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Chapter 2

PsyB01 Chapter 2.doc

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Connie Boudens

Chapter 2: Where to Start HYPOTHESIS and PREDICTIONS A hypothesis is a tentative idea or question that is waiting for evidence to support or refute it. Data must be gathered and evaluated in terms of whether the evidence is consistent or inconsistent with the hypothesis the evidence/data you collect will either support or refute your hypothesis once it is proposed. Hypotheses are sometimes posed as informal research questions like “do males and females differ in their use of cell phones while driving?” these questions help researchers formulate a procedure for collecting data to answer the questions Those informal research questions can be reworded to sound more formal so the question sated above can be phrased as a hypothesis that states “there is a gender difference in use of cell phones while driving.” Basically what you’re doing in either case (question or formalized hypothesis) you are implying that two variables, in this gender and cell phone use while driving, are related After formulating the hypothesis, the researcher will design a study to test the hypothesis. At this point, the researcher would make a specific prediction concerning the outcome of this experiment. Going back to the aforementioned example, the prediction might be “men are more likely to use their cell phones while driving than women are” (duh! Women are way more responsible than me :P). If the prediction is confirmed, the hypothesis is supported, if not, then the researcher will either reject the hypothesis (believe that there is no difference in cell phone usage whilst driving b/w males and females) or conduct further research using different methods to study the hypothesis. **IMPORTANT: when research results confirm a prediction the hypothesis is only SUPPORTED NOT PROVEN Each time a hypothesis is supported by a research study ( you must test the hypothesis using a variety of methods) then we become more confident that the hypothesis is correct WHO WE STUDY: A NOTE ON TERMINOLOGY Participants refer to the individuals who participate in research projects, an equiv term in psychological research is subjects. The publication manual of the APA now allows the use o either participants or subjects when describing humans who take part in psychological research Respondents: people who take part in surveys Informants: people who help researchers understand the dynamics of particular cultural and organizational settings SOURCES OF IDEAS Common sense Common sense: the things we all believe to be true Testing commonsense ideas can be valuable b/c such notions don’t always turn out to be correct, basically the world is crazier than our idealistic, simplistic nature allows us to believe (in other words, research will show us that the real world is more complicated than our commonsense ideas would have it). Observation of the World Around us The curiosity sparked by observations and experiences can lead you to ask questions about diff phenomena Winogard and Soloway conducted a series of experiments based on the qyestion wh of whether it is a good idea to put things in special places. Their research demonstrated that people are likely to forget where they put something if two conditions are present • the location where the object is placed is judged to be highly memorable • the location is considered a very unlikely place for the object Basic consensusalthough you may think you’re being genius hiding something as golden like chocolate from a sibling in a place you know they’ll never look and that you think you’ll remember its generally not a good idea cuz you’ll most likely have a head banging on the wall moment trying to remember where your special hiding place is Serendipity: sometimes the most interesting discoveries are the result o accident or sheer luck (your discovery was a fluke!). Classical conditioning: a neutral stimulus (such as a hearing a melody like the power ranger theme song), if paired repeatedly with an unconditioned stimulus (FOOOD!!) that produces a reflex response (mouth watering aka salivation), will eventually produce the response when presented alone (so your mouth will start to water when you hear the power rangers theme song). Pavlov accidently discovered that dogs were salivating before they actually got food and then studied the ways that the stimuli preceding the feeding (which was a bell or something) could produce a salivation response. But you can only make these discoveries if you have an extremely curious mind and inquisitive eye. Theories A theory consists of a systematic body of ideas about a particular topic or phenomenon . They form a coherent and logically consistent structure that serves two important functions: • Theories organize and explain a variety of specific facts or descriptions of behaviour. These facts aren’t very meaningful on their own so theories impose a framework on them that makes the world more comprehensible by providing a few abstract concepts around which we can organize and explain a variety of behaviour • Theories generate new knowledge by focusing our thinking so we notice new aspects of behaviour – thye guide our observations of the world o Generates hypotheses abt behaviour (General) Theory is different from a hypothesis. A scientific theory consists of much more than just an idea, it is grounded in actual data prior to research as well as numerous hypotheses that are consistent with the theory. A theory becomes well established as it enables us to explain a lot of observable facts. Research may reveal a weakness in a theory when a hypothesis generated by the theory isn’t supported  theories can be modified to acct for new data when this happens. Past Research Becoming familiar with a body of research on a topic is perhaps the best way to generate ideas for new research; researchers can use the body of past literature on a topic to continually refine and expand our knowledge. Every study rasies questions that can be addressed in subsequent research  may lead to an attempt to apply the findings in diff settings, to study the topic w/ a diff age group, or to use diff methodology to replicate the results As you become familiar with research literature on a topic you may see inconsistencies in research results that need to be investigated or you want to study alternative explanations for the results. What you know about one area of research can be successfully applied to another (read the example about facilitated communication on p.24) Practical Problems Practical problems can have immediate applications. Researchers have guided public policy by conducting research on obesity, and eating disorder, and other social and health issues LIBRARY RESEARCH Investigator must have thoroughknowledge of previous research findings before conducting any research project  review of past studies will help the researcher clarify the idea and design the study. The nature of journals In journals, researchers publish their results of their investigations  after a research project has been completed, the study is written as a report which may be submitted to the editor of an appropriate journal who gets reviews on it from other scientists in the same field. From these reviews, the editor decides thether the report is to be accepted for publication  most papers get rejected due to lack of space in the journal/periodical Most psychology journals specialize in one or two areas of human or animal behaviour. It is impossible and impractical to read every journal on even a very specific research area in psycholohy Online Scholarly Research Data Bases: PsycINFO 1927- the APA began the monthly publication of Psych Abstracts, which are brief summaries of articles in psychology and related disciplines are indexed by topic area. These abstracts are maintained on the database PsycINFO which is updated weekly Conducting a PsycINO search The most important task is to specify the search terms you want the data base to use. The Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms lists all the standard terms used to index the abstracts. While using the thesaurus on psycINFO, you can check any term and then request a search of that ter. The default output includes citation info needed and the abstract itself. The output is organized into “fields” of info such as author(Au), title (TI) Source (SO), and abstract (AB). Systems are continually upgraded to enable users to obtain full-text articles more easily and find other articles on similar topics. The Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is helpful in finding full-text sources of the article When you do a simple search with a single word or a phrase, the default search yields articles that have that word or phrase anywhere in any of the fields listed  there are options to narrow down your search such as restricting it to “titles” only Most PsycINFO systems have advanced search screens that enable you to use the Boolean operators AND and OR and NOT: • The AND forces both conditions to be true for an article to be included • The OR operation is used to expand a search that is too narrow • The NOT operation will exclude abstracts based on a criterion y
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