PSYC 1010 Chapter 2: Chapter Two - Psychology

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16 Aug 2016
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Monday, October 5, 2015
The Research Enterprise in Psychology
Chapter Two
The Scientific Approach
Assumes that there are laws of behaviour that can be discovered through empirical
research
Goals
I. The measurement and description of behaviour.
II. The understanding and prediction of behaviour.
III. The application of this knowledge to the task of controlling behaviour.
Steps in an Investigation
I. Formulate a testable hypothesis.
II. Select the method and design the study.
III. Collect the data.
IV. Analyze the data and draw conclusions.
V. Report the findings.
Advantages
I. Clarity and precision yield better communication.
II. Intolerance of error yields more reliable data.
Independent and Dependent Variables
The purpose of an experiment is to find out whether changes in one variable (X) cause
changes in another variable (Y). We want to find out how (X) affects (Y).
(X) - Independent Variable
(Y) - Dependent Variable
Independent Variable: A condition or event that an experimenter varies in order to see
its impact on another variable. This is the variable the experimenter controls or
manipulates.
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Monday, October 5, 2015
Dependent Variable: The variable that is thought to be affected by manipulation of the
independent variable.
Experimental and Control Groups
In an experiment, the investigator typically assembles two groups of subjects who are
treated differently with regard to the independent variable. These two groups are
referred to as the experimental group and the control group.
Experimental Group: Consists of subjects who receive some special treatment in
regard to the independent variable.
Control Group: Consists of similar subjects who do not receive the special treatment
given to the experimental group.
Extraneous Variables
Any other variables other than the independent variable that seem likely to influence
the dependent variable in a specific study.
Confounding of Variables: Occurs when two variables are linked together in a way
that makes it difficult to sort out their specific effects.
** when an extraneous variable is confounded with an independent variable, a
researcher cannot tell which is having what effect on the dependent variable.
-Experimenters use Random Assignment of Subjects as a safeguard to control
extraneous variables.
Random Assignment of Subjects: Occurs when all subjects have an equal chance of
being assigned to any group or condition in the study.
Variations in Designing Experiments
Some experiments are conducted with a simple design, with just one independent
variable. Many variations are possible in conducting experiments.
I. It is sometimes advantageous to use only one group of subjects who serve as their
own control group. The effects of the independent variable are evaluated by
exposing this single group to two different conditions - an experimental condition
and a control condition.
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Monday, October 5, 2015
II. It is possible to manipulate more than one independent variable in a single
experiment. Researchers often manipulate two or three independent variables to
examine their joint effects on the dependent variable.
III. It is also possible to use more than one dependent variable in a single study.
Researchers frequently use a number of dependent variables to get a more
complete picture of how experimental manipulation affects subjects behaviour.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Experimental Research
Descriptive/Correlation Research
Permit investigators to only describe patterns of behaviour and discover links or
associations between variables. These methods include Naturalistic Observation,
Case Studies, and Surveys.
Naturalistic Observation: A researcher engages in careful observation of behaviour
without intervening directly with the research subject or participants. Behaviour is
allowed to unfold naturally (without interference) in its natural environment.
Case Studies: An in-depth investigation of an individual subject. Can provide
compelling, real life illustrations that bolster a hypothesis or theory. Con: Highly
subjective.
Advantages
Disadvantages
Permits conclusions about cause-and-effect
relationships between variables.
Manipulation and control often makes experiment
artificial
Practical realities and ethical concerns make it
impossible to conduct experiments on many
issues
Advantage
Disadvantage
Allows researcher to study behaviour under
conditions that are less artificial than in
experiments
Researchers often have trouble making their
observations unobtrusively so they dont affect their
participants’ behaviour.
Can represent a good starting point when little is
known about the behaviour under the study.
It is difficult to translate naturalist observations into
numerical data that permit precise statical analyse.
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