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Chapter Two Scientific Method
Transcript of Chapter Two Scientific Method
Psychology's Scientific Method
Types of Psychological Research
Research Samples &
The Five Steps of the Scientific Method
A. The Scientific Approach and The Five Steps of the Scientific Method
As a way to more closely resemble the population, the researcher uses a
A sample is a subset of the population chosen by the investigator for study.
1. Observing some phenomenon
2. Formulating hypothesis & predictions
3. Testing through empirical research
4. Drawing conclusions
5. Evaluating the theory
J.R.Celski, bronze winner of the 1500-meter speed-skating event in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.
Researchers observed the silver medalists generally looked less happy than the bronze medalists whom they had just beaten.
of past Olympic metal winners' overall happiness to determine that “achieving third is apparently 'all good' in their eyes.”
This example demonstrates how psychologists can take an observation from everyday life, develop a theory that might explain that observation, and then test their ideas systematically using the scientific method.
Science is not defined by what it investigates, but by
Using the scientific method is what makes psychology a science.
The scientific method follows the following five steps:
Observing some Phenomenon
a. The first step in scientific research is observing some phenomenon in the world.
b. The phenomena that scientists study are called
(anything that can
change; ex. happiness)
Formulating Hypotheses and Predictions
a. The second step in conducting scientific research is stating a
, an educated guess that derives logically from a
Testing Through Empirical Research
. Test the hypothesis by collecting and analyzing data
. Here it is time to design a study that will test the
predictions that are based on the theory.
. The researcher must provide an
how a variable is going to be measured and observed.
This is called an
Devising satisfactory operational definitions for the variables in a study is a crucial step in designing psychological research.
To study anything, we have to have a way to see it or measure it.
. Based on what was found after the data analysis, researchers can draw conclusions.
. A research finding is considered
when the study has been
again and again and yields similar findings
The final step in the scientific method is one that never really ends. Researchers submit their work for publication and it undergoes rigorous review.
. The research community maintains an active conversation about what scientists know, and this dialogue constantly questions conclusions.
is about describing some phenomenon, determining its basic dimensions and defining what this thing is, how often it occurs and so on.
: requires an important set of skills. You need to know what you are looking for and how to document and communicate your observations effectively.
Surveys & Interviews:
When information needs to be taken from a large group
people, a survey can be used. A survey consists of questions about a person’s attitudes or beliefs about a topic.
Surveys and interviews can be problematic though, b/c sometimes participants will answer the questions in a way they believe is socially acceptable instead of how they really feel.
Surveys and interviews can examine a wide range of topics, from religious beliefs to sexual habits to attitudes about gun control.
A case study or case history is an
in-depth look at a single individual. Case studies are performed mainly by clinical psychologists.
Famous Case Studies In Psychology
The Wallet Drop:
Are people honest?
What might the hypothesis be?
Correlational research is conducted when studies are concerned with identifying the
between two or more variables so it can be understood how the variables change together.
Correlation does not equal causation
This means that a correlation between two variables only states that there is a relationship.
There is the risk of a third extraneous variable
Third Variable Problem:
Can you identify a possible third variable in this correlational study?
A researcher measures a correlation between two variables: the number of ice cream cones sold in a town and violent crimes ( a positive correlation)
It appears "Ice cream consumption leads to violence"
When one or more of the variables is manipulated while the other is held constant, the research is called an experiment.
Random assignment occurs when the researcher assigns the participants to groups by chance.
Independent and Dependent Variables
Experimental and Control Groups
Independent and Dependent Variables
variable is the variable that is manipulated in an experiment. ex. amt of alcohol consumed
variable is the result of the manipulation of the independent variable. Researchers measure changes in the dependent variable. ex. reaction time
Experimental and Control Groups
is the group whose variable is manipulated.
is exactly like the experimental group except there is no manipulation of the variable. The control group is used as a comparison group.
Some Cautions about Experimental Research
refers to whether the experiment studied what it was supposed to study.
b. External validity
refers to whether the experimental design is representative of real world issues.
"Components of the Experiment"
With your groups, go over Components of an experiment
a. the independent and dependent variables.
b. which is the experimental and control groups.
with your groups
a. identify the direction of the
b. the strength of the correlation.
With your groups,
consider your assigned research term and design an operational definition.
an operational definition provides an objective description of how a variable is going to be measured and observed in a particular study.
The researcher also wants to be able to draw conclusions from the results that will apply to a larger group of people or animals. This larger group is known as the
All three types of research discussed can take place in different physical settings.
takes place in a controlled environment where the complex factors of the real world are removed.
When research is conducted in a natural setting, it is
People’s behaviors are being observed in real-world situations.
1.The consideration of ethical standards came about after Nazi doctors in concentration camps were using prisoners as guinea pigs in their experiments.
2.Researchers have an obligation to the research participant to anticipate issues their study might cause and to inform participants of possible side effects or consequences. (
Conducting Ethical Research
a. The American Psychological Association (APA) developed guidelines for researchers to follow
b. Researchers must obtain
from the participants prior to the experiment. The participants must know in advance what will be involved and what, if any, risks there might be.
c. Researchers are responsible for the confidentiality of all the data collected from the participants in the experiment.
is allowed in an experiment if telling the participants in advance about the expected outcome of the study could potentially alter the participants’ behavior. (Milgram's famous study of obedience)
Nonhuman animals are used in
only 7 to 8% of psych research
(mostly rats and mice)
Animal research produces breakthroughs in medical research, drugs, understanding the brain, sensation and perception, learning, stress and many others.
Psychologists follow strict procedures for ethical tx of animal research subjects.
(Seligmans' research on learned helplessness)
Looking at the Week Ahead...
Looking at the week ahead:
Email me with any questions.
Value of Descriptive research:
Descriptive research often explores intriguing topics; such as the experience of happiness.
Using a 7 point
, answer the following survey questions and find out how satisfied you are with your life.
To find out your score, add up your ratings and divide by 5. This average could be considered your level of general happiness.
In This Chapter.....
The types of research in psychology (basic and applied)
The scientific method
Research methods used in psychology
Ethical Guidelines in research
is a prediction that can be tested
Case histories provide dramatic, detailed portrayals of people's lives. The subject of a case study is unique and may not be generalizable
Have a Great Week!!
Types of Research
focuses on fundamental principles and theories to advance core scientific knowledge
classical and operant conditioning principles explain human and animal behavior
designed to solve practical, real-world problems
behavior modification research uses operant conditioning to change behavior and treat psychological disorders
Rosenhan's study, On Being Sane in Insane Places
Using naturalistic observation, Rosenhan's intent was to determine if it were possible to
distinguish between those who
"deserve" a psychiatric label
and those who should be
c. As scientists consider answers to their questions, they often develop theories.
is a broad idea or set of related ideas that attempts to explain
observations. ex. bronze winners are generally happier than silver due to
"what might have been" thinking.
Observing some Phenomenon cont..