Research Methods: Idea Generation

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lecture 4 from a college level research methods in psychology course taught in the spring 2012 semester by Brian J. Piper, Ph.D. (psy391@gmail.com) at Linfield College,

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Research Methods: Idea Generation

  1. 1. Research Methodology (Developing Ideas) Brian J. Piper, Ph.D.
  2. 2. Goals• Types of Research• Idea Generation – Luck – Theory – Literature
  3. 3. Basic (Preclinical) Research• Addresses fundamental questions• Laboratory based (Simple, Controlled)• Experimental Psychology Areas – Cognitive Psychology – Social Psychology – Biopsychology
  4. 4. Applied (Clinical) Research• Addresses “real world” questions• Non-laboratory based (Complex, Non- controlled)• Example areas: – Educational psychology – Industrial-Organizational psychology – Neuropsychology
  5. 5. Memory IslandPiper et al. (2010) Pharmacology, Biochemistry & Behavior, 98, 432-439.
  6. 6. Quantitative Research• Involves numbers & statistics• Majority of psychological research• “Top-down”• Example: polls
  7. 7. Qualitative Research• Non-numerical, themes (but rigorous!)• Minority of psychological research• “bottom up”• Example focus group
  8. 8. Operational Definitions• Concept is defined based on the operation used for measurement• Height, weight, humor• Intelligence exercise
  9. 9. Developing Research Ideas: Serendipity• Monoamine-Oxidase Inhibitor (iproniazid) a treatment for tuberculosis and later depression• Dose response effects of prenatal nicotinePiper & Corbett (2011). Nicotine & Tobacco Research.
  10. 10. Developing Ideas: Theory• Theory: a set of logically consistent statements about phenomenon• Micro-Theory: specific, e.g. monoamine & depression• Macro-Theory: Skinner, Piaget, Freud
  11. 11. Evaluating Theories• Productive: does this generate research?• Falsifiable: can the theory be disproved• Parsimonious: contains minimum assumptions – Lloyd Morgan’s Canon: in no case may we interpret an action as the outcome of an exercise of a higher faculty if there is a lower one – Example: cat and faucet
  12. 12. Evaluating Theories Evolution Psychoanaltysis Cognitive Behaviorism (Darwin) (Freud) Development (Skinner) (Piaget)Productive +++ + ++ +++Falsifiable +++ --- +++ +++Parsimonious +++ --- ++ +++
  13. 13. Strong Inference • Programmatic Research: – Study 1 (Outcome A) -> Study 2 (Outcome B) – Used to exclude possibilitiesPlatt, J.R. (1964). Science, 146, 347-353.
  14. 14. Ideas: Literature Search• Wikipedia (preliminary only, variable quality)• Google (heavy on $)• Pubmed (Backward Search)• Psych Info (Backward Search)• Specialized databases (Backward Search)• Google Scholar (Forward Search)• Direct contact
  15. 15. Pubmed• Developed by National Library of Medicine (NIH)• http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed
  16. 16. Pubmed
  17. 17. Keywords are Important
  18. 18. Free is For Me!
  19. 19. Google Scholar
  20. 20. Specialized Databases• Manage to bypass copyright law (how?)• Example: Psychedelic Bibliography• http://www.maps.org/sys/w3pb.pl?face=simple/
  21. 21. All Journals Aren’t Created Equal Great! Not Great! Psychological Science (5.1) Psychological Reports (0.3) Science (30.1) Perceptual & Motor Skills (1.2 ) Nature (29.8) J of Applied Communication Res (0.7) Psychological Bulletin (12.9) Legal & Criminological Psych (0.4) J Personality Social Psych (5.2) Psychology & Psychotherapy (0.6) J of Abnormal Psychology (4.5) American J of Psychology (0.3) Annual Review of Psychology (22.8) Computers in Human Behavior (0.3) J Amer Med Association (30.0) Journal of Applied Social Psychology (0.7) Neuropsychopharmacology (6.7 ) International J of …. , SW Missouri NewsletterImpact Factor: # citations per manuscript per year
  22. 22. Replication• Repeating a study and getting similar outcomes Study OR (95% CI) Bloss 4.65 (1.56, 13.87) Piper 0.70 (0.09, 5.72) Gaynor 1.13 (0.51, 2.48) Taylor 0.83 (0.62, 1.11) Deary 1.13 (0.52, 2.43) Kwon 0.95 (0.29, 3.12) Nilsson 0.94 (0.60, 1.46) UCDADC 0.37 (0.14, 1.03) NACC African Americans 0.95 (0.42, 2.14) NACC Caucasians 0.93 (0.72, 1.20) Overall (I-squared = 28.6%, p = 0.181) 0.92 (0.79, 1.08) .05 .1 1 10 20Piper et al. (2012). Laterality.
  23. 23. Replication Example #2: Mozart Effect• College students (N=36) completed a spatial reasoning task after listening to Mozart, relaxation tape, or silence. Rauscher et al. (1993). Nature, 365, 611.
  24. 24. Replication Example #2: Mozart Effect• College students (N=36) completed a spatial reasoning task after listening to Mozart, relaxation music, or silence.• Governor Zell Miller (GA) wanted to give all kids classic CDs.• Finding repeatedly not replicated. Rauscher et al. (1993). Nature, 365, 611.
  25. 25. Summary• Types of Research – Preclinical & Clinical – Quantitative & Qualitative• Idea Generation (luck, literature, theory)• Replication

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