Understanding the Research Process Based on: Psychology Course Companion; John Crane, Jette Hannibal
How do psychologistsprove their theories? You decide that you are going to prove that: being an organized student has NO or a BIG impact on students’ grades. How would you go about proving this theory? Brainstorm with two or three other students.
Researchers Need A plan People willing to participate in the study A method for collecting and analyzing the data
Aim – the purpose of the study. It indicates which behavior or mental process will be studied Target population – these are the group who is being investigated
Procedure – the step-by-step process used by the researcherto carry out the study. Proceduremustbe carefully written so that it is replicable. Findings – states how the researcher interpreted the data that were collected. Must be interpret in terms of the culture in which it was conducted.
A Classic Study: The Pygmalion effect Rosenthal and Jacobson, 1968 http://fcis.oise.utoronto.ca/~daniel_sc/assignment1/1968rosenjacob.html State the aim, procedure and findings of this study undertaken by Rosenthal and Jacobson Whatisself-fulfillingprophecy? (giveanexemple of it from yourexperience)
Participants who should be in the study? Participants – peoplewho take part in a psychological study Target population –specific group group, which psychologists are interested in Representative sampling – is a samplewhichrepresentwholepopulation
Pick your participants You want to replicate the Pygmalion effect experiment. How would you go about picking your participants?
Kinds of Sampling Opportunity sampling– whoeverbe there and agrees toparticipate. Easy to get them, but often lead to biased results Sampling bias – 2/3 of research done at universities uses exclusively students to participate! Can you see a problem?
Kinds of Sampling Self-selected sample –volunteers. Easy to obtain and usually highly motivated, but don’t always reflect whole population. the example:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Br9goVGNPzc Snowball sampling– Participants recruit other participants from among their friends and acquaintances. Self- selectedsample
Random Sampling – sampling where every member of the target population has an equal chance of being selected. Draw names out of a hat Stratified Sample- draws random samples from each subpopulation in the group If school has 20% Roma students, then the sample must include 20% of thissubpopulation– so the sample is the most accurate reflection of the actual distribution of the school population.
Your Turn: Be a researcher You want to make a study of people’s motivation to engage in exercise. You decide to go to the local fitness center and conduct some interviews. Discuss the following: If you use an opportunity sample at a local fitness center, which group of people would be overrepresented? Which group would be underrepresented? Would you get a more representative sample if you advertised for participants in your school?
Ethics in Research Informed Consent Deception Debriefing Withdrawal from a study Confidentiality Protection from physical or mental harm
Check it out Review the research carried out by Rosenthal and Jacobson- the Pygmalioneffect. Was this study ethical? Discuss your reasons.
Evaluating Findings Interpretingfindingisanessentialskill for a psychologist. One waythat a studycan be evaluatedis to assesswhetherithasanypracticalapplications. Application – how the theory or empirical studyisused Studies of neurotransmitters are used to develop drugs to treat depression, schizophrenia Research on effect of light on mood Use of memory research improves how we take evidence from eyewitness testimony
Validity and Reliability VALIDITY Whatdoestitmeasure? Temperatureorperspirationlevel RELIABILITY Doesit show 36,6 degreewhenyouarehealthy? Doesitproduce the same readings in the same circumstances?
Validity- the researchismeasuringwhatitissupposed to measure Ecological Validity the study representswhat happens in real life If took place in a laboratory may lack e.v. If it was so well controlled (in lab) that normal influences were eliminated, may lack e.v. If stydylacks ofe.v. it may not predict what will happen outside of lab Cross-cultural Validity Is studyrelevantto other cultures? If not, it may be ethnocentric and based on values and beliefs of one culture
Reliability – questionariesproducethe same resultswhen re-testedon the same peopleatdifferenttimes results canbe replicated if another research uses the exact same procedure, it should give the same results
Points to Consider with Empirical Studies Is the study based on a representative group of people (sample)? Is there a bias in the sample? Is one group overrepresented? Was the study conducted in a lab or in a natural setting? Lab setting is artificial. It isn’t possible to be certain that participants act as they would in real life Were the participants asked to do things that are far from real life? Remembering nonsense syllables? Lacks ecological validity
Points to Consider with Empirical Studies 4. Are the findings of the studysupported/questioned by the findings of other studies? Consider in what ways the findings are different and try to explain how and why. Maybe you can suggest which study was better designed and showwhich results seem to be more valid 5. Do the findings have practical relevance? Consider how the study is applied to real life situations 6. Ethical considerations