motivation learning 3Applied ResearchApplied research is conducted to address issues in which there are practical problems and potential solutions Program evaluation research evaluates the social reforms and innovations that occur in government education the criminal justice system industry health care and mental health institutions Campbell noted that social programs are really experiments designed to achieve certain outcomes and argued that social scientists should evaluate each program to determine whether it is having its intended effect if not alternative programs should be tried Much applied research is conducted in settings such as business firms marketing research companies government agencies and is not published but is used within the company or by clients of the companyComparing Basic and Applied ResearchBoth basic and applied research are important and neither can be considered superior to the otherProgress in science is dependent on a synergy between basic and applied research In recent years many in our society including legislators who control the budgets of researchgranting agencies of the government have demanded that research be directly relevant to specific social issues o The problem with this attitude toward research is that we can never predict the ultimate application of basic research research with no apparent practical value ultimately can be very useful Behavioural research is important in many fields and has significant application to public policyChapter 2Where to StartThe motivation to conduct scientific research derives from a natural curiosity about the world Hypotheses and PredictionsA hypothesis is a type of idea or question it makes a statement about something that may be trueThus it is a tentative idea or question that is waiting for evidence to support or refute itOnce the hypothesis is proposed data must be gathered and evaluated in terms of whether the evidence is consistent or inconsistent with the hypothesis After designing a study to test the hypothesis the researcher would make a specific prediction concerning the outcome of the experimentWhen the results of a study confirm a prediction the hypothesis is only supported not proven Who do we Study a Note on Terminology Participants or subjects refer to the individuals who participate in research projectsRespondents are the individuals who take part in survey researchInformants are the people who help researchers understand the dynamics of a particular cultural and organizational settings Source of Ideas Common SenseTesting a commonsense idea can be valuable because such notions dont always turn out to be correct or research may show that the world is much more complicated than our common sense leads us to believe
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