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Chapter 2

Chapter 2 - Research.doc

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University of Toronto St. George
Dax Urbszat

Chapter 2 - Research • In studying psychology, we are studying why people behave the way they do and what drives their actions • Ex. a boy wore a pink shirt on his first day of high school in grade 9 and was bullied and called gay. Two Grade 12 students heard about this and encouraged many people to wear pink shirts the next day; their action was an act against bullying and was celebrated and publicized o Psychological questions to ask are what drove the two grade 12 students to stand up against the bullying and how did these actions affect the grade 9 boy the next day; what was he thinking and feeling? • This chapter focuses on methods used in psychological research; what methods are best to use for behavioral research The Scientific Approach to Behavior Goals of the Scientific Enterprise: 3 goals 1. Measurement and description: find a way to measure the phenomenon under study (ex. find a way to measure emotional state or aggression) 2. Understanding and prediction: scientists want to be able to understand events by discovering the reasons for the occurrence. A hypothesis is used to evaluate their understanding about the relationship between variables. A variable are any measurable conditions under study. 3. Application and control: try to understand how the information they gather can be applied to everyday problems • To build towards the understanding of behavior a theory is created as a set of interrelated ideas that are used to explain observations • Theories allow us to jump from just the description to the understanding of behavior • A scientific theory must be testable and many hypothesis can come from one theory that are too complex to be studied all at once. When one or two hypothesis are tested, the outcome determines whether the theory must be revised or if confidence in the theory grows Steps in a scientific investigation • Steps are systematic; they follow a series of steps 1. Formulate a hypothesis: translate a theory into a scientific, testable hypothesis where the variables under study are clearly defined (as in, these variables have operational definitions: things that help to measure or control the variables under study) 2. Select a research method and design the study: how to put the hypothesis to the test by deciding what methods (ex. experiments, case study, survey etc.) are best for the hypothesis. Once it has been chosen, plans must be made on how to execute the test 3. Collect the data 4. Analyze the data and draw conclusions: all data is converted into number to run statistical analysis and find relationships between the data to collect information 5. Report the findings: publish the results by writing a report or paper to be published into a scientific journal • Two major advantages to the scientific method: 1. The results are clear and precise; specifies exactly what is being studied and tested 2. There is intolerance to error; people are critical of the data being test and many questions are asked before the data is worthy to be deemed reliable and true Experimental research • Type of research where scientists see how one variable affects another; the effect of the independent variable on the dependant variable (dependant variable is usually a measurement of some aspect of the participant’s behavior) • An experimental and control group is chosen; experimental group are subjects that receive different types of treatment whereas the control group receive the same treatments. The data collected by the experimental group is compared to the data from the control group • It is important that besides the effects of the independent variable on the dependant variable, the control and experimental groups are the same. They can’t always be exactly the same, so variables called extraneous variables are the ones that are made are similar in both groups (extraneous variables are ones besides the independent variable that are likely to affect the dependant variable) (a confounding of variables occurs when two variables are linked together in a way that makes it difficult to sort out their specific effects. Ex. when independent variable is mixed with extraneous variables) • Variations in designing experiments o Many ways to conduct an experiment: (one group is exposed to two conditions, or manipulate more than one independent variable in a single experiment, or use more than one dependant variable on a study) o Interaction: the effect of one variable depends on the effect of the other • Advantages: allows to evaluate the cause and effect relationship by isolating the dependant and independent variables and controlling for extraneous variables • Disadvantages: all the controlling for certain variables can make the experiment artificial; not really relevant to everyday life due to many other possible factors that could affect the results that are not accounted for in the experiment (ex. ethnic concerns – cannot control) Descriptive/Correlational Research • Type of study based on variables that cannot be manipulated; methods include natural observation, case studies, and surveys • They do not demonstrate the cause and effect relationship between variables • Naturalistic observation: the careful observation of behavior without interference with the subjects; behavior unfolds naturally in its natural environment – results are less artificial • Case study: investigation of one individual subject; method includes interviewing subjects and their close relatives, direct observation, examination of records, etc. • Survey: researchers use questionnaires or interviews to gather information about specific aspects of participants’ behavior (ex. a survey is taken of the amount of people to vote for a certain party in a federal election) • The main disadvantage is that we cannot control for the effects to isolate the cause and effect of some external variables • Correlational studies: used to assess relationships between diff
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