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Chapter 2

Chapter 2 PS101.docx

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Carolyn Ensley

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 PS101 Chapter 2 – The Research Enterprise in Psychology Week 2 -Participants, or subjects are the persons or animals whose behaviour is systematically observed in a study Step 3: Collect the Data -Data collection techniques, are procedures for making empirical observations and measurements Step 4: Analyze the Data and Draw Conclusions -The observations made in a study are usually converted into numbers, which constitute the raw data of the study -Researchers use sat to analyze their data and to decide whether their hypotheses have been supported Step 5: Report the Findings -Scientific progress can be achieved only if researchers share their findings with one another and with the general public -A journal is a periodical that publishes technical and scholarly material, usually in a narrowly defined area of inquiry -Sometimes the process of critical evaluation discloses flaws in a study – if the flaws are serious enough, the results may be discounted or discarded Advantages of the Scientific Method -It has clarity and precision -It has relative intolerance of error – scientists are skeptical, they subject their ideas to empirical tests, they use a critical eye -The scientific approach does tend to yield more accurate and dependable information than casual analyses and armchair speculation do -Research methods consist of various approaches to the observation, measurement, manipulation, and control of variables in empirical studies – they are general strategies for conducting studies Looking for Causes: Experimental Research -The experiment is a research method in which the investigator manipulates a variable under carefully controlled conditions and observes whether any changes occur in a second variable as a result -The experime
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