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PSY100- chp 2 notes.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Dan Dolderman

PSY100 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY CHAPTER 2 - Systematic: method that proceeds in orderly steps that are carefully planned - Phenomena- things that can be observed (singular is phenomenon) - Scientific Inquiry: a way of finding answers to empirical questions- question that can be answered y observing the world and measuring aspects of it o Has four basic goals: describing what happens, predicting when it happens, controlling what causes it to happen, and 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 o Method reflects interaction among (3) essential elements: o Theories: A model of interconnected ideas and concepts that explains what is observed and makes predictions about future events o Hypotheses: A specific prediction of what should be observed in the world if a theory is correct o Research: Scientific process that involves the systematic and careful collection of data (objective observations or measurements) FIGURE 2.1 - Replication: Repetition of an experiment to confirm the results Theories Should Generate Hypotheses - A good theory produces a wide variety of testable hypotheses - E.g. Jean Piaget’s theory of infant child development and how cognitive development occurs in a fixed series of “stages’ from birth to adolescence (lead to number of hypotheses) - Many significant findings are the result of serendipity – when researchers unexpectedly discover something important Types of Studies in Psychological Research - Three main types of design: descriptive, correlational, and experimental - All research involves variables – something in the world that can be measured an that can vary - Researchers must define variables in precise ways that reflect the methods used to access them through operational definitions – identify and quantify variables so they can be measured Descriptive Studies involve observing and Classifying Behavior - Descriptive Studies (observational studies) – because of manner in which the data is collected, involve observing and noting behavior to analyze it objectively o Two types of Descriptive Studies: o Naturalistic Observation: A passive descriptive study in which observers do not change or alter ongoing behavior o Participant Observation: A type of descriptive study in which the researcher is actively involved in the situation o Observers need to keep their objectivity and minimize their impact on a situation (not announce their objective so that behavior isn’t altered) - Longitudinal Studies: examine the developmental changes that occur over time- sometimes with the goal of watching changes unfold naturally as in a descriptive design, but other times to see how different interventions affect future development o Eg. Assessing the intelligence of adults every 5 years - Observer Bias: systematic errors in observation that occur because of an observers expectations o Can be problematic if cultural norms favor inhibiting or expressing certain behaviors o Cultural norms can affect both the participants’ actions and the way observers perceive those actions - Experimenter Expectancy Effect: Actual change in the behavior of the people of animals being observed that Is due to observer bias - evidence indicate that observer bias can even change the behavior being observed o Certain beliefs unconsciously affect behavior (eg. If you are told your rat in an experiment was bred with more skills, you will treat it different and with more care unconsciously) Correlational Designs Examine How Variables Are Related - Correlational Study: A research method hat examines how variables are naturally related in the real world, without any attempt by the researcher to alter them o Popular research designs because they rely on naturally occurring relationships o Studies done to determine if the two variables are relate to each other, a connection that enables the researchers to make predictions o Problem with knowing the direction of the cause/effect relation between variables known as Directionality Problem: when researchers find a relationship between two variables in a correlational study, they cannot determine which variable may have caused changes in the other variable o Another problem is the Third Variable Problem: when the experimenter cannot directly manipulate the independent variable and therefore cannot be confident that another, unmeasured variable is not the actual cause of differences in the dependent variable - researchers who use correlational study use other statistical procedures to rule out potential third variables and problems with the direction of the effect - by showing that a relationship between two variables holds even when potential third variables are taken into account, researchers can be more confident that the relationship is meaningful An Experiment Involves Manipulating Conditions - Experiment: a study that tests casual hypotheses 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 o Benefit is that the researcher can study the casual relationship between the two variables o If the independent variable influences the dependent variable consistently, then the independent variable is assumed to cause the change in the dependent variable - Confound: anything that affects a dependent variable and may unintentionally vary between the experiment conditions of a study o Researchers need to ensure that the only thing that varies is the independent variable o The more confounds and thus alternative explanations that can be eliminated, the more confident a researcher can be that the independent variable produced the change or effect in the dependent variable Random Assignment is used to Establish Equivalent Groups - Population: everyone in the group the experimenter is interested in - Sample: a subset of a population o Should represent the population (best way is to do random sampling- each member of the population has an equal chance of being chosen to participate) o Convenience Sample- a sample of people who are conveniently available for the study o Selection Bias: when participants in different groups in an experiment differ systematically  Can never be sure that you have assessed all possible factors that may differ between groups. Only way to make the groups’ equivalency more likely is to use 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 ay level of independent variable Meta-analysis: a “study of studies: that combines the findings of multiple studies to arrive at a conclusion o Many studies addressed in the same issue are combined and summarized in one “study of studies” o Larger samples are more likely to provide more accurate reflections of what is
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