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Chapter Three Summary.docx

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Department
Psychology
Course
Psychology 2075
Professor
William Fisher
Semester
Fall

Description
Chapter Three – Sex Research - Lots of sex information out there is based on misinformation and stereotypes - First goal of sex research is creating basic knowledge and understanding - Second goal is research can be directed toward enhancing our understanding in order to influence sexual behaviour - Third research can be geared toward public policy (such as education curriculum, laws and regulations) - Different types of sex research; vary in the following a) Whether they rely on peoples self reports of their sexual behaviour or whether scientists observes behaviour directly b) Whether large numbers are studied or small numbers or just a single individual is studied c) Whether studies are conducted in lab or in field d) Whether sex is studied naturally or whether some attempt is made to manipulate it experimentally Sampling - Identify appropriate population (population is a group of people researcher wants to study) - At times unable to get data from whole population and so a sample maybe taken (part of that population) - Should make sure large enough sample and that sample is representative of population - One can do this by using probability sampling (each member of population has a known probability of being included in sample) - Simplest form of that is random sampling (every member of population has an equal chance of being included in sample) - Another form is called stratified random sampling (a method of sampling in which the population is divided into groups and then random sampling occurs in each group) - However if you only can get a sample that all have the same characteristics, then the results may not be true for all the population - Sampling has been a problem in sex research - Sampling typically happens in three phases: 1) Population is identified 2) Method for obtaining a sample is adopted 3) People in sample contacted and asked to participate - What can happen is that people do not want to participate in your research and that ruins the sample. This is called problem of refusal (or non-response) when that happens the researcher is now studying volunteers (people who agree to be in the study) - This can create a volunteer bias which is when the volunteers who now are in the sample, differ from those individuals who refused to participate - Likely those who refuse to participate in sex studies differ in some way from those who agree to participate and that means a sample is biased. Usually those who participate in sex studies are more permissive attitudes about sexuality - Women are less likely to volunteer for some types not all types of sex research - A convenience sample is when a sample chosen in a haphazard manner relative to the population of interest. Not a random or probability sample. This type of sample can give very different conclusions that a probability sample, and do not give good pictures of what is happening in general population Self Reports - Purposeful distortion – purposely giving false information in a survey - Can either be a tendency to exaggerate (enlargement) or hide the fact that they have done certain things (concealment) - Participants may distort responses to what they feel is a more acceptable response. This is called social desirability - Distortion is a basic problem with self report - To try and get rid of this distortion, participants must know that their answers will remain anonymous and that findings will be used in research so responses need to be accurate - Even with that said three factors can still effect self reports 1) Memory 2) Difficulty with estimates 3) Interpreting question differently than what researcher intended Memory - People often forget or do not recall accurately situations in the past - At times better to ask people in that age group about their sexual behaviours, but raises ethical and practical problems - Even then memory of recent situations can be bad and thus diaries can be kept to track behaviour so that can remember situations accurately Difficulty with estimates - At times people cannot estimate time accurately - Can be another source of inaccuracy Interpreting question differently than what researcher intended - Sometimes words can be misinterpreted and are not clearly defined - Terms like sexual partners, having sex, and abstinence are examples Evidence on the Reliability of Self Reports - One method to see how reliable a person’s self report is test-retest reliability, participants are interviewed or given questionnaire and then interviewed a second time some time later to determine whether their answers are the same both times - The correlation between the answers measure the reliability of the responses - Usually best reliability is seen when there is short, recent time intervals - Another method for reliability is obtaining info from different people who share their sexual activity (like a husband and wife) Interviews VS Questionnaires - Large scale sex surveys, there has been three methods to conduct the data 1) Face to face interview 2) Phone interview 3) Written questionnaires - Interview benefits – interviewer can develop relationship with respondent, and convince them the research is meaningful and importance of honesty. Also the sequence of questions can be varied depending on the respondents answers, interviews can be conducted to those who cannot read or write. HOWEVER people could be more honest on a questionnaires because they feel they are anonymous - In one study the rate of reporting rape doubled in a face to face interview compared to a phone interview - Riskier behaviour like gayness was better reported in a questionnaire over a face to face interview because respondent felt more freer - Therefore researchers often recommend a combination of a face to face interview with a written questionnaire for sensitive information - CASI or computer assisted self interview can be combined with audio component and this method offers privacy and can accommodate poor readers. Also computer can be programmed to follow varying sequences depending on respondent answers - Sometimes people can also exaggerate their responses on these type of surveys Web Based Surveys - Can recruit large and broader samples - Also can access populations that have been studied very little, as well as locate stigmatized groups by recruiting participants through websites - Also have the ability to eliminate extraneous influences like influence from interviewer to answer a certain way, as well they can be used as diary studies - Disadvantages include that they do rely on self reports and this as discussed earlier can be inaccurate to some degree - Also there is bias because not everyone has access to internet - Also you cannot control the environment, people could fill out sex survey and joke around and put in silly answers and some can fill multiple surveys in order to sabotage the survey - Overall though web based surveys offer substantial advantages over traditional survey methods Self Reports vs Direct Observations - As discussed self reports can be inaccurate - Direct observations are very accurate, no memory problems or distortion - However direct observations can be very expensive and time consuming, and usually only a small amount of people studied - Also, people usually not willing to come in and be observed in sex studies so the unusual group that do come in are not generalizable to the rest of the population. Can be a very selective sample - Another problem could be is sexual behaviour in the lab the same as sexual behaviour in privacy Extraneous Factors - Factors include gender, race and age of the interviewer can influence the research - Questionnaires do not get around this problem, since wording of a question can influence research - When a question is asked in a supportive manner, compared to standard wording can be another influence ex) it has been seen that there is an increase in reports of extramarital sex when the question is asked in a supportive manner Ethical Issues - People feel that privacy is invaded when asked about sex - Research must respect human dignity, and respect for free and informed consent, and protection of harm Free and Informed Consent - People have the right to be informed, before participating, of what they will be asked to do in the research, and have the right to agree or not continue - For children consent can be given through the parents Protection of Harm - Researchers must minimize the stress on the participants, and if there must be shock n the research there should be good reason for it - This can be done by making sure everyone stays anonymous Justice - Justice principle – states that the risks of participation should be distributed fairly across groups in society, as should the benefits - A wide range of people should benefit from the studies, not just one group Balancing Harms and Benefits - Harm-Benefits Analysis – an approach to analysing the ethics of a research study, based on weighing the harms of the research against the benefits of the research - The benefits that result should be greater than the harms to justify the research Some Statistical Concepts Average - Can either be the median or mean, and sometimes the mode is used - Mean is average of respondents scores calculating by adding the scores and dividing by the number of people - Median is the middle score - Mode is the most frequent score Variability - How much values are different from one correspondent to the other - People often associate average with “normal”, which is not true - Lots of variability in sex research Incidence Vs Frequency - Incidence is the percentage of people giving a certain response, or engaged in a behaviour - Frequency is how often a person does something - Cumulative incidence is the percentage of people who have engaged in that b
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