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What is a science revised 2011
What is a science revised 2011
What is a science revised 2011
What is a science revised 2011
What is a science revised 2011
What is a science revised 2011
What is a science revised 2011
What is a science revised 2011
What is a science revised 2011
What is a science revised 2011
What is a science revised 2011
What is a science revised 2011
What is a science revised 2011
What is a science revised 2011
What is a science revised 2011
What is a science revised 2011
What is a science revised 2011
What is a science revised 2011
What is a science revised 2011
What is a science revised 2011
What is a science revised 2011
What is a science revised 2011
What is a science revised 2011
What is a science revised 2011
What is a science revised 2011
What is a science revised 2011
What is a science revised 2011
What is a science revised 2011
What is a science revised 2011
What is a science revised 2011
What is a science revised 2011
What is a science revised 2011
What is a science revised 2011
What is a science revised 2011
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What is a science revised 2011

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Themes and Issues Module

Themes and Issues Module

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  • 1. What is “Science”? (and the characteristics of scientific work.)
  • 2. Objectives of this session?
    • To introduce you to the characteristics of a ‘science’.
    • To identify the characteristics that makes psychology a ‘science’.
    • To describe how these may appear in the work of psychology.
    • To acknowledge some limitations that occur in the work of psychology.
  • 3. Why is this important?
    • The characteristics of the scientific approach separate psychology into a professional discipline.
    • It is an on-going challenge we face as we explore a topic in psychology, to see where and how this can be - or has been - approached scientifically.
  • 4. Psychology is….
    • …’ a funny kind of science, because the object of its scrutiny is also the one doing the scrutinising. Psychologists typically do the best they can to ignore this little complication’.
        • Funder 2010: p473
  • 5. References
    • Funder, D. (2010) The Personality Puzzle
    • Passer, M., Smith, R., Holt, N., Bremner, A., Sutherland, E., Vliek, M. (2009). Psychology: The Science of Mind and Behaviour.
    • Reason, P. and Rowan, J. (1981). Human Inquiry: A sourcebook of new paradigm research.
    • Sternberg, R.J. (1994). In Search of the Human Mind.
  • 6.
    • ‘ A’ Level Students?
      • Revisit scientific method.
      • Understand how and why psychology evolves.
    • Students new to psychology?
      • Components and cycle of scientific method. (the research cycle).
      • Understand how psychology changes via this method.
  • 7. Where does the thought of ‘science’ take you? (Source: einstein.stanford.edu)
  • 8. Important acknowledgement:
    • There is ‘science’ (discipline):
      • E.g. The natural sciences, physics, chemistry biology etc.
      • We have seen about 100 years of psychology attempting to make itself a natural science.
      • (Upper right hand quadrant of the next slide? Misses out on a lot of areas of psychology??)
    • There is ‘science’ as a process:
      • E.g. the research cycle. Now more commonly used as the argument for psychology being a ‘science’.
  • 9. ‘ I ‘ Interior individual ‘ IT ’ Exterior Individual – Objective measures ‘ We ’ Collective Cultural ‘ ITS ’ Social system Environment (Adapted and developed from different writing of Ken Wilber.) Psychodynamics. Instincts. Ego. Id. Intrapersonal. Phenomenology. Self-actualization. Experimental psychology. Cognitive psychology. ‘ Brain’. ‘Organism’. Behaviourism. Interpersonal. Relationships. ‘ Object relations’ theory Group psychology? Family ‘system’. ‘Super ego’? Humanistic psychology. Cross-cultural psychology. ‘ Generalized’ psychology. Organisational psychology. Source of the ‘super ego’?
  • 10. What is Science?
    • From ‘Bell (2002)’:
    • Dictionary definition of ‘science’:
      • “… a branch of systematised knowledge … something that may be studied or learned systematically … the possession of knowledge … as opposed to ignorance or misunderstanding”. (Longman Dictionary.)
  • 11. What is science?
    • From the Latin: “scire” – “to know”.
    • Characterised by “if – then” knowledge.
    • “ Identifying universal cause-and-effect relationships.” (p78).
    • Knowledge of how the world works. For the purposes of prediction and control .
    • Based on theories – giving us a means of making predictions. (p83).
  • 12. The ‘research cycle’. The ‘scientific process’. Theory Question Hypothesis Prediction Identifying a method appropriate to the research question. Data gathering Controlled conditions. Defined methods and standards. Data analysis A means appropriate to both research question and data. Results Data? Proven theory? New theory? Something else? New research ideas? (Start the cycle again??) Report results
  • 13. This illustrates how ‘scientists’ think and work:
