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Chapter 2

Research Methods in Psychology


Chapter 2 Preview
The Research Process

Psychological Measurement

Ethical Issues in Human and Animal Research

Becoming a Critical Consumer of Research

Recapping Main Points


The Process of Research

All events-physical,
Theory

behavioral, and mental-


determined by specific ,
potentially knowable
causal factors
The Process of Research
Determinism:
Doctrine that all events
physical, behavioral, and
mental are determined by
specific causal factors that are
potentially knowable
The Process of Research

Initial phase of research:


Theory
Organized set of concepts
Step 1 that explains a phenomenon
or set of phenomena
Psychologists use theories to
formulate research questions
The Process of Research

Develop a
hypothesis
Step 2 Hypothesis: A tentative
and testable explanation
of the relationship
between two (or more)
events or variables
The Process of Research

Design the study

Step 3
The Process of Research

Scientific Method: Set of procedures used for gathering and


interpreting objective information in a
way that minimizes error and yields
dependable generalizations

Goal is to draw conclusions with


maximum objectivity
The Process of Research
A Challenge to Objectivity

Observer Bias
Distortion of evidence because of
personal motives and expectations
of viewer
The Process of Research
Observer Bias: The Remedy

Standardization
Set of uniform procedures for treating each
participant

Defined in terms of the specific operation or


procedure used to determine its presence
Operational
definition

All variables in research study must be given


operational definitions
The Process of Research
Research Variables:

Independent
Variables are factors
Variable
in experimental
setting that change
in amount and kind Dependent Variable
Research Variables

Factor that is manipulated by researcher


Independent
Variable:

Causal part of relationship

Variable that experimenter measures to assess impact of


variation in independent variable
Dependent
Variable:

Dependent outcome that is observed from manipulation


of independent variable
Experimental Method: Alternative
Explanations and Need for Control

Used to overcome causal


Experimental

ambiguity
Methods

Researcher manipulates an
independent variable to look
at its effect on dependent
variable
Elements of
Experiment
Experimental Method
Alternative explanations Challenge to Objectivity

Confounding variables
to research

These can result from Expectancy effects

Placebo effect
Experimental Method
Confounding Variable
Variable other than what experimenter
purposely introduced that affects
participants behavior

Confounding variables add confusion and


place interpretation of data at risk
Experimental Method

Expectancy Effects
Results occur when researchers
or observers subtly communicate
to participants kind of behavior
they expect, therefore, creating
expected reaction and/or
outcome
Experimental Method

Placebo Effect
Occurs when experimental
participants change their
behavior in absence of any
kind of experimental
manipulation
Experimental Method: The Remedy

Consistent procedures for


giving instructions, responses,
and holding all other variables
constant except those being
Control Procedures systematically varied
Double-blind control
Placebo control
Between-subjects designs
Within-subjects designs
Experimental Method: The Remedy

Experimental
procedure in which
experimenter and
Double-blind
subject are unaware
Control
as to who received
the treatment
Experimental Method: The Remedy

Inclusion of
experimental
Placebo Control condition in which
treatment is not
administered
Experimental Method: The Remedy

Within-subjects
Design
Between-subjects Each participant is his or
her own control
Design
Different groups of
participants are
randomly assigned to
experimental conditions
or to control conditions
Experimental Method: The Remedy

Population:
Entire set of
Representation individuals to which
generalizations will
Sample: be made based on
Sample: Subset of population experimental sample
being studied
Subset of population
selected as
participants in an
experiment
Correlational Methods

Correlational Methods Correlational


Determine to what extent Coefficient (r)
two variables, traits, or Indicates degree of
attributes are related relationship between two
Do NOT imply causation variables
Positive and
Negative
Correlations
Psychology in Your Life
Does wishful thinking affect how you evaluate
information?

As you go through life making judgments


about how to assess information, think what
you might do to keep wishful thinking out of
the process.
Psychological Measurement

Degree to
which test
produces Extent to which
similar scores test measures
Reliability each time it is Validity what it was
used intended to test
Stability,
consistency
Psychological Measurement

Behavior
identified
Self- through
report participants
Measures own
observations
and reports
Psychological Measurement

Overt actions
and reactions
Behavioral
Measures
that are
observed and
recorded
Psychological Measurement

Behavior is Naturally
clearly visible occurring
and is easily behavior is
Direct Naturalistic
observations recorded observations
viewed without
attempting to
Can be aided change or
by technology interfere
Psychological Measurement

Information taken
from existing
records
Archival Examples include
birth and death
Data records, weather
reports, voting
patterns, and
attendance figures
Psychological Measurement

Intensive
observation of

Case particular
individual
Case study can also
Study involve intensive
observation of
small group of
individuals
Ethical Issues in Research
Ethical Issues in Research

Factors the
review Informed Risk/Gain
board Consent Assessment
consider:

Intentional
Debriefing
Deception
Ethical Issues in Research

Informed Risk/Gain
Consent Assessment
Research participants are
asked to sign statements Risks to participants must
indicating they have been be minimized, especially in
informed as to potential studies of more personal
risks and benefits of study aspects of behavior
and consent to participate
Ethical Issues in Research
Intentional
Deception
For some research it is
not possible to tell
participants the
intention of the study
without biasing results

American Psychological
Association has strict
rules on use of
deception
Ethical Issues in Research

Debriefing

At the end of all studies


each participant must
be provided with as
much information
about study as possible
Ethical Issues in Research

Issues in Animal
Research

Should animals be
used in
psychological and
medical research?
Critical Thinking in Your Life
Why is skill with numbers important?

How might you choose a statistics format to


influence public opinion?

Is it ethical to manipulate statistics to make a


point you believe is important? Why? Why
not?
Recapping Chapter 2 Main Points
The Process of Research

Observer Bias and Operational Definitions


Experimental Methods
Controls
Correlational Methods

Psychological Measurement

Reliability and Validity


Self Report
Observations

Copyright Pearson Education 2010


Recapping Chapter 2 Main Points

Ethical Issues in Human and Animal Research

Informed Consent
Deception and Debriefing
Animal Research

Becoming a Critical Consumer of Research