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Chapter 2

PS295 Chapter Two Summary.docx

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Roger Buehler

PS295 Chapter Two Summary Behaviour Variability and Research  Schemas provide us with frameworks for organizing, remembering and acting on the information we receive. Variability and the Research Process  Proposition 1: psychology and other behavioural sciences involve the study of behavioural variability - researchers want to know how and why behaviour varies across situations, among people and over time. - people and other animals behave differently in different situations. - behaviour varies among individuals, everyone is different act differently - behaviour also varies over time. E.g. a baby who could barely walk a few months ago can run today  Proposition 2: research questions in all behavioural sciences are questions about behavioural variability - e.g. imagine we are interested in whether a particular form of counselling causes changes or variation in a family’s interactions - any specific research question we might develop can be phrased in terms of behavioural variability  Proposition 3: research should be designed in a manner that best allows the researcher to answer questions about behavioural variability - research studies must be designed in a way that allows us to identify, as unambiguously as possible, factors related to the behavioural variability we observe. - researchers must be sure that their research will permit them to answer their questions about behavioural variability  Proposition 4: the measurement of behaviour involves the assessment of behavioural variability - all behavioural research involves the measurement of some behaviour, thought, emotion or physiological process. - no matter what is being measured, we want the number we assign to a participant’s behaviour to correspond in a meaningful way to the behaviour being measured  Proposition 5: statistical analyses are used to describe and account for the observed variability in the behavioural data. - the purpose of statistics is to summarize and answer questions about behavioural variability we observe in our research - descriptive statistics – used to summarize and describe the behaviour of participants in a study - inferential statistics – are used to draw conclusions about the reliability and generalizability of one’s findings.  Our research questions concern the causes and correlates of behaviour variability  Understanding variability will provide you with a schema for understanding, remembering and applying what you learn about behavioural research. Variance: An index of variability  Researchers use variance to indicate the amount of observed variability in a participants’ behaviour  To explain variance there are several possible ways  One way is taking the difference between the largest and smallest scores. That is the range.  E.g. (4 (largest # subtract smallest #)  The problem is the range only tells us how much the largest and smallest scores vary but does not account for the other scores  The mean is another effective way, it calculates the average accounting for all scores.  Deviation score – subtracting the mean from each score. By looking at these scores we can see how much the score varies or deviates from the mean  If we sum the deviation scores for all of the participants it will always add to zero. So therefore
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