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Chapter 2

Chapter 2 - Where to Start-1.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Anna Nagy

Chapter 2: Where to Start - Motivation to conduct scientific research derives from a natural curiosity about the world Hypothesis and Predictions - Hypothesis: tentative idea or question that is waiting for evidence to support or refute it o Scientific research attempt to test hypothesizes - A type of idea or question; is makes a statement about something that may be true - Next the researcher will design a study to test the hypothesis - Data must be collected and evaluated in terms of whether the evidence is consistent or inconsistent with the hypothesis - Next the researcher makes a prediction, a statement that makes an assertion concerning what will occur in a particular research investigation o If the statement is confirmed = hypothesis is supported, if not = hypothesis rejected or conduct further research using different methods to study the hypothesis - When the results of a study confirm a predication the hypothesis is only supported not proven Who we study: A Note on Terminology - Participants/subjects: the individuals that participate in research projects - Publication Manual of the American Psychological recommends participants when describing humans who take part - Respondents: those who take part in survey research - Informants: people who help the researchers understand the dynamics of particular cultural and organizational settings [originated in anthropology] Sources of Ideas 5 sources of Ideas: common sense, observation of the world around us, theories, past research, practical problems Common Sense o the things we believe to be true o asking questions can lead to research programs o testing these ideas can prove these notions to be wrong or too simplified o conducting research to test commonsense ideas often forces s to go beyond a commonsense theory of behaviour Observation of the World Around US o curiousity sparked by our observations/experiences can lead to asking questions about all sorts of phenomena o often what cause students to engage in their first research project o diverse ideas can come about o world around us is a rich source of material for scientific invesitigation o serendipity: sometimes the most interesting ideas are those that are result of accident  Pavlov, classical conditioning [was studying something else initially] Theories 1. Organize and explanin a variety of specific facts or descriptions of behaviour o impose a framework on these facts/descriptions by providing a few abstract concepts around which we can organize/explain beh [memory >short/long term 2. Generate new knowledge by focusing our thinking so that we notice new aspects of beh o Theories guide our observations of the world o Theory = hypothesis = research = more information o A scientific theory is grounded is actual data: observations made and testable hypo  When supported by lots of observable facts then it is not just a idea  Research may reveal weaknesses in a theory > new/modify theory  Example: Evolutionary theory Past Research o getting familiar with a body of work with a good way of generating ideas for research o help refine and expand knowledge o can see inconsistencies in past research [example: facilitator communication] Practical Problems o research is stimulated by practical problems that can have immediate applications 
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