Final Exam Notes
Chapter 2: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
What is Scientific Inquiry?
A way of finding answers to empirical questions- questions that are answered by observing and measuring *
4 basic goals:
Describing what happens
Predicting when it happens
Controlling what causes it to happen
Explaining why it happens
Researchers use a general approach known as the scientific method *
Scientific method reflects a dynamic interaction of 3 essential elements: 1.
A theory - an explanation or model of how something in the world works 2.
A good theory should generate a hypothesis - a specific, testable prediction about the outcome that would best supports the theory. (If the theory is reasonably accurate, the hypothesis should be supported) 3.
Once the hypothesis is developed, research must be done- this involved collecting data which tests the hypothesis
Once research is performed, one returns to the theory and evaluates it. *
The theory will either be supported, require modification, or discarded fully. Then the process starts again! *
Generally, scientific findings that have replicated outcomes are more reliable. *
Replication involves repeating a study and getting the same or similar results
What Are The Types of Studies in Psychological Research?
3 main types:
All research involves variables (=anything that can be measured and that can vary)
(1) Descriptive Studies:
Also called observational studies
Involve observing an classifying behavior, either with no intervention by the observer (=naturalistic observation), or with intervention by the observer (=participant observation) *
Advantages: valuable in early stages of research, when trying to determine if a phenomenon exists *
Disadvantages: errors in observation can occur because of an observer's expectations (=observers bias). The observers presence can change the behavior being witnessed (=reactivity) *
Longitudinal studies are a type of study that involves observing and classifying developmental changes that occur over time (either with or without the observers intervention) *
Cross-sectional studies are a type of study that involves observing and classifying developmental changes that occur within different groups or people at the same time. This is faster and less expensive than longitudinal studies. *
Experimenter expectancy effect is the actual change in the behavior of people or animals being observed because of the observer bias
Examines how variables are naturally related in the real world-- without attempt to alter them by the researcher *
Advantages: relies on naturally occurring relationships and may take place in a real world setting *
Disadvantages: can’t be used to support casual relationships, cant show the direction of the cause/effect relationship between variables- a directionality problem, and an unidentified variable may become involved (third variable problem=when the experimenter cannot directly manipulate the independent variable and therefore can’t be confident that another, unmeasured variable, is not the actual cause of the differences in the dependent variable. Instead A causing B, it is possible that there may be a C.)
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