Research Methods

  1. What are the 2 general goals of psychology?
    Finding out WHAT people do and WHY we do it
  2. Empirical Studies
    Information that is based on observations and measurements of reality. (how we objectively perceive the world)
  3. What must all findings in scientific methods be?
    • Replicable
    • Self-correcting
    • Reliable
  4. What is a replicable scientific approach?
    The research has to be conducted in a way where the findings of one researcher can be observed, replicated and verified by others (aka public verification)

    -Need to observe what we've done and replicate it
  5. What is a "self-correcting" scientific approach?
    Science is based on observable, measurable events, which increases chances that errors in methodology are caught.

    -The method is a "good theory" until a better one comes along, hence "self-correcting" or "tentative"

    • ex: "Clever Hans" horse can do arithmetic
    •     -horse can do math based on human body language. but when the horses eyes were closed, he couldn't do math anymore. So this theory had to be corrected.
  6. Principle of Falsifiability
    • "solvable problems"-- theories and hypotheses are testable and there is some possible verifiable way we can be wrong.
    • (must prove a statement to be true by stating the false claims (opposite facts) of it)

    • For any statement to be true, there must be things that can be said about that
    • statement which, if true, would make the statement false. And the
    • failure to prove the falsifiable statements true, strengthens the truth
    • claim of the original statement.

    • Ex: If I were a short, fat redhead, you could say that I wasn't a tall, skinny blonde. And if I
    • were a tall, skinny blonde that would falsify that I'm a short, fat redhead. There have to be statements that you can say about your claim which would falsify it if it were true
  7. Probabilistic
    • An inference (conclusion based on the basis of evidence and reasoning) that we make in research have probabilities associated with them
    • -<0.05 prob. that results could happen by chance
  8. Research Process
    • 1) Observe events
    • 2) Develop a theory (explain your observation)
    • 3) Make hypothesis: Test your theory by predicting what will happen
    • 4) Conduct empirical research
    • 5) Communicate your findings
  9. What do you do in an empirical research?
    • design a study
    • collect data
    • analyze results
    • draw conclusions
  10. Define theory
    idea of something you observed- for what people are doing and why they do it
  11. Scientific theories
    a collection of ideas whose purpose is to describe and predict a phenomenon

    determinism: everything is caused by some identifiable factors

    all theories are tentative
  12. What theories are good theories?
    • Testable
    • Parsimony
    • Fruitfulness
  13. Parsimony Theory
    • Referred to as the good theory.
    • The simplest explanation for a finding
  14. Fruitfulness Theory
    It raises new questions
  15. Operational Definition
    definition of a variable in terms of the actual procedures used bu the researcher to measure or manipulate it

    • for a hypothesis to be testable, it must be operationally defined
    • fulfills requirement of replicability
  16. Testable theory
    If a theory cannot be empirically tested, then it can never be falsified. There is no way of discovering if the theory is wrong.
  17. What are the 2 psychology research methods?
    • Direct observations
    • Indirect observations

    psychologists observe behavior and infer the mental processes related to that behavior
  18. Direct Observations
    When behavior or events are being observed when something happens
  19. 2 types of direct observations?
    -Laboratory observation and naturalistic observation
  20. Laboratory observation
    • -Observing people or animals behavior in a lab or controlled setting
    • behavior must be overt (done or shown openly), observable and easily recorded
    • can lack mundane realism
  21. Naturalistic Observation
    • Observing human behavior as it occurs in a real world setting
    • Researcher makes NO ATTEMPT to change or interfere with behavior
  22. Indirect Observation
    • Self-report measures
    • When the data is recorded by mechanical, photographic, and electronic means

    • Use this when variables are very difficult/impossible to observe
    • Based on a straightforward idea--if you want to know what people are thinking, ask them!

  23. What are some examples of Indirect Observations?
    Ex: case studies, interviews, psychological tests, surveys
  24. What are the 6 research methods?
    • Case history
    • naturalistic observation
    • Laboratory observation
    • survey
    • psychological tests
    • experiment
  25. Case study
    • Where you get all the details on one person.
    • A detailed description of a particular individual being studied or treated which may be used to formulate broader research hypotheses.

    These studies are often conducted because the individuals experience is highly unusual--their behavior allows us to reflect on what must be happening for all individuals.

    This study is more commonly used by clinicians, occasionally used by researchers.

    ex: Individuals who have brain injuries that produce specific, characteristic behavior. Case studies allow scientists to infer how the injured areas function within an intact brain.
  26. Psychological Tests
    • Test to score someone on quality
    • Procedures used to measure and evaluate personality traits, emotional states, aptitudes (natural ability to do something), interests, abilities and values

    Ex: Finding out if a person is outgoing or shy
  27. Surveys
    Questionnaires and interviews that ask people about experiences, attitudes or opinions

    • Self report of behavior and easiest data to collect
  28. What is important to keep in mind when giving out a survey?
    Random Sampling: ensures that people selected from the population for study (the sample) matches the population on important characteristics such as age, gender, ethnicity, education, etc.
  29. What are some cons to surveys?
    People must represent the general population! If not, the data is invalid.

    Some people have more opinion or attitude towards things. Ex: Do you recycle or not?

    • Popular polls and surveys rely on volunteers and sometimes that causes volunteers bias: volunteers who participate may differ from those who do not volunteer.
    • Ex: People who have more strong opinions say Yes to survey vs. people who don't
  30. What are the characteristics of a good observation?
    • standardization
    • reliability
    • validity
  31. Validity
    extent to which information produced by research or testing accurately measures the psychological variable it was intended to measure
Card Set
Research Methods
Psych 1, first midterm