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Chapter 2

PSYB10 - Chapter #2 Notes.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Elizabeth Page- Gould

Chapter #2 Notes: Why should you learn more About Research Methods? Doing Social Psychology Research:  Social psych is built on the scientific method Developing Ideas: Beginning the Research Process: Asking Questions:  Every study begins with a question Searching the Literature:  Electronic databases best  PsycArticles and PsycINFO are specific of psych literature  Treeing – going from article to articles (using article’s references) Hypotheses and Theories:  Hypothesis – an explicit, testable prediction about the conditions under which an event will occur  Theory – an organized set of principles used to explain observed phenomena o Usually evaluated in terms of 3 criteria: simplicity, comprehensiveness and their ability to generate new hypotheses (known as generativity) o Best theories are elegant and precise, sparking further research  Social psychology relies on “mini-theories” o Daryl Bem (1967, 1972) – self-perception theory, when people’s internal states, such as a feeling or attitude are difficult for them to interpret they infer this feeling or attitude by observing their own behaviour and the situation in which it takes place o A theory may be accurate but have little worth if it cannot be tested o The research it inspires may be more helpful that the theory itself  Debate is an essential feature Basic and Applied Research:  Basic research – seeks to increase our understanding of human behaviour and is often designed to test a specific hypothesis from a specific theory  Applied research – has a different purpose; to make use of social psychology’s theories or methods to enlarge our understanding of naturally occurring events and to contribute to the solution of social problems  Basic and applied research are closely connected Refining Ideas: Defining and Measuring Social Psychological Variables: Conceptual Variables and Operational Definitions: From the Abstract to the Specific:  When researcher first develops hypothesis variables are typically in and abstract, general form o These are conceptual variables (ex. prejudice, conformity, attraction, love, violence, group pressure and social anxiety)  In order to test hypothesis transform conceptual variables into variables than can be manipulated or measured in a study  Operational definition – the specific way in which the conceptual variable is manipulated or measured  no single best way to go from a conceptual to operational variable (lots of trial and error)  construct validity – extent to which: the manipulations in an experiment really manipulate conceptual variables they were designed to manipulate and the measure used in a study really measure the conceptual variables they were designed to measure Measuring Variables: Using-Self-Reports, Observations and Technology:  Ways to measure variables = 2 categories: self-reports and observations Self-Reports: Going Straight to the Source:  Collecting self-reports is widely used in social psych (specific answers to specific questions)  They can consist of ind questions or sets of questions that together measure a single conceptual variables  Popular self-report measure = Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale – consists of a set of questions that measures individuals’’ overall level of self-esteem  Research able to access an individual’s beliefs and perceptions  But not always accurate, can be misleading  “bogus pipeline” – participants who are led to believe their response will be verified by a lie- detector report facts about themselves more accurately o Does not exist, but it works telling people about it  Also affected by the wording/how question is asked  Inaccurate also b/c ask participants on thoughts/behaviours from the past o Fix this with: Interval-contingent self-reports – respondents report their experiences at regular intervals (usually once a day) o May also collect: signal-contingent self-reports – respondents report their experiences as soon as possible after being signalled to do so, usually by a beeper o Also: event-contingent self-reports – respondents report on a designated set of events as soon as possible after such events have occurred  Example: Rochester Interaction Record (RIR) – record every social interaction lasting 10 minutes or more that occurs during the course of the study (usually 1- 2 weeks(  Narrative studies – collect lengthy response on a general topic (can be taken from participant or through journals, diaries, etc) o Coding scheme Observations:  Interrater reliability – refers to the level of agreement among multiple observers of the same behaviour  advantage: avoid faulty interpretations of our own behaviours Technology:  functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans to provide researchers with visual images of activity in parts of the brain while the research participant is thinking, making decisions, responding to audio/visual stimuli Testing Ideas: Research Designs:  qualitative research - open-ended responses, observations and interviews  quantitative approach – where numerical data is collected in an objective, systematic and quantifiable way  Most preferred method = experimentation in which cause-and-effect relationships can be tested  Also used: correlational research – looks for associations b/w 2 variables without establishing cause and effect  Meta-analysis – integrates the research findings of many diff studies Descriptive Research: Discovering Trends and Tendencies:  Goal of descriptive research – to describe people and their thoughts, feelings and behaviours o Observing people, studying records of past event and behaviours and surveying people Observational Studies:  Watching people’s behaviour Archival Studies:  Examining existing records of past events and behaviours, such as newspaper articles, medical records, diaries, sports statistics, personal ads, crime stats or hits on a web page  Advantage: researchers observe info second hand, therefore no interference by them  Limitation: available records are not always complete or sufficiently detailed  Helpful for cultural and historical trends Surveys:  Increasingly popular in recent  Politics, to attitudes about social issues, percentages of women and men  Asking people about their attitudes, belief sand behaviours  Can be conducted in person, over the phone, by mail or via the Internet  May questions can be addressed with surveys only, ethics  Researchers must identify the population in which they are interested  Select a subset/sample of ind  Random sampling – method of selection in which everyone in a population has an equal chance
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