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Chapter 2

Psychology 1010 - Chapter 2: The Research Enterprise in Psychology

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PSYC 1010
Aviva Goldberg

CHAPTER 2: The Research Enterprise in Psychology Chapter Overview: Research methods used to scientifically explore bully and other "hidden" psychological events Interpersonal aggression - levels of aggression in society Meaning of specific experience - use qualitative research method Experience from data they collect Data consists of words and narratives of experiences Ex. research for process of psychotherapy (interviews, study videos of sessions, etc.) The themes + experimental process determines what thematic experiences give successful therapy outcomes Quantitative methods: to examine cause/effect relationships Involves empirical observations of the world (as numeric quantities) - reports results as narratives Systematic observations Scientific approach to study of behaviour Behavioural research The Scientific Approach to Behaviour Goals of the Scientific Enterprise: 3 interrelated goals: Measurement and description First goal of psychology: develop measurement techniques to describe behaviour clearly, precisely Understanding and prediction Explain reasons for occurrence of events Hypothesis: tentative statement about relationship between two or more variables Variables: measureable conditions, characteristics, behaviours - controlled/ observed 1. Application and control Apply research findings to practical problems Examination of effectiveness Theory: system of interrelated ideas to explain set of observations Connecting unrelated facts will allow conclusion and understanding of behaviour from the description of the behaviour Scientific theory: must be testable (multiple times) One or two specific hypotheses are tested If findings support hypo - confidence in theory If findings fail hypo - confidence gone - revise/discard the theory Theory construction - gradual process, subject to revision and change Steps in a Scientific Investigation Systematic: scientific investigations follow orderly pattern: Step 1: Formulate Testable Hypothesis Hypos start as predictions Operational definition: describes the actions or operations they will use to measure/ control the variables Make it "testable" by making it precise, clearly define the variables Select the Research Method and Design the Study Put hypo. to an empirical test Research method used depends on the topic studied (appropriate pros/cons) Various methods: experiments, case studies, surveys, observations + their advantages/disadvantages Participants/ subjects: persons/animals whose behaviour systematically observed in study 1. Collect the Data Data collection techniques: procedures for making empirical observations/ measurements Ex. direct observation, questionnaire, interview, psychological test (samples of their behaviour), physiological recording (ex. blood pressure, brain activity), and examination of archival records (studying existing records) 1. Analyze the Data and Draw Conclusions Observations converted to numbers - the raw data of the study Statistics - essential to scientific research; to analyze data and decide if hypo has been supported 1. Report the Findings Scientific progress only if findings are shared with general public Journal: periodical, technical, scholarly material This process allows evaluation and critiques of research - prevents flaws or incorrect findings Advantages of the Scientific Approach Clarity and precision (indicated in hypo) Common-sense approaches are vague, too general Relative intolerance of error Scientists are skeptical, critical Demand objective data, documentation before accepting anything Research methods: consists of various approaches to the observation, measurement, manipulation and control of variables in empirical studiesFeatured Study: Can Fear Increase Sexual Attraction? Theory: env. cues can cause emotional/ physiological arousal Even emotions such as fear and anxiety can be mistaken for sexual attraction Specific hypothesis: attractive female seen more attractive by males experiencing strong emotion (fear), vs. males not experiencing strong emotion Method: male participants (18-35) 2 bridges, one is safe, one seems dangerous Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) - males are to respond to vague stimuli, reveals their needs/ feelings 2 independent variables: Participants approached after crossing bridge Approached by either male or female (random) Given questionnaire, offered them a #, if mistaken fear as sexual attraction, will call female Dependent variables: degree of sexual imagery in TAT and # of participants who called Results: exactly as they had predicted Discussion/ Comment: natural emotions can be
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