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Chapter 2

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PSYC 3600
Thanh Nguyen

Chapter 2: Scientific Research Methods Why do Scientific Research? -One of the major goals in comm. Psych is to create or engage in some form of social change so that individuals and communities can benefit. -Scientific research is a method that provides psychologists a way to distinguish effective from less effective changes. ­Areas of concern must be identified and described -Factors related to these problems must be articulated -Based on this articulation possible interventions/solutions can be created and tested -Once a program is found effective it still has to be determined if the intervention can be successfully implemented in particular community contexts -If implementation is successful, it has to be determined if the program can be launched on a broader scale -If the program is successful, the researcher is left to re-examine the community status and see if any other needs may exist What is Scientific Research? Theory: Systematic attempt to explain observable or measureable events relating to an issue. Ex; Homelessness or Alcoholism -The goal of a theory is to allow researchers to describe, predict, and control for why or how a variable relates to observable or measureable events pertaining to an issue. Model: Working blueprint of how a theory works Paradigm: A smaller component from within the model that guides researchers to conceptualize specific event sequences -Kuhn uses gives paradigm two meanings: 1. To describe a set or collection of ideas, values and theories that are commonly agreed on in a sociological way to guide the direction and conduction of the scientific inquiry 2. As a concrete puzzle solution to given problem. Term is used to describe the progression from theory to model to paradigm Falsifiability: Popper (1957/1990) – Science is about the continuous test of a theory. Continuous testing assumes that it is possible for a theory to be false. Because a theory can be false, it must always be tested. Example: For years researchers investigating alcoholism conceptualized excessive drinking as a consequence of genetic predisposition, using the medical explanation of alcohol as a disease. Yet in recent years researchers have begun to challenge the genetic disease theory of alcoholism, they argued that environmental factors such as prolonged unemployment may be a reason for excessive alcohol use. Thus a new theory emerges – the distress theory of alcoholism. This new idea leads to a paradigm shift from genetics to environment, which leads to the development of new models. Scientific Revolutions -Kuhn argued that major scientific development is not linear -Cause a dramatic shift in the way we see our world -Causes changes in our theories, models and paradigms The Fidelity of Scientific Research Reliability: Extent to which measureable features of a theory are trustworthy or dependable. -If two observers rate what they saw and they agree its called Inter- rater/observer reliability. -If the question is asked twice within the same set of questions its called internal reliability -If the question is asked twice at two separate occasions across time its called test-retest reliability. Internal Validity: The degree to which we believe the results of a study truly describe what happens in a given set of research conditions -Research is said to have a high internal validity when confounding variables are at a minimum. Confounding Effects: unrelated variables that influence the dependent variable and invalidate the conclusion drawn from the research. External Validity: refers to the generalizability of results to the larger world. -When trying to generalize results to a given population, a representative sample of that population is taken.  Random Sampling: allows for all potential participants to have an equal chance of being selected for a study Diffusion of Treatment: A consequence of biased sampling. It is difficult to draw definitive conclusions about the respective efficiency and effectiveness of a program because the program isn’t pure. Effects of one treatment have spilled into another. Traditional Scientific Research Methods -First step in devising a study is to conduct a review of scientific literature. The researcher then draws what appears to be a logical conclusion from reading the past work. -Hypothesis: A statement of what might be expected from the study. -Researcher chooses b/w two research designs to use in the study to examine the hypothesis  experimental design or correlational design Design: Systematic plan to test the hypothesis -These designs are used to guide what kinds of data are gathered from groups of people and how data gathering is carried out. Population: The group of people the research is attempting to understand -Getting data on an entire population is difficult therefore we use samples. Sample: Subset of the population that is supposed to represent the population Random Sample: Every member of the population has an equal chance of being selected Convenience Sample: Members are chosen for no other reason other than they are available. Example: College students, because they are readily available to participate in research conducted at universities. Stratified Sample: Tries to match the known characteristics of the population. Example: if we know 40% of the population is male, we would try to get a sample that is 40% male. Purposive Sample: One chosen for a specific reason. Example: In a test of drug use among pregnant women, only pregnant women would be chosen. Correlational Research -Correlational Methods include a class of designs (eg. surveys) and measurement procedures, as well as techniques (eg. Self report), that allow one to examine the associations/relationships between two or more variables in their natural environments. -Causation cannot be determined because other unstudied variables could have produced the effects noted. -Associations can be spurious (false while giving the appearance of being correct) when confounding variables are responsible for relationships Pearson Correlation Coefficient: A statistic used to quantify the association’s b/w two variables. Ranges from +1.00 to -1.00. Experimental Research -Considered the gold standard for research -Include a class of designs and measurement procedures that allow one to manipulate independent variables and observe the resulting effects on dependent variables. Independent Variable: is the condition that is varied between groups Dependent Variable: What scientists measure to see the effects of the independent variable Pretest-posttest control group design: is a common design which involves assessing a dependent variable before and after a experimental manipulation in one group (experimental group) and before and after no manipulation condition in the control group. -Assignment to the control group is random -Since the assignment is random the two groups (experimental and control groups) can be assumed to be equivalent. Therefore if there are any differences b/w the group ir can be assumed that the independent variable is what brought the change because it is the only difference b/w the two groups. Quasi-Experimental Research -When an experiment would be unethical to perform a quasi-experimental design is used -It approximates experimental conditions and random assignment but it isn’t quite able to get all the necessary conditions for a true experimental design -Non-equivalent pretest-posttest control design: Comparing a group before and after some experimental manipulation or treatment with another group that ha
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