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Ryan's psy ch02


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  • 1. Chapter 2 PSYCHOLOGICAL METHODS Section 1: Conducting Research Section 2: Surveys, Samples, and Populations Section 3: Methods of Observation Section 4: The Experimental Method Section 5: Ethical Issues
  • 2. Conducting Research (general info)
    • Psychology is an experimental science
    • Assumptions must be supported by evidence
    • Procedures consists of five steps:
      • Forming a research question
      • Forming a hypothesis
      • Testing the hypothesis
      • Analyzing the results
      • Drawing conclusions
  • 3. Form a question (posing a question based on daily experience, psychological theory or common knowledge)
    • Form a question from daily experience
    • Questions should be based on behavior
    • People learn from observing others
    • Some questions come from folklore and common knowledge
      • “ Two heads are better than one” “Opposites attract” “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.”
    Section 1: Conducting Research
  • 4. Form a hypothesis (making an educated guess)
    • An educated guess
    • A hypothesis in the form of an “if-then” statement
    • “If-then” reasoning is an example of social scientific reasoning
  • 5. Test the hypothesis (examining the evidence through any of a variety of means)
    • Psychological knowledge rests on carefully examined human experience
    • A hypothesis cannot be considered to be correct until it has been scientifically tested and proved to be right
    • Psychologists do not rely on people’s opinion
    • Answer research questions or test hypotheses through a variety of methods.
  • 6. Analyze Results (looking for patterns or relationships in the evidence)
    • What the findings mean
    • Have to figure out how to interpret the reaction
    • Psychologists collect a great deal more data than needed
    • Look for patterns and relationships in the data
    • They must decide which data support their hypothesis and which data do not.
    Section 1: Conducting Research
  • 7. Draw a conclusion (determining whether the findings support the hypothesis and adjusting it if they do not)
    • They draw conclusions about their questions and their hypotheses
    • When observations do not support hypotheses they often change the theories or beliefs from which the hypotheses were derived
    • Psychologists need to keep an open mind
    • Be willing to adjust or modify their hypotheses if their findings make it necessary to do so
  • 8. Replication
    • Findings may represent a random occurrence
    • For a study to be confirmed it must be replicated (repeated) to show the same results
    • If the studies are repeated and obtain different results, the findings of the first study are questioned
    • It is important to study both males and females if the goal is to make generalizations about all members of the species.
  • 9. Does this lead to new questions?
    • Whether the findings of the research study support or contradict the hypothesis, they are likely to lead to new research questions.
    • Once new questions are asked, the process begins all over again.
  • 10.  
  • 11. Question: Why are proper sampling techniques important?
    • Surveys are taken to find out about people’s attitudes and behaviors directly.
    • Two survey methods—written questionnaires and interviewing
    • The findings of interviews and questionnaires are not completely accurate.
      • People may not answer honestly about their attitudes or behavior
    Section 2: Surveys, Samples, and Populations
  • 12. Populations and Samples
    • Must decide what group or groups of people they wish to examine and how they will be selected.
    • Target population—is the whole group you want to study or describe.
    • Researchers study a sample of the target population
  • 13. Selecting Samples
    • Samples must be selected scientifically to ensure that the samples accurately represent the populations they are supposed to represent.
    • Random Sample—individuals are selected by chance from the target population
    • Stratified sample—subgroups in the population are represented proportionally in the sample.
    • A random sample of 1,000 to 1,500 people will usually represent the general American population reasonably well.
  • 14. Generalizing Results
    • Researchers do not use a sample that represents an entire population
    • Researchers want to know about only one group within the population
    • Researchers are cautious about generalizing their findings to groups other than those from which their samples were drawn
    • Researchers cannot learn about the preferences of all people by studying only one group of people, such as men.
    • The gender of the individuals in the sample is not the only characteristic that researchers must take into account.
  • 15. Volunteer Bias
    • Researchers have little control over who responds to surveys or participates in research studies.
    • They cannot force people to complete the questionnaires.
    • Bias—a predisposition to a certain point of view.
    • People who volunteer to participate in studies often bring with them a volunteer bias.
    • They often have a different outlook from people who do not volunteer for research studies.
    • Volunteers may: be more interested, have more spare time.
    • Depending on what the study is about, any or all of the factors could skew the results.