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Chapter 2

01:830:101 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Operational Definition, Central Tendency, Descriptive Statistics


Department
Psychology
Course Code
01:830:101
Professor
Professor Stephen Killianski
Chapter
2

This preview shows pages 1-2. to view the full 6 pages of the document.
The scientific approach assumes that events are governed by some lawful order
the first goal of psychology is to develop measurement techniques that make is possible to describe behavior clearly and precisely
Measurement and description
variables- are any measurable conditions, events, characteristics, or behaviors that are controlled or observed in a study
scientists understand events when they can explain the reasons for the occurrence of the events
Understanding and prediction
once a phenomenon is understood, psychologists can exert more control over it and apply research findings to practical proble ms in
schools, businesses, factories, and mental hospitals
Application and control
theories permit psychologists to make the leap from the description of behavior to the understanding of behavior
theory- is a system of interrelated ideas used to explain a set of observations
To build toward a better understanding of behavior, psychologists construct theories
if their findings support they hypotheses, confidence in the theory that the hypotheses were derived from grows
In a typical study, investigators test one or two specific hypotheses derived from a theory
Goals of the Scientific Enterprise
translate a theory or an intuitive idea into a testable hypothesis
1.
establish precisely what is meant by each variable in the context of a study
1.
operational definition- describes the actions or operations that will be used to measure or control a variable
1.
variables must be clearly defined by providing operational definitions of the relevant variables
2.
Formulate a Testable Hypothesis
1.
figure out how to put the hypothesis to an empirical test
1.
participants (subjects)- are the persons or animals whose behavior is systematically observed in a study
1.
once researchers have chosen a general method, they must make detailed plans for executing their study
2.
Select the Research Method and Design the Study
2.
include direct observation, questionnaires, interviews, psychological tests, physiological recordings, and examination of arc hival
records
1.
technique largely depends on what is being investigated
2.
data collection techniques- procedures for making empirical observations and measurements
1.
Collect the Data
3.
researchers use statistics to analyze their data and to decide whether their hypotheses have been supported
1.
Analyze the Data and Draw Conclusions
4.
scientific progress can be achieved only if researchers share their findings with one another and with the general public
1.
journal- a periodical that publishes technical and scholarly material, usually in a narrowly defined area of inquiry
1.
final step in a scientific investigation is to write up a concise summary of the study and its findings
2.
process of publishing scientific studies allows other experts to evaluate and critique new research findings
3.
Report the Findings
5.
Steps in a Scientific Investigation
enhances communication about important ideas
Clarity and precision
Relative intolerance of error
are general strategies for conducting studies
Research Methods- consists of various approaches to the observation, measurement, manipulation, and control of variables in empirical
studies
Advantages of the Scientific Approach
Looking for Laws: The Scientific Approach to Behavior
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
9:15 PM
Chapter 2 The Research Enterprise in Psychology Page 1

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Experiment- a research method in which the investigator manipulates a variable under carefully controlled conditions and observes whether any
changes occur in a second variable
Testing to see whether individuals with anxiety want to associate with others or be by themselves
Schachter's Experiment
Controlled or manipulated by the experimenter
Hypothesized to have some effect on the dependent variable
Independent Variable (X)- a condition or event that an experimenter varies in order to see its impact on another variable
Usually a measurement of some aspect of the participants' behavior
Dependent Variable (Y)- variable that is thought to be affected by manipulation of the independent variable
Independent and Dependent Variables
Experimental Group- consists of the 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
Any differences between the two groups would be the result of the independent variable
Both groups are alike in everything except for the variables created by the manipulation
Experimental and Control Groups
Experimenters concentrate on ensuring that experimental and control groups are alike on a limited number of variables that co uld have a
bearing on the results of the study
Control and experimental groups do not have to be identical in every respect
Extraneous Variables- any variables other than the independent variables that seem likely to influence the dependent variable in a specific
study
When extraneous is confounded with an independent, a researcher cannot tell which is having what effect on the dependent vari able
Random assignment- occurs when all subject have an equal change of being assigned to any group or condition in the study
To prevent some of the mistakes, subjects are usually assigned to experimental and control groups randomly
Confounded variables can greatly wreck experiments
Confounding of Variables- occurs when two variables are linked together in a way that makes it difficult to sort out their specific effects
Extraneous Variables
Experimental condition
Control condition
Effects of the independent variable are evaluated by exposing this single group to two conditions:
Sometimes advantageous to use only one group of subjects who serve as their own control group (
Within-Subjects design
)
Have different combinations of independent variables
Interaction- the effect of one variable depends on the effect of another
See whether or not the two variables interact
It is possible to manipulate more than one independent variable in a single experiment
To get a more complete picture of how experimental manipulations affect subjects' behavior
It is also possible to use more than one dependent variable in a single study
Variations in Designing Experiments
Permits conclusions about cause-and-effect relationships between variables
Advantages
Not conducted in real life experiences
Experiments are often artificial
Some factors cannot be manipulated because of ethical concerns and practical realities
Can't be used to explore some research questions
Disadvantages
Advantages and Disadvantages of Experimental Research
Looking for Causes: Experimental Research
Thurs day, November 22, 2012
3:29 PM
Chapter 2 The Research Enterprise in Psychology Page 2
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