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Methods Used

Research Methods
• Systematic or Naturalistic Observation
• Case Study
How Psychologists Conduct • Survey Method
• Experimental Method
• Correlation Methods

Systematic or Naturalistic Advantages

You know the situation is real and
• Where researchers observe others not artificially set up.
and infer about what they are doing. • Can observe things that may cause
– Usually involves counting behaviors the behavior that you cannot do in
Often is conducted in field settings and the lab.
not in the lab
Can observe things where you
cannot do experiments.
Generally, provides a big picture

Disadvantages Case Study

• Observers can distort information • Is a major investigation of one unit.
The unit can be a:
• Results can change if the subject Individual
becomes aware they are being University
observed Town
• Isn’t very accurate
• Generally, is a detailed study of one
individual or thing

Advantages Disadvantages
• Can develop understanding not • Can be very inaccurate if done
obtained from examining poorly.
experimental findings. • Often gets biases from the person
• Usually do when you have no idea doing the study.
about what is going on. • Can get political pressure to achieve
some result.

Survey Method
• Involves giving questionnaires or • Can get a lot of information about a
interviews to measure something in a variety of things.
population. • Can get very sensitive information.
• Can measure
– a. attitudes
– b. behaviors
c. opinions

• Survey sample must be
representative of the population

Other Problems Experimental Method
• People lie • Most commonly used by all the
• Questions can be biased sciences
• Direct marketing in guise of surveys • Evaluates variables
has people leery of providing • A variable is anything that varies
information. over time
Two types

Independent Variable Dependent Variable

• The variable that is manipulated by • Is the variable that changes and
the experimenter which you observe
• The amount of money you are given
• The volume of noise that you are
presented with

Noise and Heart Rate

Vary 3 Levels of Noise Thing that you vary is noise
Low Medium High Independent Variable
Examine Heart Rate
Does the Heart Rate Thing you observe changes
Increase stay the same decrease in is heart rate
Dependent Variable
• Heart rate changes because you are
varying the level of noise

Advantages Disadvantages
• Can reach precise conclusions. • Ethical issues
x causes y to occur. • Can be artificial
– The lab is not the real world
– but it can be close
• Can hold lots of extraneous things Cannot measure some things with
constant that may influence the experiments.
outcome of a study. Attitudes

Correlational Method
• Correlation is way to estimate the CORRELATION DOES NOT
extent that two variables are related
• to each other
• However because two variables are
related does not mean that one
causes the other.


Ice Cream and Drowning.

Rooster crowing causes the sun to
come up

Your Genetics Cause
Alcoholism and other
Birth Control Pills Cause
Breast Cancer

Correlations are Expressed

as a Number .9 has a greater relationship
Numbers range between than a .4
+1 and –1
• The closer the number is to zero, the OR
less relationship there is.
or .3 has less relationship than a
• The closer the number is to plus or .8
minus 1, the more relationship
there is.


TELLS YOU HOW MUCH What does the plus or
THE VARIABLES ARE minus sign tell you.

Positive Correlation
• As one variable increases another High

variable increases.

Drinking beer and probability of puking. Low

The more beer you drink, the higher the Low High
likelihood that you will puke.
Probability of Puking

Negative correlation

• As one variable increases, another

variable decreases. Driving


Low High
• As beer consumption increases BAC
driving skill decreases.


• Can use with lots of variables and

• Are more precise than the case study
or observation methods.
• Can study variables you cannot do
experiments on.

• Cannot draw cause - effect
• Does not account for other variables CORRELATION DOES
that may actually control the NOT IMPLY CAUSATION.

Case Study