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Chapter 5

PSYB32_Chapter 5

8 Pages
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Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYB32H3
Professor
Konstantine Zakzanis

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Description
Chapter 5-Research Methods in the Study of Abnormal Behaviour Science and Scientific Methods  Science is the pursuit of systemized knowledge though observation Testability and Replicability  A scientific approach first requires that propositions and ideas be stated in a clear way  Only then can scientific claims be tested and subject to disproof  Whatever is observable must be replicable The Role of Theory  A Theory is a set of propositions meant to explain a class of phenomena  A primary goal in science is to advance theories to account for data, often proposing a cause-and-effect relation  A theory permits the generation of hypotheses—expectations about what is to occur if the theory is true—to be tested in research  It is sometimes asserted that a scientist formulates a theory simply by considering data that have been previously collected and then deciding that a given way of thinking about the data is the most economical and useful  Aspects not mentioned are creativity of the act and the excitement of finding a novel way to conceptualize things  Theories are constructions put together by scientists  In forming a theory scientists must often make theoretical concepts—unobservable states or processes that are inferred from data  It is useful because it can bridge temporal gaps, and summarize already observed relationships  In judging the legitimacy of a theoretical concept, the school of thought operationism proposed that each concept take as it’s meaning a single observable and measurable operation  This method made the concepts lose their generality  A more flexible position was born that a theoretical concept is a set of operations rather than a single operation Research Methods of Abnormal Psychology  Often researchers observe several events and try to determine how they are related  For example symptoms can be related to other characteristics such as gender or social class The Case Study  The case study has been used to: o Provide a detailed description of unusual phenomenon and of important methods or procedures of interviewing, diagnosis and treatment o Disconfirm allegedly universal aspects of a particular phenomenon o Generate hypotheses that can be tested through controlled research Providing a Detailed Description  Constant comparative method o Identification of relevant units of info (unitizing) o Placing the units into categories (categorization) o Providing organizational themes for info (identifying themes) The Case Study as Evidence  Case studies are useful when they negate a universal relationship or law  Case studies do not provide the means for ruling out alternative hypotheses Generating Hypotheses  Eventually they notice similarities of circumstances and outcomes and formulate important hypotheses  Some case studies are also informative about specific and unique manifestations of a disorder  The case study cannot form general laws to explain phenomena and it cannot provide evidence concerning cause-and-effect relationships Epidemiological Research  Epidemiology is the study of the frequency and distribution of a disorder in a population  Focuses on three factors of a disorder o Prevalence—the proportion of a population that has the disorder at a given time o Incidence—the number of new cases of the disorder that occur in the some period usually a year o Risk factors—conditions or variables that if present increase the likelihood of developing the disease  Knowing these three is important in planning health care facilities and services Early Risk Factors and Psychological Disorders in a Canadian Setting: The Role of Abuse  Parental mental disorder and severe abuse are the strongest risk factors  Canada has a child protection/”duty to report” legislation to reduce the long term negative consequences of abuse and neglect  There are much higher rates of abuse for Aboriginal children  There are many factors for the high rate: o Devastating impact of European contact o Distrust of outsiders  There is a strong association between spanking and prevalence of anxiety disorders, abuse of alcohol, and conduct disorder (undercontrolled disorders)  People’s inability or limited ability to recall experiences may have led to an underestimation of the prevalence of spanking  It is possible that specific adversities that occur in childhood do not result in specific disorders  Gender is also a risk factor for depression The Correlational Method  The Correlational method establishes if there is a relationship between two or more variables  In the correlational method the variables being studies are measured, in experimental research the variables are manipulated and controlled by the researcher Measuring Correlation  The first step in determining a correlation is to obtain pairs of observations of the variables in question  The strength of the relationship of the two observations can be calculated using the correlation coefficient denoted by the symbol r  May take a value between -1.00 and +1.00  The higher the value of r the stronger the relationship  If the sign of r is positive the two variables are said to be positively related: as values for X increase, those for Y also increase  If the sign of r is negative the two variables are said to be negatively related: as values for X increases, those for Y decrease  In perfect relationships all points fall on a straight line. If you know the value for one variable you can state the value for the other variable  Values tend to scatter increasingly as the correlation becomes lower Statistical Significance  Statistical significance refers to the likelihood that the results of a correlation or investigation are due to chance  A correlation is statistically significant if the probability that it is a chance finding is 5 or less (p=.05)  As the size of the correlation coefficient increases the result is more likely to be statistically significant  Whether a correlation is statistically significant also depends on the number of observations made, the greater the number of observations the smaller r has to be to be statistically significant Applications to Psychopathology  When the correlational method is used in psychopathology, one of the variables is typically diagnosis (classificatory)  Variables that are naturally occurring and are not manipulated by the researcher are called classificatory variables (age, height, diagnosis etc.)  Used in correlational method Problems of Causality  Correlation does not determine a cause and effect relationship  The directional problem—when two variables are correlated, how can you tell which is the cause and which is the effect?  Correlation does not imply causation, but causation does imply correlation. If a researcher asserts that one thing causes another, they MUST be correlated  One way of overcoming the directional problem is based on the idea that causes precede effects and studying the hypothesized causes before a disorder is developed  This is expensive however because so many people would have to be followed for a long period  High risk method overcomes this problem by only selecting individuals who have a higher risk of developing a disorder for the study  The third variable problem—the correlation may have been produced by a third, unforeseen factor  Psychpathologists are forced to use the correlational method because diagnosis is a classificatory variable (is not manipulated) and is best suited for this strategy The Experiment  The experiment is the most powerful tool for determining causal relationship between variables  In the field of psychopathology it is most often used to evaluate the effects of therap
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