    • Recognise a problem (or question).
    • Define a problem (or question). Predict an answer.
    • Constructing a strategy / method to explore or answer a problem.
    • Obtaining and organising information to examine a problem or question.
    • Evaluation (and decisions on more work).
    (Adapted from Sternberg 1994: p31).
  • 14. What is science ?
    • These descriptions highlight one primary research approach: ‘nomothetic’.
      • ‘ Nomothetic’: “The search for generalities and similarities between people”.
      • This leaves aspects of our lives unexplored.
      • ‘ Ideographic’ research methods: Person-centred. Individual. E.g. subjective or inner life experiences.
  • 15. The Goals of Psychological Research?
    • Description.
    • Explanation.
    • Prediction.
    • Control.
    (Adapted from Sternberg 1994: p31). ‘ Knowledge’ Use of knowledge
  • 16. Characteristics of scientific findings (From Sternberg 1994: p6 - 12)
    • Verifiable.
    • Cumulative.
    • Public.
    • Parsimonious.
  • 17. Characteristics of scientific findings
    • Verifiable:
      • Accurate reporting. (A discipline in / of writing.)
      • A means of confirming findings.
      • The ability to replicate the ‘experiment’ and its findings.
      • The outcome is ‘reliable’ and ‘valid’.
  • 18. Characteristics of scientific findings (2)
    • Cumulative:
      • Reliance on, and building on the work of others. (We can’t research everything ourselves.)
      • We widen and extend existing paths of knowledge…
      • Or can create a ‘new paradigm’. (“A theoretical system that provides an over-arching model for organising theories.”)
  • 19. Characteristics of scientific findings (3)
    • Public:
      • Ideas, research outcomes, enter the public domain.
      • Peer scrutiny and reaction. Possibility for evaluation and comments.
      • Allows others to extend or build on ideas, theories or research outcomes.
  • 20. Characteristics of scientific findings (4)
    • ‘ Parsimonious’:
      • “ It is vain to do more with what can be done with fewer”. (William Occam.)
      • Hypotheses and outcomes stated in relatively few words.
      • “ A scientific explanation is somehow more concise, more convenient, more accessible and more comprehensible than what it explains.”
  • 21. Misconceptions of Science? (From Sternberg 1994)
    • Science is always correct.
      • It might be ‘wrong’ or incomplete.
    • Science is always conducted via and idealised method.
      • Method can support the exploration of ‘mistakes’ or the unexpected.
  • 22. Misconceptions of Science? (2)
    • Science is always conducted with ‘objectivity’.
      • This is a goal, an aspiration. We always bring in values and beliefs into our work. The challenge is how we ‘manage’ this.
    • Science is merely ‘facts’.
      • ‘ Facts’ exist in the context of a ‘theory’.
      • Theories guide observation and experimentation.
      • Theories can be influenced culturally and historically.
  • 23. Thinking Feeling Sensing Intuition Analytical Scientist Conceptual Theorist Particular Humanist Conceptual Humanist (Reason and Rowan 1981:p45)
  • 24. Ethical standards in psychology?
    • ‘ Informed consent’ before participation.
      • Purpose.
      • Potential benefits.
      • Potential risks.
      • Right to decline and withdraw.
      • Confidentiality and privacy.
    (Passer ‘et al’ 2009: p47)
  • 25. How does psychology ‘do science’? Funder 2010 p21-58
  • 26. Challenging our views of science? Source: alf.ifj.edu.pl
  • 27. Science and Psychology?
    • “ Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”
    • “ We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.”
      • Einstein
  • 28.
    • “ The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when (you) contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvellous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.”
      • Einstein
  • 29. SUMMARY
    • Make the distinction between science as a subject (e.g. physics) and science as a process, a way of working.
    • Psychology, more recently, focuses on the scientific process or the research cycle, described in various forms (see diagram earlier).
    • Remember the characteristics of science (e.g. Verifable, parsimonious etc).
    • The research process and characteristics of science give you the ‘tools’ to plan ‘scientific’ work.
  • 30. Summary (2)
    • If you are new to psychology ...
      • ‘ Research cycle’ as a way of working.
      • Your research methods project as a means of gaining experience.
    • If you are familiar with psychology ...
      • Consider where else the research cycle can be used (e.g. other than just experiments).
      • Challenge what ‘can’ and can’t’ be studied.
  • 31. Summary (2) Characteristics of science ? The Research Cycle …. Meeting certain ‘types’ of goals – see below : Explanation Description Prediction Control Via a particular professional process : Verifiable Cumulative Public Parsimonious
  • 32. The joys of ‘why?’ and ‘how?’
  • 33. Curiosity in action?
  • 34. Science as a form of ‘evolution in action’?

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