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Textbook Notes – Week 2.pdf

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Ashley Waggoner Denton

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PSY100   Textbook  Notes  –  Week  2     Ch.  2:  pp.  35  –  77,  (research  methods)     What  Is  Scientific  Inquiry?     • A  way  of  finding  answers  to  empirical  questions  –  questions  that  can  be   answered  by  observing  the  world  and  measuring  aspects  of  it.  Four  goals:   1. Describe  what  happens   2. Predicting  when  it  happens   3. Controlling  what  causes  it  to  happen   4. Explaining  why  it  happens   • Scientific  method:  a  systematic  procedure  of  observing  and  measuring   phenomena  to  answer  questions  about  what  happens,  when  it  happens,  what   causes  it,  and  why.  Has  three  essential  elements:   1. Theory:  model  of  interconnected  ideas  and  concepts  that  explain   what  is  observed  and  makes  predictions  about  future  events   2. Hypothesis:  a  specific  prediction  of  what  should  be  observed  in  the   world  if  a  theory  is  correct   3. Research:  scientific  process  that  involves  the  systematic  and   careful  collection  of  data,  (objective  observations  or   measurements)   • Replication:  repetition  of  an  experiment  to  confirm  the  results     THEORIES  SHOULD  GENERATE  HYPOTHESES:     • A  good  theory  produces  a  wide  variety  of  testable  hypotheses   • Without  a  variety  of  testable  hypotheses,  it  becomes  difficult  to  empirically   verify  the  validity  of  the  theory     UNEXPECTED  FINDINGS  CAN  BE  VALUABLE:     • Unexpected  findings  can  lead  to  new  theories,  or  can  contribute  to  other   research,  etc     What  Are  the  Types  of  Studies  in  Psychological  Research?     • There  are  three  main  types  of  designs:   1. Descriptive   2. Correlational   3. Experimental   • All  research  involves  variables,  variables  are  something  in  the  world  that  can   be  measured  and  that  can  vary,  variables  can  be  measured  or  manipulated   • Operational  definitions:  identify  and  quantify  variables  so  they  can  be   measured   PSY100   DESCRIPTIVE  STUDIES:     • Descriptive  studies  involve  observing  and  classifying  behaviour   • Sometimes  called  observational  studies,  data  collection  methods  involve   observing  and  noting  behaviour  to  analyze  it  objectively   • Two  basic  types  of  descriptive  studies:   1. Naturalistic  observation:  a  passive  study  in  which  observers  do   not  change  or  alter  ongoing  behaviour   2. Participant  observation:  a  study  in  which  the  researcher  is  actively   involved  in  the  situation   • Advantages:   o Valuable  in  the  early  stages  of  research,  when  trying  to  determine   whether  a  phenomenon  exists   o Takes  place  in  a  real-­‐world  setting   • Disadvantages:   o Errors  in  observation  can  occur  because  of  an  observer’s  expectations,   (observer  bias)   o Observer’s  presence  can  change  the  behaviour  being  witnessed,   (reactivity)     • Longitudinal  Studies:  Observing  and  classifying  developmental  changes   that  occur  in  the  same  people  over  time,  either  with  no  intervention  by  the   observer  or  with  intervention  by  the  observer,  (comparing  someone  at  age   20,  and  again  at  age  40)   • Advantages:   o Provide  information  about  the  effects  of  age  on  the  same  people   o Allows  researchers  to  see  developmental  changes   • Disadvantages   o Expensive     o Take  a  long  time,  and  risk  losing  participants  over  time     • Cross-­‐sectional  studies:  observing  and  classifying  developmental  changes   that  occur  in  different  groups  of  people  at  the  same  time,  (comparing  current   20  year  olds,  with  other  current  40  year  olds)   • Advantages:     o Faster  and  less  expensive  than  longitudinal  studies   • Disadvantages:   o Unidentified  variables  may  be  involved,  (third  variable  problem)     Observer  Bias:   • Systematic  errors  in  observation  that  occur  because  of  an  observer’s   expectations   • Experimenter  expectancy  effect:  actual  change  in  the  behaviour  of  the  people   or  animals  being  observed  due  to  the  observer  bias     PSY100   CORRELATIONAL  STUDIES:     • Correlational  designs  examine  how  variables  are  related   • Research  method  that  examines  how  variables  are  naturally  related  in  the   real  world,  without  any  attempt  by  the  researcher  to  alter  them   • Rely  on  naturally  occurring  relationships   • Can  be  used  to  determine  if  two  variables  are  associated  with  each  other   • Advantages:   o Rely  on  naturally  occurring  relationships   o May  take  place  in  a  real-­‐world  setting   • Disadvantages   o Cannot  be  used  to  support  causal  relationships,  (that  one  thing   happened  because  of  the  other)   o Cannot  show  the  direction  of  the  cause/effect  relationship  between   variables,  (directionality  problem)   o An  unidentified  variable  may  be  involved,  (the  third  variable   problem)     EXPERIMENTAL  STUDIES:     • An  experiment  involves  manipulating  conditions   • Researcher  manipulates  one  variable  to  examine  