Textbook Notes (369,099)
Canada (162,378)
Psychology (9,699)
PSYB32H3 (1,174)
Chapter 5

PSYB32_Chapter 5

8 Pages

Course Code
Konstantine Zakzanis

This preview shows pages 1,2 and half of page 3. Sign up to view the full 8 pages of the document.
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
More Less
Unlock Document

Only pages 1,2 and half of page 3 are available for preview. Some parts have been intentionally blurred.

Unlock Document
You're Reading a Preview

Unlock to view full version

Unlock Document

Log In


Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.