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Chapter 2

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CH.2 Methodology – How social psychologists do research - Hindsight – whereby people exaggerate how much they could have predicted an outcome after knowing that it occurred - Social psych is an empirical science – methods include – observational method, corelational method and the experimental method - Science is a cumulative process, and researchers typically generate hypothesis from previous research - Theory – an organized set of principles that can be used to explain observed phenomena - Hypothesis – a testable statement or idea about the relationship between two or more variables - Theory is not the only way to deprive a new hypothesis in social psych – researchers often observe a phenomena in everyday life - Case of Kitty Genovese - bystander effect or "Genovese syndrome” – Genovese was attacked and brutely murdered, the attack lasted 45 minutes – 38 people witnessed the attack and none of them intervened or called the police - The researchers predicted that the more people who witness an emergency, the less likely it is that any given individual will intervene = diffusion of responsibility - Observational method – the technique whereby a researcher observes people and systematically records measurements of their behaviour (e.g. wasit-pouch microphone) - at one extreme, the observer neither participates nor intervenes in any way; instead the observer is unobstructive and tires to blend in with the scenery as much as possible - disadvantage – people change their behaviour when they are being observed - operational definition – the precise specification of how variables are measured - some situations require researchers to interact with the people being observed – ethnography - ethnography – the method by which researchers attempt to understand a group or culture by observing it from the inside without imposing any preconceived notions they have - the goal is to understand the richness and complexity of the group by observing it in action - ethnography is the main method of cultural anthropology – the study of human cultures and societies - interjudge reliability - the level of agreement b/w two or more people who independently observe and code a set of data; by showing that two or more judges independently come up with the same observations, researchers ensure that the observation are not the subjective impressions of one individual - archival analysis a form of the observational method whereby the researcher examines the accumulated documents (or achieves) of a culture (e.g. diaries, novels, magazines, and newspapers) - archival analysis is a powerful form of observational method because it allows a unique look at the values and interests of a culture - Correlational method –the technique whereby researchers systemically measure two or more variables and assess the relation between them (ie. How much one can be predicted from the other) - Positive correlation (+) – means that increases in the value of one variable are associated with increases in the value of the other variable (e.g. as height increases, weight increases ) - Negative correlation (-) – means that increases in the value of one variable are asosicated with decreases in the value of the other - Correlation coefficients are expressed as numbers that can range from -1.00 to +1.00 - +1.00 correlation means a perfect positive correlation whereas -1.00 – perfect negative correlation - Surveys – research in which a representative sample of people are asked questions about their attitudes or behaviour - Surveys are a convenient way of measuring people’s attitudes = people can be telephones and easily asked survey questions - Researchers often apply the correlational method to survey results, to predict how people responses to one question predict their other responses - Advantages of surveys – allows researchers to judge the relationship b/w variables that are often difficult to observe, and surveys have the ability to sample representatives segments of the population - Researchers select samples that are representative of the population on a number of characteristics important to a given research question (age, education, religion, gender) - Random selection – a way of ensuring that a sample of people is representative of a population, by giving everyone in the population an equal chance of being selected for the sample - The only way to determine causal relations is with the experimental method - The Correlational method is extremely useful
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