
Naturalistic observation
a scientific method that describes how people or animals behave in their natural environment

Participant observation
a scientific method in which a researcher describes behavior as it occurs in its natural environment, and does so as a participant of the group being studied

Case study
a scientific method involving an indepth analysis off a single subject

Correlational research
a scientific method that assesses the nature of the relationship between two or more variables that are not controoled by the researcher

Survey
a structured set of questions or statements given to a group of people to measure their attitudes, beliefs, values, or behaviors

Correlation coefficient
the statistic, or numberical value, that psychologists use to describe the relationship between two variables

Advantages of Correlational Research
Predictionyou can predict the change in one variable by knowing the value of another variable

Disadvantages of Coreelational Research
Cannot determine the cause of the relationship between two cariables
Cannot rule out the possibility that a third, unmeasured cariable is causing the changes in both variables being studied

Experiment
A scientific method in which researchers manipulate, or change, a variable to observe the effect on some other variable

Independent variable
the variable that is manipulated in an experiment

Dependent variable
The variable that may change in response to the manipulated changes in the independent variable

Random Assignment
A procedure ensuring that all research participants have an equal chance of being placed into either the experimental of control conditions

Scientific Methods
consist of a set of procedures used to gather, analyze, and interpret information in a way that reduces error and leads to dependent conclusions

Critical Thinking
the process of deciding what to believe and how to act based on a careful evaluation of the evidence

Guidlines to Critical Thinking
 Be willing to ask questions
 analyze assumptions
 examine the evidence
 be caustious of emotional decisions
 tolerate uncertainty

Theory
an organized system of ideas that seeks to explain why two or more events are related

Hypothesis
an educated guess, or prediction, about the nature of things based on a theory

Sample
a group of subjects who ar selected to participate in a research study

Random Selection
A procedure for selecting a sample of people to study in which everyone in the population has an equal chance of being chosen

Variables
Factors in the study that can be measured and that are capable of changing, or varying

Operational Definition
A very clear description of how a variable has been measured

Replication
The repeating of an earlier study's scientific procedures, using different partcipants in an attempt to duplicate the findings

Statistics
a branch of mathematics that allows researches to organize, describe, and make meaningful inferences from data they collect

Descriptive Statistics
numbers that summarizes and describe data in a practical, efficient manner

Central Tendency
a number that describes the central location within a distribution of scores in a sample

Mean
arithmetic average of the distribution of scores for a particular variable

Median
middles core in a distribution of scores after you rank the scores from lowest to highest

Mode
the score that occures most frequently in a distribution

Normal Distribution
bellshaped curve that occurs on a graph when the mean, median, and mode are identical values

Standard Deviation
a measure of variation that indicates the average difference between the scores in a distribution and their mean

Inferential Statistics
the mathematical methods used to determine whether the data support or do not support the research hypothesis

