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Chapter 2

Chapter 2.docx

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Todd Ferretti

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Wed Sep 19 2012 Lecture 4 How Psychologists do research: Ch 2 What makes psychological research scientific?  Key characteristics of the ideal scientist:  Precision: Theory -organized system of assumptions and principles that purports to explain phenomena and how they are related -in science nothing considered theory until its proven Hypothesis -statement that attempts to predict or account for a set of phenomena; specifies relationships; empirically tested -in psychology there is no solid theory, things come and go Operational Definition -define terms in hypotheses by specifying the operations for observing and measuring the process or phenomenon -theory->hypothesis generations->predictions->hypothesis testing->data->facts->theories -cycle Skepticism  scientists do not accept ideas on faith or authority, must be skeptical  treat conclusions with caution  caution balanced with openness to new ideas and evidence -i.e. whites smarter than blacks, men smarter than women, old accepted theories that were changed with evidence over time Reliance on Empirical Evidence  anecdotes are insufficient (I.e. one case cannot and will not always represent the average or norm and therefore not conclusive evidence) Willingness to make risky predictions  Principle of falsifiability - a scientific theory must make predictions that are specific enough to disconfirm the theory -predicts not only what will happen but also what will not happen  Confirmation Bias -tendency to seek and accept evidence that supports our theories and ignore evidence that contradicts beliefs Wed Sep 19 2012 Lecture 4 -if we don't engage or interact with differing people, we will fall into this trap, will have beliefs and bias against them and don't exist Openness  explain the source of ideas, how they were tested and what the results were so replication is made possible  peer review process ensures scientific standards and provides system of checks and balances Descriptive Studies  goal to describe and predict behaviour but does not allow casual explanations  essential for all studies is obtaining a representative sample  Descriptive methods -case studies, observational studies, psychological tests, etc Case Studies  a detailed descriptions of a particular individual being studied or treated  can put together many separate case studies to form a general thesis  most commonly used by clinicians Observational Studies  method where researchers systematically observe and record behaviour without interference  Naturalistic observation -observations in a normal social environment  Laboratory Observation -observation in a controlled setting Psychological Tests  procedures used to measure and evaluate personality traits, emotional states, aptitudes, interests, abilities and values  Characteristics of a good test include: -standardization, reliability, and validity Standardization  a test is standardized when uniform procedures for giving and scoring texts exist  Proper scoring refers to norms or established standards of performance -norms are obtained by mass testing on intended populations to determine different score ranges Wed Sep 19 2012 Lecture 4 Reliability  Reliability: is the consistency of scores derived from a test from one time and place to the next or across scorers -test-retest reliability (give a test twice to determine accurateness, scores should be same in all sessions to determine reliability) -alternate forms reliability (tests with different form of same questions, if same mark should be reliable) Validity  Validity: is the ability of a test to measure what it was designed to measure (must set out to test what it was designed to i.e. motorcycle mechanic questions on a psych test) -Face validity: should look like what it's supposed to test (i.e. Chem test immediately seen as a chemistry test) -Content validity: the degree of which the questions relate to the content, done through the analysis of questions of the test -Criterion validity: do the test results predict other measures of the trait? the test results should be able to confirm the connection between what you are testing for and its impact on other characteristics of a person that have already been proven Surveys  surveys are questionnaires and interviews that ask people about experiences, attitudes or options  allow for extensive data collection but many problems: -obtaining representative sample (volunteer bias)(only some people choose to do them so only a representation of those who chose to do the survey) -truthfulness of responses (influenced by social pressure, etc) -type and phrasing of questions (the way that a survey is presented can swing results in a certain way) Correlational Studies  Correlation means two things are related  Causation means one thing causes another  A correlational study is a type of descriptive study that looks for a relationship between two phenomena  Correlations: -measure of how strongly two quantifiable characteristics of behaviour(variables) are related to each other  Positive correlation an association between increases in one variable and increases in another Wed Sep 19 2012 Lecture 4  Negative correlation: -an association between increases in one variable and decreases in another  Positive: X up, Y up Negative: X up, Y down Measuring Correlations  Correlation coefficient -statistical measure of correlations (ranges -1.00 to +1.00) -a perfect negative correlation is -1.00, a perfect positive correlation is +1.00, 0 is no correlation  indicates size and direction of correlation  often graphed using scatter plots  regardless of negative or positive, looking for a strong correlation Cautions about using correlations  correlations are often reported but may be small, nonexistent or meaningless  Correlations may be misleading: -Correlations do not establish causation! -Salary and alcoholism in high school teachers -instead of attributing it to salary, attributed to stress instead, as common cause of alcoholism -although does not establish causation, technically still a positive correlation if the two pieces of data show a rising slope, vice versa for negative Monday Sep 24 2012 Experiments  a controlled test of a hypothesis in
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