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Chapter 2

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Don Morgenson

Psychology PS101 Chapter 2 The Research Enterprise in Psychology The Scientific Approach to Behaviour Goals of Scientific Enterprise 1. Measurement and Description a. Observation requires that an investigator figure out a way to measure the phenomenon under study 2. Understanding and Prediction a. Evaluate understanding, scientists make and test by hypothesis 3. Application and Control a. Hope the information gathered will be some practical value in helping to solve everyday problems  A theory is a system of interrelated ideas used to explain a set of observations  Most theories are too complex to be tested all at once Figure 2.1 pg. 48 – Theory Construction Steps in a Scientific Investigation  They are systematic  Step 1 – formulate a Testable Hypothesis o Normally expressed as predictions o Must be formulated precisely, variables clearly defined  An operational definition describes the actions/operations that will be used to measure/control a variable  Step 2 – select the research method and design the study o Put the hypothesis to an empirical test o Ponder the pros and cons and then select the strategy that appears to be the most appropriate and practical o Must make detail plans for execution of study  Participants/subjects, are the persons/animals whose behaviour is systematically observed in a study  Step 3 – collect the data o Data collection techniques, which are procedures for making empirical observations and measurements Table 2.2 pg. 49 – Key Data Collection Techniques in Psychology  Step 4 – analyze the data and draw conclusions o Observations are usually converted into numbers o Use statistics to analyze data and to decide whether their hypothesis have been supportive  Step 5 – report the findings o Write up a concise summary of the study and its findings o A journal is a periodical that publishes technical and scholarly material, usually in a narrowly defined area of inquiry Advantages of the Scientific Approach  Everyone uses logic, casual observation, and common sense  Scientists are trained to be sceptical  Scrutinize one another’s findings with a critical eye Looking for Causes: Experimental Research  Experiment is a research method in which the investigator manipulates a variable under carefully controlled conditions and observes whether any charges occur in a second variable as a result  Experiment allows researchers to detect cause-and-effect relationships Independent and Dependent Variables  Independent variable is a condition or event that an experimenter varies in order to see its impact on another variable  Dependent variable is the variable that is thought to be affected by manipulation of the independent variable  How does x affect y Experimental and Control Groups  Experimental group consists of the subjects who receive some special treatment in regards to the independent variable  Control group consists of similar subjects who do not receive special treatment Extraneous Variables  Any other differences between groups can cloud the situation  Have to be alike only on dimensions relevant to the depended variable  Extraneous variables are any variables other than the independent variable that seems likely to influence the dependent variable in a specific study  Confounding of variables occurs when 2 variables are linked together in a way that makes it difficult to sort out their specific effects  Ability to foresee troublesome extraneous variables and control them to avoid confounding Advantages and Disadvantages of Experimental Research  Permits conclusions about cause-and-effect relationship between variables  Experiments are often artificial  Can’t be used to explore some research questions  Ethical and practical issues Looking for Links: Descriptive/Correlation Research  Cannot always exert experimental control over variables they want to study  Descriptive/Correlational research methods – researchers cannot manipulate the variables under study  Associations between variables can be extremely valuable in our efforts to understand behaviour  Can’t use cause Naturalistic Observation  Naturalistic observation – researchers engages in careful observation of behaviour without intervening directly with the subjects  Behaviour is allowed to unfold naturally in its natural environment  Have trouble making their observations unobtrusively so they don’t affect their participants’ behaviour Case Studies  Case study – an in-depth investigation of an individual subject  Typical techniques include interviewing, direct observation, examination of records, psychological testing Figure 2.3 pg. 57 – Example of a Case Study Report  Also provide compelling, real-life illustrations that bolster a hypothesis or theory  Can be highly subjective Surveys  Survey – researchers use questionnaires/interviews to gather information about specific aspects of participant’s behaviour  Use to obtain information on aspects of behaviour that are difficult to observe directly  Easy to collect data on attitudes and opinions from large samples of participants Table 2.4 pg. 58 – Mental Disorder Prevalence Rates Based on the Canadian Community Health Survey  Demand on self-reported data Advantages & Disadvantages of De
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