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Module #1


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Psyc 201 CODE

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Module #1

  1. 1. Research Methods in Psychology Lecture 1
  2. 2. Course Objectives •Learn how researchers answer questions in psychology •Using both experimental and non- experimental methods •Think critically about the quality of research methods •Considering strengths and weaknesses inherent to different research designs
  3. 3. Course Objectives •Learn the basic requirements necessary to conduct research •Understanding the ethical issues involved with data collection •Conduct an independent research project
  4. 4. Course Materials •Text book- Required! •Research Methods: Concepts and Connections by Michael Passer •Lectures •Tutorials
  5. 5. Expectations – Overview •Listen – •Weekly lectures •Weekly tutorials •Complete- •On-line discussion •On-line participation •Assignments
  6. 6. Course Requirements •PDF of syllabus
  7. 7. Course Etiquette and policies •On-line Behaviour •Late assignments •All late assignments will receive a 5% penalty per day. Extensions will only be granted in extenuating circumstances. If you wish to request an extension, please contact your TA as soon as possible and be prepared to provide necessary documentation.
  8. 8. Course Etiquette and policies •Plagiarism •Exam rescheduling?
  9. 9. Course Assets •TA •TM discussion area •Canvas mailbox tool • Please use these tools to contact your TA rather than his/her SFU e-mail •Canvas tutorial •CODE help
  10. 10. Science and Psychology Passer Chapter 1
  11. 11. Learning objectives •Ways to obtain knowledge • Tenacity, authority, reason, and empiricism •Goals of science • Describe, control, predict, and explain behaviour •Criteria for making causal inferences •Learning research methods • Critical thinking
  12. 12. Door 1 Door 2 Door 3 The Three-Door Problem Stay or switch?
  13. 13. What would you do? •It doesn’t matter •the chances are the same •or are they? •Not so simple solution
  14. 14. Bases for Beliefs •Tenacity •Authority •Reason •Empiricism Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each.
  15. 15. Tenacity I have known this for my entire life! • A force of habit • Unwillingness to explore alternatives or other side • May sometimes be accurate • Failure to explore other possibilities decreases the chances of being accurate
  16. 16. Authority Because someone (important) told me
  17. 17. Authority Parents, coaches, teachers, or doctors Authority figures can have influence over what we do and what we think. Not always correct!
  18. 18. Reason It is just logical! • An intellectually sound argument • Rationality and logic are essential to science • Pure logic can lead to inaccurate conclusions • Depends on the accuracy of the premise
  19. 19. Empiricism: The Building Block of Science We see it with our own eyes! • Acquiring knowledge through what we observe and experience • Essential to obtaining scientific knowledge • Conclusions based on empirical findings can be flawed
  20. 20. Empiricism: What influences empirical observation? • We do not experience everything • We do not experience everything the same • We do not experience everything accurately • Confirmation bias
  21. 21. Goals of Science •Description •Prediction •Control •Explanation
  22. 22. Goals of Science •Description
  23. 23. Goals of Science •Prediction
  24. 24. Goals of Science •Control
  25. 25. Goals of Science •Explanation
  26. 26. Figure 1.3 A causal chain Passer: Research Methods, First Edition © 2014 by Worth Publishers, Macmillan Higher Education
  27. 27. Explanation What conditions are necessary to make causal inferences?
  28. 28. Causal Inferences Causal inferences are possible when three conditions have been met: 1. Covariation. As X changes, Y changes. 2. Temporal order. Change in X occurs before change in Y. 3. Absence of plausible alternative explanations. X has a causal effect on Y
  29. 29. The Scientific Method •Assumes truth is discoverable •Is grounded in systematic empiricism •Strives for accuracy and objectivity •Requires clear definitions and operationism
  30. 30. Operationism What’s “inside” shouldn’t be a mystery… Define concepts carefully! What is stressful?
  31. 31. Operationism What’s inside shouldn’t be a mystery… Generate an operational definition for STRESS.
  32. 32. Addresses testable questions Falsifiability Can an assertion be disproven?
  33. 33. Science also… •Involves public reporting •ideally in refereed journals •Is tentative, not absolute •theories are challenged and refined •Is self-correcting •operational definitions aid in replication •Is but one source of knowledge •restricted to empirical questions
  34. 34. Scientific Research: Basic and Applied An industrial-organizational psychologist examines the relationship between CEO compensation and organizational performance. Is this basic or applied research? Explain.
  35. 35. Is science the key to everything?
  36. 36. Value of Research Methods Training Why? Let’s reconsider…
  37. 37. Skepticism Skepticism is an outlook that entails careful evaluation of evidence rather than blind acceptance of claims. Ask critical thinking questions!
  38. 38. Ask Yourself… 1. What claim is being made? 2. What is the source of the claim? 3. Can I gather info about source credibility? 4. What supporting evidence is offered? 5. What is the quality of the evidence? 6. Are there plausible alternative explanations for the findings? 7. Are the interpretations of the findings reasonable? 8. What additional evidence is needed to reach a clearer conclusion? 9. Given the evidence, what conclusion is most reasonable?
  39. 39. Concept check - A person who is tenacious will always be inaccurate - The scientific method is the best approach to answering questions - One of the essential requirements necessary to make causal inferences is that two variables must co-vary - A testable question is one that can be disproven - One of the problems of acquiring knowledge strictly through reasoning is that often the source from which we obtained the knowledge is not credible