Chapter 4: Research Methods in the Study of Psychopathology04/15/2014
Theory: body of principles offered to explain a set of observations
Other research terms:
A specific, testable, and predictive statement
Must be “manageable” in order to effectively conduct research
Precise descriptions of all aspects of the hypothesis, so that measurements can be made
5 Ws, how much?
What definitions do we need to research this statement: “children who play violent video games behavior
more aggressively” ?
Scientific Method: gather evidence formulate a theory
Goals of Psychological Research
Three additional responsibilities of researches are to share/publish, critique, and replicate results 3 Basic Methods of Research
(Naturalistic) Observation: to describe
What is the nature of this thing?
Features: observations of behavior in the environment in which it typically occurs
Strengths: provides descriptive data about behavior presumably uncontaminated
by outside influences; can provide initial rich data about rare, novel, unstudied
phenomenon; can disprove hypothesis
Pitfalls: observer bias and participant selfconsciousness can distort results
Personal story: knowing from experience, like from diaries or interviews
Ethnography: witnessing a group from the inside without interfering
Case study: very, very in depth information about one individual or group or system
Archival analysis: in depth analysis about accumulated records, historical information
Correlation: to show relationship
If I know X, can I predict Y?
Features: examine relationships between 2 or more variables as they exist naturally
Strengths: can test predictions, evaluate theories, suggest new hypotheses
Pitfalls: cannot infer causal relationships between variables
“Perfect” correlation is represented by the number 1 (perfect prediction – if you know one score you know
the other score)
“Positive” correlation is where both variables are “high”
“Negative” correlation is where one variable is “high” and the other is “low” “Neutral” or zero correlation indicates absence of relationship
Experiment: to demonstrate cause and effect (using manipulation/control)
Can I show that X or Y is a cause of the other?
Features: manipulation of independent variable(s) and measurement of its effects on dependent variable(s)
Strengths: can support or disconfirm a causeeffect relationship between
independent and dependent variables
Pitfalls: confounding variables usually prevent valid conclusions
Types of Experimen