that  variable’s  effect  on  a   second  variable   • Control  group:  the  participants  in  a  study  that  receive  no  intervention  or  an   intervention  different  from  the  one  being  studied   • Experimental  group:  the  participants  in  a  study  that  receive  the  intervention   • Independent  variable:  the  condition  that  is  manipulated  by  the  experimenter   to  examine  its  impact  on  the  dependent  variable   • Dependent  variable:  the  measure  that  is  affected  by  manipulation  of  the   independent  variable   • A  properly  performed  experiment  depends  on  rigorous  control,  the  steps   taken  to  minimize  the  possibility  that  anything  other  than  the  independent   variable  may  affect  the  experiment’s  outcome   • Confound:  anything  that  affects  a  dependent  variable  and  may   unintentionally  vary  between  the  experimental  conditions  of  a  study   • Advantages:   o Researcher  can  study  the  causal  relationship  between  the  two   variables   o Avoids  the  directionality  problem   o Can  rule  out  alternative  explanations   • Disadvantages   o Criticized  for  being  “artificial”         PSY100   Random  Assignment  Is  Used  to  Establish  Equivalent  Groups     • Psychological  scientists  typically  want  to  know  that  their  findings  generalize,   or  apply,  to  people  beyond  the  individuals  in  the  study   • Population:  everyone  in  the  group  the  experimenter  is  interested  in   • Sample:  a  subset  of  the  population,  the  people  who  are  studied   • Sampling  is  the  process  by  which  people  from  the  population  are  selected  for   the  sample   o Sample  should  represent  the  population   o Random  Sampling:  best  method  for  selection,  each  member  of  the   population  has  an  equal  chance  of  being  chosen  to  participate   o Convenience  Sampling:  a  sample  of  people  who  are  conveniently   available  for  the  study   • For  many  topics,  (sex  differences,  personality  structure),  results  generalize   well  regardless  of  sample,  for  other  topics,  (Mueller-­‐Lyer  illusion,  and  the   self-­‐concept),  results  obtained  from  one  sample  do  not  replicate  in  other   samples   • Selection  Bias:  when  participants  in  different  groups  in  an  experiment  differ   systematically,  (one  group  could  be  noticeably  older  than  the  other,  and  thus   age  could  impact  the  dependent  variable  inadvertently)   • Random  Assignment:  the  procedure  for  placing  research  participants  into  the   conditions  of  an  experiment  in  which  each  participant  has  an  equal  chance  of   being  assigned  to  nay  level  of  the  independent  variable.  Balances  out  known   and  unknown  factors   • Meta-­‐analysis:  a  “study  of  studies”  that  combines  the  findings  of  multiple   studies  to  arrive  at  a  conclusion   o Do  not  just  add  up  and  average  the  conclusions  of  all  pertinent   studies;  they  would  weigh  more  heavily  those  studies  that  had  larger   samples,  because  large  samples  are  more  likely  to  provide  more   accurate  reflections  of  what  is  true  in  populations   o Also  looks  at  the  size  of  each  effect,  whether  each  study  found  a  large,   small,  or  no  difference   o Combines  multiple  separate  studies,  therefore  people  believe  they   provide  stronger  evidence  than  the  results  of  any  single  study   o Meta-­‐analysis  has  the  concept  of  replication  built  into  it     WHAT  ARE  THE  DATA  COLLECTION  METHODS  OF  PSYCHOLOGICAL  SCIENCE?     • The  data  collection  method  used  must  be  appropriate  for  questions  at  that   level  of  analysis   • At  the  biological  level,  data  would  be  about  brain  processes  and  hormone   levels,  brain  imaging  or  blood  work  may  be  used   • At  the  individual  level,  data  would  be  about  individual  differences  in   responses,  researchers  could  questions  participants  or  use  indirect   assessments,  such  as  observation   PSY100   • At  the  social  level,  data  would  be  about  a  single  culture  and  how  they   interact.   • At  the  cultural  level,  researchers  could  comparatively  view  two  different   cultures  as  a  way  of  determining  the  effect  of  culture  on  some  variable   • Culturally  sensitive  research:  studies  that  take  into  account  the  ways  culture   affects  thoughts,  feelings,  and  actions   o Some  psychological  traits  are  the  same  across  all  cultures,  (caring  for   the  young),  whereas  others  differ  widely  across  culture,  (behaviours   expected  of  adolescents)   • Cross-­‐Cultural  Studies:  compare  groups  of  people  from  different  cultures   o Advantages:    Examine  the  effect  of  culture  on  some  variable  of  interest,   thereby  making  psychology  more  applicable  around  the  world   Disadvantages:    Some  situations  and  some  specific  words  do  not  convey  the   same  meaning  when  translated  across  cultures  and  can  leave   room  for  alternative  explanations,  (other  than  culture  per  se),   such  as  misunderstanding  during  the  research  process     Observing  Is  an  Unobtrusive  Strategy     • Observational  techniques
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