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PSYC21H3 (41)
Chapter 2

CHAPTER 2 .docx

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David Haley

CHAPTER 2 – Research Methods: Tools for Discovery Getting Started: Formulating Hypotheses, Asking Questions - research starts w/ ideas –can derive from theory, previous research, observations of behaviour, or even from old wives’ tales  should be sensible, innovative, and important - between good idea and good study are # of steps:  translate general idea into clear research hypotheses or questions  find question or questions that can be answered w/ empirical data  find out about past work on topic (search engine: PsycINFO)  operationalization (defining concept that is observable and measureable) of ideas or constructs (idea or concept, especially a complex one such as aggression or love) to be studied by translating into empirical assessable forms  familiar w/ tasks and procedures other investigators used  make decision about research designs, methods, samples, and analyses Research Methods: Establishing Patterns and Causes The Correlational Method - determines whether two things are related to each other in a regular and systematic way and finding out how strongly they’re related - correlation doesn’t mean causation  why use it then?  can’t always design suitable experiment to study our question  understanding causal processes isn’t only goal - correlational coefficient: numerical estimate of how closely two variables related and direction which they are Laboratory Experiments - primary way to investigate causal connections between environmental events and child’s social behaviour=using experiments - hold constant (equate) every possible factor except on have hypothesized will influence behaviour they’re studying  assign to group randomly=eliminate possibility that ppl in groups differ in systematic way=distort results  experimental group: exposed to proposed causal factor, control group: don’t receive this experience - independent variable: factor that researchers deliberately manipulate in an experiment - dependent variable: factor that researchers expect to change as function of change in independent variable - ecological validity: degree to which research study accurately represents events or processes that occur in real world - laboratory analogue experiment: researchers try to duplicate in laboratory features or events that occur naturally in everyday life in order to increase ecological validity of results Field Experiments, Interventions, and Natural Experiments FIELD EXPERIMENTS - researchers deliberately create change in real-world setting then measure outcome of their manipulation - limit observer bias: observer’s tendency to be influenced by knowledge about research design or hypothesis - advantage of this over laboratory experiments results can be more easily generalized to real life INTERVENTIONS - program provided to improve a situation or relieve psychological illness or distress NATURAL EXPERIMENTS - researchers measure results of events that occur naturally in the real world - more ecological validity, independent and dependent variable can’t be controlled, no random assignment Combining Different Methods - each can play role in helping - often start in unexplored area by using correlational method to simply establish a possible relation - among laboratory, field, and natural experiments there’s often a trade-off between control of variables and ecological validity  figure 2.1, p.44: combining field-and-lab designs The Case Study Approach - investigators study an individual person or group intensely - focus is single individual or small group of individuals - explore phenomena not often encountered - facilitate more intensive investigation, rich details - impossibility of generalizing one individual to another in other settings Studying Change Over Time THE CROSS-SECTIONAL DESIGN - compare groups of individuals of different age lvls at approximately same point in time - yields no info about causes behind age-related changes - doesn’t establish that the differences are strictly related to their ages  to avoid this, should repeat their comparisons w/ other samples of children at later dates THE LONGITUDINAL DESIGN - investigators follow same people over period of time, observing them repeatedly - # of advantages  allow research to follow children’s development over time  study whether children’s behaviour patterns are stable  explore possible causes of changes in behaviour over time –figure 2.2, p.46 - # of disadvantages  may take years to collect  losing participants  may not be representative of general population anymore  not very flexible  practice effects  findings may be only descriptive of particular age cohort=lose relevance as times change THE SEQUENTIAL DESIGN - way of studying change over time that combines features of both cross-sectional and longitudinal designs –figure 2.3, p.48 - several advantages  examine age-related changes and look at stability of individual differences  examine practice effects  following different age cohorts=explore generational effects  saves time - table 2.1, p.49 Selecting a Sample REPRESENTATIVENESS OF THE SAMPLE - sample in which participants are drawn from strata or categories in same proportion as found in larger population - when have multiple samples and several researchers draw similar conclusions=more confidence in findings - take care in drawing conclusions from restricted sample THE NATIONAL SURVEY APPROACH - select large, nationally representative group of participants - stratified sampling strategy often used to ensure boys/girls/individuals from diff. socioeconomic groups represented in same proportion as exist in general population - in effort to include minority, use strategy of ‘oversampling’=higher rates than proportion in population - disadvantages  cost in time and labour  not well suited in answering questions about psychological processes underlying social development to study this can examine smaller subsample in combo w/ national survey META-ANALYSIS: COMBINING RESULTS ACROSS STUDIES - statistical technique that allows researcher to summarize results of many studies on particular topic and draw conclusions about size and replicabiliy of observed differences or associations - effect size: estimate of magnitude of difference between groups or strength of association between factors, averaged across studies in meta-analysis - accuracy of estimate limited by samples in individual studies STUDYING DEVELOPMENT CROSS-CULTURALLY - can find out if behaviour pattern is universal or different - often difficult and expensive to conduct - successful studies benefit from participation of cultural informants Gathering Data Children’s Self-Reports - info that ppl provide about themselves, typically answering set of questions - difficult less attentive, slower to respond, have more trouble understanding question - some types of info difficult to obtain any other way; may be more limited, but no less honest - can ask children to provide narrative descriptions of activities over recent past (e.g., recent social events)  very time consuming, often don’t represent all of interpersonal exchanges - experience sampling method (ESM): data collection strategy by which participants signaled at random imes throughout the day and record answers to researchers’ questions –also called “beeper” method  figure 2
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