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Chapter 2

Chapter 2 Notes very detailed notes from the chapter in the textbook and lecture

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PSYC 1010
Rebecca Jubis

Ch 2- The Research Enterprise in Psychology October-09-10 1:53 PM Psychology is a scientific enterprise in which formal research methods are employed in an attempt to answer various questions about human behaviour. Example: bullying is just one type of interpersonal aggression that psychologists have examined in their research. This chapter is about how research in psychology is conducted. Psychology is empirical - a variety of different research methods are used in answering questions about human behaviour. The Scientific Approach to Behaviour Goals of the Scientific Enterprise Psychologists and other scientists share these three sets of interrelated goals: 1. Measurement and Description : Science's commitment to observation requires that an investigator figure out a way to measure the phenomenon under study. For, example if you were interested in the effects of different situations on emotions, you would first have to develop some means of measuring emotions. Thus, the first goal of psychology is to develop measurement techniques that make it possible to describe clearly and precisely. 2. Understanding and prediction : Understanding is a higher level goal in science. Scientists believe that they understand events when they can explain the reasons for the occurrence of the events. The evaluation process is done through a hypothesis - a tentative statement about the relationship between two or more variables. Variables - are any measureable conditions, events, characteristics, or behaviours that are controlled or observed in a study. 3. Application and control : The end result should have some practical value in helping to solve everyday problems. Once people understand a phenomenon, they often exert more control over it, which applies in schools, businesses, factories, and mental hospitals. Psychologists build toward a better understanding of behaviour, they construct theories - a system of interrelated ideas used to explain a set of observations. Theories permit psychologists to make a leap from the description of behaviour to the understanding of behaviour. A scientific theory must be testable, as the cornerstone of science is its commitment to putting new ideas to a empirical test, however most theories are too complex to be tested all at once. Rather in a typical study , investigators test one or two specific hypotheses derived from a theory. If findings support the hypothesis, confidence in the theory grows; if findings in the hypotheses fails, confidence in the theory diminishes and they theory may be revised /discarded. Theory construction is gradual, iterative process that is always subject to revision. Steps in a Scientific Investigation 1. Formulate a Testable Hypothesis: - Translate a theory or an intuitive idea into a testable hypothesis - To be testable, scientific hypothesis 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. Operational definition - describes the actions or operations that will be used to measure or control a variable. - Operational definitions -which may be quite different from the concept's dictionary definitions - establish precisely what is meant by each variable in the context of study. 2. Select the Research Method and Design the Study: - To figure out how to put the hypothesis to an empirical test. - The research method chosen depends to a large degree on the nature of the question under study. - Example: experiments, case studies, surveys, naturalistic observation and ect, has its advantages and disadvantages/ pros and cons. They select the method that appears to be the most appropriate and practical. -Participants or subjects - are the persons or animals whose behaviour is systematically observed in a study. 3. Collect the Data: - The research enterprise is to collect the data - Researchers use a variety of data collection techniques - procedures for making empirical observations and measurements. 4. Analyze the Data and Draw Conclusions: -The observations made in a study are usually converted into numbers, statistics are used to analyze data and to decide whether their hypothesis have been supported. 5. Report the Findings: - Scientific progress can be achieved only if researchers share their findings with one another and with the general public. - The final step is to write up a concise summary of the study and its findings. Which is typically a report that is delivered at a scientific meeting and submitted to a journal for publication. -Journal - is a periodical that publishes technical and scholarly material, usually in a narrowly defined area of inquiry. - This evaluation cprocess is a major strength of the scientific approach because it gradually weeds out erroneous findings. Advantages of the Scientific Approach The scientific approach offers two main advantages: 1. The first is clarity and precision - Commonsense notions about behaviour tend to be vague and ambiguous. - The scientific approach requires that people specify exactly what they are talking aboutwhen they formulate hypotheses. -This enhances communication about important ideas. 2. The second and perhaps greatest advantage offered by the scientific approach is its relative intolerance of error. - Scientists are trained to be skeptical. -They subject their ideas to empirical tests. - They scrutinize one another's findings with a critical eye - They demand objective data and through documentation before they accept ideas -They use additional research when two studies conflict. Key Data Collection Techniques in Psychology Technique Description Direct Observation Observers are trained to watch and record behaviour as objectively and as precisely as possible (may use instrumentation such as, stopwatch or video recorder) Questionnaire Subjects are administered a series of written questions designed to obtain information about attitudes, opinions, and specific aspects of behaviour. Interview A face-to-face dialogue is conducted to obtain info about specific aspects of a subject's behaviour. Psychological test Subject
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