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Three Types of Research

Three Types of Research

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Published by: asghaznavi on Dec 04, 2007
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08/02/2013

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Three Types of Research1. Causal Reseach
When most people think of scientific experimentation, research on
cause andeffect
is most often brought to mind. Experiments on causal relationshipsinvestigate the effect of one or more variables on one or more outcome variables.This type of research also determines if one variable causes another variable tooccur or change. An example of this type of research would be altering theamount of a treatment and measuring the effect on study participants.
2. Descriptive ResearchDescriptive research
seeks to depict what already exists in a group or population. An example of this type of research would be an opinion poll todetermine which Presidential candidate people plan to vote for in the nextelection. Descriptive studies do not seek to measure the effect of a variable; theyseek only to describe.
3.Relational Research
A study that investigates the connection between two or more variables isconsidered
relational research.
The variables that are compared are generallyalready present in the group or population. For example, a study that looked atthe proportion of males and females that would purchase either a classical CD or a jazz CD would be studying the relationship between gender and musicpreference.
Theory and Hypothesis
A
theory
is a well-established principle that has been developed to explain someaspect of the natural word. A theory arises from repeated observation and testingand incorporates facts, laws, predictions, and tested hypotheses that are widelyaccepted.A
hypothesis
is a specific, testable prediction about what you expect to happenin your study. For example, a study designed to look at the relationship betweenstudy habits and test anxiety might have a hypothesis that states, “This study isdesigned to assess the hypothesis that students with better study habits willsuffer less test anxiety.” Unless your study is exploratory in nature, your hypothesis should always explain what you
expect
to happen during the courseof your experiment or research.While the terms are sometimes used interchangeably in general practice, thedifference between a theory and a hypothesis is important when studyingexperimental design.Some important distinctions to note include:
1
 
A theory predicts events in general terms, while a hypothesis makes aspecific prediction about a specified set of circumstances.
A theory is has been extensively tested and is generally accepted, while ahypothesis is a speculative guess that has yet to be tested.
Effect of Time in Psychology Research
There are two types of time dimensions that can be used in designing a researchstudy.
1.
Cross-sectional research
takes place at a single point in time.
o
All tests, measures, or variables are administered to participants on oneoccasion.
o
This type of research seeks to gather data on present conditions instead of looking at the effects of a variable over a period of time.
2.
Longitudinal research
is a study that takes place over a period of time.
o
Data is first collected at the outset of the study, and may then be gatheredrepeatedly throughout the length of the study.
o
Some longitudinal studies may occur over a short period of time, such as afew days, while others may take place over a period of decades.
o
The effects of aging are often investigated using longitudinal research.
Causal Relationships Between Variables
What do we mean when we talk about a “relationship” between variables? Inpsychological research, we are referring to a connection between two or morefactors that we can measure or systematically vary.One of the most important distinctions to make when discussing the relationshipbetween variables is the meaning of 
causation
.
A
causal relationship
is when one variable
causes
a change in another variable. These types of relationships are investigated by experimentalresearch in order to determine if changes in one variable truly causeschanges in another variable.
Correlational Relationships Between Variables
A
correlation
is the measurement of the relationship between two variables.These variables already occur in the group or population and are not controlledby the experimenter.
A
positive correlation
is a direct relationship where as the amount of onevariable increases, the amount of a second variable also increases.
2
 
In a
negative correlation
, as the amount of one variable goes up, the levelsof another variable go down.
In both types of correlation, there is no evidence or proof that changes in onevariable
cause
changes in the other variable. A correlation simply indicatesthat there is a relationship between the two variables.The most important concept to take from this is that
correlation does not equalcausation
.Many popular media sources make the mistake of assuming that simply becausetwo variables are related that there a causal relationship exists.
Q. What is Validity?
A. Validity is the extent to which a test measures what it claims to measure. It isvital for a test to be valid in order for the results to be accurately applied andinterpreted.Validity isn’t determined by a single statistic, but by a body of research thatdemonstrates the relationship between the test and the behavior it is intended tomeasure. There are three types of validity:
Content validity:
When a test has content validity, the items on the test represent the entire rangeof possible items the test should cover. Individual test questions may be drawnfrom a large pool of items that cover a broad range of topics.In some instances where a test measures a trait that is difficult to define, anexpert judge may rate each item’s relevance.Because each judge is basing their rating on opinion, two independent judgesrate the test separately. Items that are rated as strongly relevant by both judgeswill be included in the final test.
Criterion-related Validity:
A test is said to have criterion-related validity when the test is demonstrated to beeffective in predicting criterion or indicators of a construct. There are two differenttypes of criterion validity:
Concurrent Validity
occurs when the criterion measures are obtained at thesame time as the test scores. This indicates the extent to which the testscores accurately estimate an individual’s current state with regards to thecriterion. For example, on a test that measures levels of depression, the testwould be said to have concurrent validity if it measured the current levels of depression experienced by the test taker.
Predictive Validity
occurs when the criterion measures are obtained at atime after the test. Examples of test with predictive validity are career or aptitude tests, which are helpful in determining who is likely to succeed or failin certain subjects or occupations.
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