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Research Methods
Definitions <ul><li>Theory </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Systematic way of organizing/explaining observations </li></ul></ul><...
Definitions <ul><li>2 types of variables </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Independent variable </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><u...
Definitions <ul><li>Variable measurement </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Continuous  (degree of optimism, rate of recovery, shyn...
Sampling <ul><li>Population   = a larger group from which to draw a    sample </li></ul><ul><li>Sample  = a subgroup repre...
Measurement <ul><li>Reliability </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A measure’s ability to produce consistent results </li></ul></ul...
Measurement <ul><li>Validity </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A measure’s ability to assess the variable it is supposed to assess...
Measurement <ul><li>General Sources of Error </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Random  = due to chance events (i.e. misrecordi...
Research Methods <ul><li>Descriptive (Case) studies </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Poor sample size (N = 1) </li></ul></ul></ul...
Surveys <ul><li>What do surveys measure? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Attitudes </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Behaviors...
Surveys <ul><li>Principles for writing survey questions: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Choose simple over specialized words (“...
Surveys <ul><ul><ul><li>List answers vertically instead of horizontally </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid double-b...
Surveys <ul><li>Which question structure should you choose? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Open-ended questions/conversation </...
 
 
Experiments <ul><li>There are two types of information we want: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Description/Prediction (“what?) ...
Experiments <ul><li>Allow scientists to make causal statements about what makes something happen </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li...
Experiments <ul><li>Correlational relationships </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Can indicate if two variables are related but do...
Experiments <ul><li>Correlation coefficients range from – 1.00 to + 1.00 </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Positive correlation: 0...
 
 
 
 
Evaluation of Research <ul><li>Does the theoretical framework make sense? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the sample appropriate? </l...
Ethical Guidelines <ul><li>Human subjects research </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Confidentiality and anonymity of participants...
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Unit 2

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Unit 2

  1. 1. Research Methods
  2. 2. Definitions <ul><li>Theory </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Systematic way of organizing/explaining observations </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Hypothesis </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Tentative belief/prediction about the relationship between two or more variables </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Variable </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Something that can change or vary from one situation or person to another (IQ score, age, sex, education, height) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Operational definition </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Clear “label” of how a variable is measured </li></ul></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Definitions <ul><li>2 types of variables </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Independent variable </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Potential influences on behavior under study </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Age, gender, advertisement, SES, stress </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Dependent variable </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Outcome variable” or “outcome factor” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A behavior, action, attitude, performance, score on tests/surveys </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Definitions <ul><li>Variable measurement </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Continuous (degree of optimism, rate of recovery, shyness) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>vs. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Categorical (gender, species, history of cancer) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Sampling <ul><li>Population = a larger group from which to draw a sample </li></ul><ul><li>Sample = a subgroup representative of the population </li></ul><ul><li>Participants = the individuals participating in the study </li></ul><ul><li>Generalizability = the applicability of findings to the entire population of interest </li></ul><ul><li>Random Sampling = the sample should be similar to the larger group as every person in the study has an equal chance of being placed into the treatment condition </li></ul>
  6. 6. Measurement <ul><li>Reliability </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A measure’s ability to produce consistent results </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Internal consistency” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Degree participants’ scores on a measure resemble their scores on the same measure when administered later </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Measurement <ul><li>Validity </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A measure’s ability to assess the variable it is supposed to assess </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Are you measuring what you think you are measuring? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Note: Prior validity is not an indication of present validity. WHY? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Measurement <ul><li>General Sources of Error </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Random = due to chance events (i.e. misrecordings) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Coverage = failure to include relevant people in a sample (i.e. random digit dialing) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Nonresponse = refusal to respond or absent </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Research Methods <ul><li>Descriptive (Case) studies </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Poor sample size (N = 1) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Selection bias (nonrandom sample) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Observation bias (is the therapist seeing what he/she wants to see?) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Causal factors unidentified </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Correlational Studies </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Do not specify cause/effect relationships </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Can help identify naturally occurring relationships </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Experimentation and Surveys </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Accuracy of self-report? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Low response rates </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Social desirability bias = try to make yourself look better than you are </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Demand characteristics = say what you think the survey wants to hear </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Issues of generalizability outside the lab? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Surveys <ul><li>What do surveys measure? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Attitudes </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Behaviors </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Beliefs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Opinions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Preferences </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Satisfaction </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Demographics </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Orientations (religious, sexual, political, etc.) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Surveys <ul><li>Principles for writing survey questions: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Choose simple over specialized words (“apartheid?”) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Use complete sentences to ask questions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid vague language and/or cultural slang </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Provide appropriate time referents </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Limit the number of personal questions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Keep instructions brief! </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ask only one question at a time </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Start with the most salient questions in case of drop-out </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>When possible, group similar response sets together </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Use dark print for questions + light print for answer choices </li></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Surveys <ul><ul><ul><li>List answers vertically instead of horizontally </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid double-barreled questions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Keep font simple and “clean” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Limit or eliminate skip patterns </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Do not use emotionally charged words (“hate”, “fantastic”) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Do not use leading questions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Use a scale that covers the full range of response possibilities </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Conduct focus groups in pre-testing phase (qualitative output) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Surveys <ul><li>Which question structure should you choose? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Open-ended questions/conversation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What do you think of…? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Close-ended questions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Please indicate your favorite mayoral candidate: </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li> A: Smith </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li> B: Jones </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>C: Nickelson </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Partially open response questions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What is your political affiliation? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li> 1. Democratic </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li> 2. Republican </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>3. Other: __________ </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  14. 16. Experiments <ul><li>There are two types of information we want: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Description/Prediction (“what?) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What are people doing? Thinking? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What is happening? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What do people do in a certain situation? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Explanation/Understanding/Control (“why?”) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What causes people to do or think like they do? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Why is it happening? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How can manipulating something (attitudes, situations) change people’s behavior? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  15. 17. Experiments <ul><li>Allow scientists to make causal statements about what makes something happen </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ This behavior occurs because...” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ The effect of noise on young children is...” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Allow scientists to find if a treatment influences a given behavior </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  16. 18. Experiments <ul><li>Correlational relationships </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Can indicate if two variables are related but do not indicate which variable influence which </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>If variable A and variable B are correlated, we can't know which variable influences which. Why not? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>does A cause B? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>does B cause A? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>does C (some other factor) cause both A and B? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  17. 19. Experiments <ul><li>Correlation coefficients range from – 1.00 to + 1.00 </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Positive correlation: 0 to +1.00 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Negative correlation: 0 to –1.00 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>The sign of the correlation (+/–) indicates the kind of relationship (but not the strength of the relationship) </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Positive correlation : the more cars on the road, the more </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>smog there is in the air </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Negative correlation : the fewer days you miss in my class, </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>the higher your final grade </li></ul></ul></ul>
  18. 24. Evaluation of Research <ul><li>Does the theoretical framework make sense? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the sample appropriate? </li></ul><ul><li>Are the measures and procedures adequate? </li></ul><ul><li>Are data conclusive? </li></ul><ul><li>Are data interpreted correctly? </li></ul><ul><li>Does the study add anything meaningful? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the study ethical? </li></ul>
  19. 25. Ethical Guidelines <ul><li>Human subjects research </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Confidentiality and anonymity of participants </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Informed consent </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Be clear participation is voluntary </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Limited to no deception allowed </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of coercion </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Minimize harmful consequences </li></ul></ul></ul>

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