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Chapter 2

Chapter 2 – Research Methodology.docx

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSY100H1
Professor
Dan Dolderman
Semester
Fall

Description
Chapter 2 – Research Methodology Scientific inquiry = a way of finding answers to empirical questions – questions that can be answered by observing the world and measuring aspects of it. 4 basic goals: 1. Describing 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. Reflects a dynamic interaction among 3 essential elements: 1) Theories = models of interconnected ideas and concepts that explains what is observed and makes predictions about the future 2) Hypotheses = specific predictions 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) A good theory produces a wide variety of testable hypotheses. 3 main types of study designs: 1) Descriptive 2) Correlational 3) Experimental The designs differ in the extent to which the researcher has control over the variables in the study and therefore in the extent to which the researcher can make conclusions about causation. A variable = something in the world that can be measured and that can vary; it can refer to something that the experiment either measures or manipulates. Descriptive Studies >> Involves observing and classifying behavior Descriptive studies, often called observational studies, involve observing and noting behavior to analyze objectively. Advantages: - Especially valuable in early stages of research, when trying to determine if a phenomena exists - Takes place in a real-world setting Disadvantages: -Errors in observation can occur because of an observer’s expectations (observer bias) - Observer’s presence can change the behavior being witnessed (reactivity) 2 basic types of observation: 1) Naturalistic observation – the observer remains separate from and makes no attempt to change the situation 2) Participant observation – the researcher is involved in the situation. Longitudinal Studies >> Involves 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. Advantages: - Provide information about the effects of age on the same people, allowing researchers to see developmental changes Disadvantages: - Expensive - Takes a long time - May lose participants over time Cross-sectional Studies >> Involves assessing the intellectual abilities of young adults and old adults and comparing their scores on various measures of intellectual ability. Advantages: - Faster and less expensive than longitudinal studies Disadvantages: - Includes the possibility that some unidentified variable is responsible for any difference between the groups. Errors Observer bias = systematic errors in observation that occur because of an observer’s expectations. Observer bias can be especially problematic if cultural norms favor inhibiting or expressing certain behaviors. Cultural norms can affect both the participants’ actions and the way the observers perceive those actions. Experimenter expectancy effect = when observer bias changes the behavior being observed. To avoid experimenter expectancy effects, the person running the experiment must be blind to or unaware of the study’s hypotheses. Correlational Studies >> Examines how variables are naturally related in the real world, without any attempt by the researcher to alter them. Advantages: - Relies on naturally occurring relationships. - May take place in a real-world setting Disadvantages: - Cannot be used to support causal relationships (that one thing happened to the other) - Cannot show the direction of the cause/effect relationship between variables (directionality problem) - An unidentified variable may be involved (the third variable problem) Terms Experiment = A study that tests causal hypotheses made by measuring and manipulating variables. Control (or comparison group) = The participants in a study that receive no intervention or an intervention different from the one being studied. Experimental (or treatment) group = the participants in a study that receive the intervention. Independent variable = In an experiment, the condition that is manipulated by the experimenter to examine its impact on the dependent variable. Dependent variable = In an experiment, the measure that is affected by manipulation of the independent variable. Confound = anything that affects a dependent variable and may unintentionally vary between the experimental conditions of a study. Population = Everyone in the group the experimenter is interested in. Sample = a subset of a population. Selection bias = When participants in different groups in an experiment differ systematically. 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 any level of the independent variable; used when the experimenter wants to test a causal hypothesis. Meta-analysis = A “study of studies” that combines the findings of multiple studies to arrive at a conclusion. Culturally sensitive research = studies that take into account the ways culture affects thoughts, feelings and actions. Experimenta
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