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Chapter 2

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Psychology 2660A/B
Natalie J Allen

Chapter 2  Research – a formal process by which knowledge is produced and understood  Generalizability – the extent to which conclusions drawn from one research study spread or apply to a larger population Three Goals of Science  Description – picture of a state of events; researchers may describe levels of job satisfaction, productivity, employees who are quitting throughout the year  Prediction – researchers try to predict which employees will be productive, which ones are likely to quit, and which will be dissatisfied; information is used to select applicants who will be better employees  Explanatory – why events occur when they do, tries to find causes The Empirical Research Cycle  Statement of the problem o Problems arise from existing knowledge such as experience with the problem, personal intuition, or theory o Theory – a statement that proposes to explain relationships among phenomena of interest o Inductive method – starts as data and culminates in to a theory o Deductive method – researchers first form a theory and then test the theory by collecting data; come up with theory from intuition or from studying research; if theory is accurate data will be supportive of it  Design research study o research design – plan for conducting a study; choice of method depends on the nature of the problem being studied as well as on cost and feasibility  compared along two important dimensions: the naturalness of the research setting (some studies need to be done in a natural environment and others do not) and the investigator’s degree of control over the study (manipulation possible?) o internal validity – results of research can be attributed to the variables investigated rather than to other possible explanations for the results o external validity – extent to which findings from a research study are relevant to individuals and settings beyond those in just the study  Measurement of variables  Analysis of data  Conclusions from research Primary Research Methods  Primary research method – provides an original or principle source of data that bears on a particular research question  4 types o Laboratory experiment – conducted and contrived settings as opposed to naturally occurring organizational settings  high degree of control of researcher  streufert et al experiment  tested men in a driving simulation with alcohol in their system or mineral water disguised as alcohol  error rates were dramatically higher in the alcohol condition  slower reaction times o quasi-experiment – ‘quasi means seemingly but not actually’; resembles an experiment but actually provides less control over the variables in the investigation  independent variables are manipulated in a field setting  less control over variables, random assignment is often not possible  Latham and Kinne experiment  Studied logging crew  One group was given a one day presentation on how to set production goals and the other was not  Studied these groups over the next 3 months and found that the group that had the intervention performed significantly better o Questionnaire – rely on an individual’s self-reports as the basis for obtaining information; non-experimental research  Mostly used in IO psychology  Not a high rate of returned questionnaires usually; about 50% or less for mailed in surveys  Maintains anonymity of responders  Some people still give favourable response, ex: when it comes to illegal drug use o Observation – method that can be used when the research is examining overt behaviours; requires substantial amount of time and energy  not popular in IO psychology  Komaki study  Found that more attentive managers who spent more time sampling their employees work were more effective Secondary Research Methods  Secondary research method- looks at existing information from studies that used primary research methods  Meta-analysis – a statistical procedure designed to combine the results of many individual, independently conducted empirical studies into a single result or outcome; a study of studies o Reduces errors in measurement by looking at multiple studies o Subjective decisions despite the objectivity of this method such as which empirical studies to include, results of many poorly conducted studies will not make for a good meta-analysis o ‘file drawer effect’ – studies that do not support the findings the researcher wants them to are filed away and not published as often as studies with positive outcomes leading to bias; this could lead to distortion (McDaniel, Rothstein and Whetzel)  Level of analysis – (Ostroff and Harrison) original research topics on a similar topic sometimes differ in the level of analysis used by researchers; that is, the unit or level (individuals, organizations, nations, teams etc.) that is the object of the researchers’ interest and about which conclusions are drawn from the research; ex: individual attitudes of working in a team vs attitudes of different teams  Viswesvaran and Schmidt study: meta-analyzed results from 633 studies of smoking cessation involving more than 70,000 smokers o 18.6% of smokers quit after participating in the program o Instructional programs were twice as effective as drug-based programs Qualitative Research  Qualitative research – a class of research methods in which the investigator takes an active role in interacting with the subjects he or she wishes to study o Involves new ways of understanding research questions and how these ways influence the conclusions we reach about the topics under investigation o Ex: focus of qualitative research may be to increase understanding of what it means to the employees of a particular organization to feel committed to it  Maxwell: 4 purposes for conducting research in the first place o Personal – purpose motivates researcher; overlap with practical and research o Practical – focus on accomplishing something o Research – focus on understanding something  Essence of qualitative research is to recognize the number of different ways we can reach an understanding of a phenomenon; watching, listening, participating etc.  Ethnography – a research method that utilizes field observations to study a society’s culture; details the daily routine lives of the people in the group, focusing on more predictable behaviour patterns; try to keep an open mind about the group they are studying  Emic perspective – insider’s view of their own culture; there are multiple emic views because of the multiple members in a group  Etic perspective – external view of a culture  High quality ethnographic research requires both perspectives: an insightful and sensitive interpretation of group processes combined with data collections techniques Measurement of Variables  Variable – represented by a symbol that can assume a range of numerical values  Quantitative variables – values that are inherently numerical  Categorical variables – not inherently numerical, but they can be coded to have numerical meaning; ex: male = 1 female = 2; identifies variables for measuring purposes  The term variable is often used in conjunction with words such as independent, dependent, predictor and criterion  Independent variable – those that are manipulated or controlled by the researcher; it is manipulated to control the dependent variable; ex: level of alcohol intoxication  Dependent variable – object of the researcher’s interest; usually some aspect of behaviour, or attitude; ex: performance on a task after given a certain amount of alcohol  Same viariable can be selected as the dependent or independent variable o Ex: leadership style affecting employee performance  Or employee performance affecting employee trainability  Predictor variable – a variable used to predict or forecast a criterion variable; similar to independent va
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