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Chapter 2

Chapter Two.docx

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Western University
Psychology 1000

Chapter Two Gathering Evidence: Steps in the Scientific Process 1. Identify a question of interest 2. Gather information and form hypothesis 3. Test hypothesis by conducting research 4. Analyze data, draw tentative conclusions and REPORT findings 5. Build a body of knowledge, ask further questions, conduct more research, develop and test more theories - A theory is a set of formal statements that explains how and why certain events are related to one another - Two approaches to understanding behaviour: o Hindsight (after-the-fact understanding)  When people use common sense and folk knowledge to understand behaviour o Through prediction, control and theory building  Theory development is the strongest test of scientific understanding  Incorporates existing facts and observations  Testable; generation of new hypotheses and predictions  Predictions are supported by finding of new research  Law of parsimony: if two theories can explain and predict the same phenomena equally well, the simpler theory is the preferred - A variable is any characteristic or factor that can vary (height, income, age, etc.) - Operational definition defines a variable in terms of the specific procedures used to produce or measure it - self-report measures ask people to report on their own knowledge, beliefs, feelings, experiences or behaviour o a social desirability bias; the tendency to respond in a socially acceptable manner rather than according to how one truly feels or behaves - measuring overt behaviour: measure how many errors a person makes wihle performing a task - reaction time: how rapidly they respond to a stimulus (turning on and off light, after drinking) - unobtrusive measures which record behaviour in a way that keeps participants unaware that certain responses are being measured - archival measures; recordings or documents that already exist - Psychological tests: psychologists develop and use specialized tests to measure many types of variables (e.g. personality, intelligence, etc.) - Physiological measures: record responses to assess what people are experiencing Methods of Research - Descriptive research: seeks to identify how humans and other animals behave, particularly in natural setting - Case study is an in-depth analysis of an individual, group, or an event - Advantages: o When a rare phenol occurs; scientists can study it closely o May challenge the validity of a theory or widely held belief o Vibrant source of new ideas and hypotheses that subsequently may be examined - Limitations: o Poor method for determining cause-effect relations o May not generalize to other people or situations o Observers may not be objective in gathering and interpreting the data Naturalistic observation - Researcher observes behaviour as it occurs in a natural setting, attempts to avoid influencing the behaviour - Helps in studying human behaviour: such as bullying o Intervention strategies: verbal assertion, physical assertion, physical aggression - When disguise is not feasible, people and other animals typically adapt to and ignore the presence of an observer as time passes: called habituation Survey Research - Population consists of all the individuals about whom we are interested in drawing a conclusion - Sample: a subset of individuals drawn from the larger population of interest - Representative sample: reflects the important ch
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