Fundamentals of Research Methodology

Topics: Scientific method, Quantitative research, Psychology Pages: 4 (1216 words) Published: December 2, 2010
Fundamentals of Research Methodology Paper

Psychology is a discipline which seeks to study the thoughts and actions of men in a scientific way. Science is a marvelous development in the history of human thought. The American Heritage Dictionary defines psychology as the science dealing with the mind, mental and emotional processes, and the science of human behavior. It defines science as systemized knowledge derived from observations and study. Scientific study is a way of understanding life and developing theories based on what is observed (Simonton, 2009). Psychologists develop theories and conduct psychological research to answer questions about behavior and mental processes that impact individuals and society.

The scientific method, a means to gain knowledge, refers to ways in which questions are asked and the logic and methods used to gain answers. Two important characteristics of the scientific method are an empirical and a skeptical attitude (Simonton, 2009). An empirical approach, which relies on direct observation and experimentation for answering questions, was critical for developing the science of psychology (Shaughnessy, Zechmeister, & Zechmeister, 2009). Scholars wanted to study human nature with the goal of using the scientific method to observe, record, and treat human behavior that had formerly been described as unnatural. They believed that if people could be studied in a scientific manner, there would be a greater accuracy in understanding a present behavior, predicting future behavior, and altering behavior through scientific intervention. The scientific method is characterized by a reliance on empirical procedures, rather than relying on intuition and by an attempt to control the investigation of these factors believed responsible for a phenomenon (Shaughnessy, Zechmeister & Zechmeister, 2009). The scientific method works well in observing and recording physical data and in researching conclusions which either...

References: Wilson, E.B. (1952). An introduction to scientific research. McGraw-Hill: New York,
Salkind, Neil. (2009). Exploring research. 7th edition. Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.
Simonton, D.K. (2009). Applying the psychology of science to the science of psychology. Journal of Applied Psychology, 4(1), 2-4.
Shaughnessy, J.J., Zechmeister, E.B. & Zechmeister, J.S. (2009). Research methods in psychology. (8th edition). New York: McGraw-Hill.
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