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Chapter 2

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Department
Psychology
Course
Psychology 2070A/B
Professor
Richard Sorrentino
Semester
Winter

Description
Chapter 2 – The Methods of Social Psychology The Scientific Method • Provides an objective, efficient way to answer questions and understand the causes of important events and phenomena Theories & Hypothesis • Theories – explanations, a scientists explanation of why an event or outcome occurs, identifies the underlying causes of something scientist observed • Hypotheses – predictions, provide framework for understanding why something occurs, what should occur if a theory is valid, derive from theory and provide means for testing the theory • Most theories build on previous work, inaccurate or limited theories • Aim for simplicity, coherence and testability when developing a theory • Just World Theory – Lerner proposed that humans need to believe that the world is a fair and just place, motivated to believe that people usually receive what they deserve – hard work = rewards • Operational Definition – specific, observable response that will be used to measure the concept Self Report Measures • Ask individuals as long as concept is something that people are able and willing to report – self-report questions • Can result in socially desirable responding – giving answers that portray the respondent in a favourable light Behavioural Measures • When people are unable or unwilling to report some things accurately, researchers measure concepts by observing an individuals behaviour • Advantage: often unobtrusive measures meaning that the participants do not know that the measure is being taken • Disadvantage: difficult and time consuming to obtain, may be difficult or impossible for some concepts • Psychometrics – subdiscipline within psychology devoted to understanding and refining methods for psychological measurement Reliability • Always give us the same answer • Consistency or stability of scores on a measure – produces consistent scores free from random or unexplained fluctuations • Consistency is thought of in two ways: over time & across judges (object receives similar scores from different judges) Validity • Yields a score that truly reflects the concept it is intended to measure • Extent to which scores on the measure really represent the underlying concept they are intended to represent Correlational Research • Measure two or more concepts and see whether concepts are associated with one another or co-relate • Positive & negative correlation • Do not show that measures are causally connected – investigator does not control other factors in the environment that might partly or completely explain an obtained correlation • Flexible, can be designed to explore many different issues, easier, obtained in naturalistic settings Surveys • Most common kind of correlational research • Design questions to accurately assess concepts and then examine whether participants answers are correlated • Questionnaires, face to face interviews, telephone survey, • Counterfactual thinking – refers to thoughts about how past events could have turned out differently Representative Samples • Group of respondents that reflects the larger population accurately: has ratios of various subgroups similar to those in larger population • Ability to generalize findings to a large population • Obtain through random sampling – every person has the same probability of being in the study Archival Research • Investigations based on pre-existing information obtained by the researcher • Utilize wide variety of public data Observational Studies • Investigator watches participants and codes measures from the observed behaviour • Participant –Observat
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