PS101 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: The Control Group, Naturalistic Observation, Scientific Progress

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Published on 12 Oct 2012
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PS101 Chapter 2 The Research Enterprise in Psychology Week 2
The Scientific Approach to Behaviour
1. Measurement and description
-Science’s commitment to observation requires that an investigator figure out a way to measure the
phenomenon under study
-The first goal of psychology is to develop measurement techniques that make it possible to describe
behaviour clearly and precisely
2. Understanding and Prediction
-A higher-level goal of science is understanding
-Scientists believe that they understand events when they can explain the reasons for the occurrence of
the event
-A hypothesis is a tentative statement about the relationship between two or more variables. Variables
are any measurable conditions, events, characteristics, or behaviors that are controlled or observed in a
study
-If we hypothesized that physiological arousal would affect emotions, the variables in our study would
be physiological arousal and emotional state
3. Application and Control
-Many scientists hope that the information they gather will be of some practical value in helping to solve
every day problems
Once people understand a phenomenon, they often can exert more control over it
-Psychology attempts to apply research findings to practical problems in schools, businesses, factories,
and mental hospitals
-By integrating apparently unrelated facts and principles into a coherent whole, theories permit
psychologist to make the leap from the description of behaviour to the understanding of behaviour
-A scientific theory must be testable as the cornerstone of science is tihs commitment to putting ideas to
an empirical test
Steps in a Scientific Investigations
-Scientific investigations are systematic
Step 1: Formulate a Testable Hypothesis
-Hypothesis are expressed as predictions
-To be testable, scientific hypotheses must be formulated precisely, and the variables under study must
be clearly defined
-Researchers achieve these clear formulations by providing operational definitions of the relevant
variables
-An operational definition describes the actions or operations that will be used t measure or control a
variable
Step 2: Select the Research Method and Design the Study
-Figure out how to put the hypothesis to an empirical test
-The various methods experiments, case studies, surveys, naturalistic observation, and so forth have
advantages and disadvantages
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Document Summary

The scientific approach to behaviour: measurement and description. Science"s commitment to observation requires that an investigator figure out a way to measure the phenomenon under study. The first goal of psychology is to develop measurement techniques that make it possible to describe behaviour clearly and precisely: understanding and prediction. Scientists believe that they understand events when they can explain the reasons for the occurrence of the event. A hypothesis is a tentative statement about the relationship between two or more variables. Variables are any measurable conditions, events, characteristics, or behaviors that are controlled or observed in a study. If we hypothesized that physiological arousal would affect emotions, the variables in our study would be physiological arousal and emotional state: application and control. Many scientists hope that the information they gather will be of some practical value in helping to solve every day problems. Once people understand a phenomenon, they often can exert more control over it.

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