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Chapter 2

PS101 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Criterion Validity, Content Validity, Naturalistic Observation

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Lawrence Murphy

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Chapter 2 how psychologists do research
What makes psychological research scientific?
o Theory: organized system of assumptions and principles that purports to explain phenomena and how they are
o Hypothesis: statement that attempts to predict or account for a set of phenomena; specifies relationships;
empirically tested
o Operational definition: define terms in hypotheses by specifying operations for observing and measuring the
process or phenomenon
o Scientists do not accept ideas on faith or authority
o Treat conclusions (old and new) with caution
o Caution balanced with openness to new ideas and evidence
Reliance on empirical evidence
o Anecdotes are insufficient
o Gathered through use of various research methods
Willingness to make “risky predictions”
o Principle of falsifiability: scientific theory must make predictions that are specific enough to disconfirm the
Predicts not only what will happen but also what won’t happen
o Confirmation bias: tendency to seek and accept evidence that supports our theories and ignore evidence that
contradicts beliefs
o Explain the source of ideas, how they were tested and what the results were so replication possible
o Peer review process ensures scientific standards and provides system of checks and balances
Descriptive Studies
o Goal to describe and predict behavior but does not allow causal explanations
o Essential for all studies is obtaining a representative sample
o Descriptive methods [case studies, observational studies, psychological tests, surveys]:
case studies,
detailed description of a particular individual being studied or treated
most commonly used by clinicians
observational studies,
method where researchers systematically observe and record behavior without interference
naturalistic observation: observations in normal social environment
laboratory observation: observations in more controlled lab setting
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