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Overview of Research Outline

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1 Overview of Research Outline
Ways of Knowing The Scientific Approach What is Research? Scientific Method: The Research Loop Goals of Science Types of Research 4 Types of Research Designs Types of Variables Hypotheses and Theory Which Design to Use? Evaluating Research

2 Intuitive vs. Empirical Sources of Knowledge
Intuition Tenacity (e.g., habit, repeated exposure, superstition) Authority (e.g., moral, psychological, intellectual leaders) Reason (i.e., logical syllogisms) Serendipity (e.g., Columbus’ & India) Empiricism (relies on formal methods of observation)

Limitations of Intuition Intuition relies unquestioningly on personal judgment Involves cognitive and motivational biases Erroneous conclusions about cause and effect (e.g., Fundamental Attribution Error)

Skepticism, Science, and the Empirical Approach Empiricism Falsifiability Peer review Integrating Intuition, Skepticism, and Authority

5 Elements of Goodstein’s Evolved Theory of Science
Observations accurately reported to others + Search for discovery and verification of ideas Open exchange and competition among ideas Peer review of research

Characteristics of pseudoscience Hypotheses generated are not typically testable If scientific tests are reported, methodology is not scientific and validity of data is questionable Supportive evidence is anecdotal and does not cite scientific references Claims ignore conflicting evidence Claims tend to be vague, and appeal to pre-conceived ideas Claims are never revised

7 What is Research? A systematic process of asking and attempting to answer questions about the world.

8 Scientific Method: 5 Steps
Identify a Research Problem or Question Develop Hypotheses and Research Design Conduct the Study Test the Hypotheses Communicate Results** -File Drawer Problem Research findings often create new research questions which result in a “Research Loop”

9 Scientific Method Steps


11 Goals of Science Description: Prediction: Causation & Explanation:
-What is the relationship found between alcohol consumption and aggression? Prediction: -How many aggressive acts will a person exhibit if he/she were to consume 3 beers? Causation & Explanation: -Does alcohol intoxication and/or social expectations about drinking behavior increase aggression?

12 Determining Causality
Temporal Precedence: The cause must precede the effect Covariation Principle: The effect occurs when the cause is present, but does not occur when the cause is not present 3. Elimination of Alternative Explanations: Plausible explanations for the causal relationship are ruled out.

13 Types of Research Approaches
Basic Science vs. Applied Approaches Qualitative vs. Quantitative Approaches

14 Basic Science vs. Applied Approaches
Further an understanding of psychological functioning (e.g., What is the nature or basis of people’s self-esteem?) Applied Research: -Provide practical solutions to optimize psychological functioning (e.g., How do we increase people’s self-esteem?)

15 Qualitative vs. Quantitative Approaches
Qualitative Approach: Collects and examines responses from people without translating the responses into numbers; Emphasis on Broad Themes of phenomena of interest. Quantitative Approach: Similar to qualitative but does rely on numbers to represent phenomena. Emphasis on Specific Tests of phenomena of interest.

16 3 Basic Types of Research Designs
Non Experimental Designs Archival -Correlational Observational -Program Evaluation True Experimental Designs Manipulation –Randomization -Control Group Quasi-Experimental Designs Similar to true experimental method but lacks 1 or more of its core features

17 Psychological Variables & The “Soft Science”
A Variable = any observable characteristic that is not constant Psychological variables = characteristics of psychological functioning (i.e., thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and the processes that regulate them) that vary in people. -”Hypothetical Constructs” that by nature are abstract ideas/concepts -Often are ambiguous, -Difficult to define and measure Psychology is considered a “soft science” because of the inherent qualities of the variables that are examined. -To scientifically examine research questions involving psychological variables they must be precisely defined and measured.

18 Conceptual and Operational Definitions of Variables
Empirical examination of psychological variables, requires that they be (1) conceptually defined, and (2) translated into concrete, observable forms. Conceptual Definitions = broadly based dictionary like descriptions of a variable (e.g., Self-Esteem = The general extent to which a person has positive or negative feelings of self-worth). 2. Operational Definition of variables = the specific way that a variable is measured, manipulated, or “operating” within the context of a study (e.g., Self-Esteem = the score a person gets on a self- esteem questionnaire that he/she had completed).

19 The Basic Structure of a Study
Studies examine the pattern of relationships among variables: IV DV Independent Variables (IVs) In general, an IV is theorized to exert meaningful influence on a particular outcome (i.e., DV). Within true-experiments an IV is systematically manipulated to cause changes in the DV. Dependent Variables (DVs) In general, a DV reflects the characteristic that researchers are seeking to describe, predict, or explain. Reflects the outcome that emerges in response to the IVs. Differences in the DV are attributed to (or are caused by) the varying amounts or levels of the IV (i.e., the values of the DV depend upon the levels of the IV)

20 Types of Variables Participant/Subject Variables Situational Variables
Response Variables Mediating Variables Control Variables Confounding Variables

21 Assessing Variables: 4 Types of Measures
Self-Report Behavioral Behavioroid Physiological

22 Issues of Interpreting IV and DV Relationships
Longevity (Y) Exercise (X) 3rd Variable (Z) Limits often exist when interpreting the relationship between IVs and DVs, particularly “causal” relations. Directionality problem X  Y; Y  X; or bi-directionality? The Third variable problem When the IV & DV relationship is attributable to another variable (Z)

23 Systematic vs. Random Influences Upon the IV and DV Relationships
Confounding Variable Reasoned to exert meaningful influence on the IV & DV relationship IS NOT measured Because its value is unknown, its influence is also unknown reflects random error, or (uncontrolled) influence. Blurs, distorts, or obscures the true IV & DV relationships, complicates theoretical understanding of them. Control Variable Reasoned to exert meaningful influence on the IV & DV relationship IS intentionally measured Because its value is known, its influence is detectable and systematically observed. i.e., Determining the IV & DV relationship after having controlled for (kept constant) the influence of the 3rd variable. Helps to more clearly illustrate the IV & DV relationships and a theoretical understanding of them.

24 Hypotheses and Theories
Hypothesis = a formally stated testable prediction about the pattern of relationships to be found among variables Theory = A set of interrelated statements proposed to explain phenomena

25 Interplay Between Theory and Research
Theory guides research THEORY Research tests theory -verifies -suggests changes RESEARCH

26 Approaches to Research Development
Top-Down vs. Bottom-Up Approaches Hypotheses may be used to create or broaden theories by inductive reasoning (Bottom-Up) or Theories may be used to test hypotheses by deductive reasoning (Top-Down)

27 Bottom-Up/Inductive Reasoning
Reasoning that proceeds from specific cases to general conclusions or theories. Used in early stages of development of studying a phenomenon. Relies on observations or data to help create or extend prior ideas or theories about relationships that exist in the world

28 Top-Down: Deductive Reasoning
Reasoning that proceeds from general theories to specific cases. Used when there is a well-established theory that predicts certain observable outcomes. Once a comprehensive theory is established specific predictions may be made from the theory and tested through experimentation

29 Which Design to Use? It depends on your particular goals, but…
Begin with non experimental methods that capitalize on identifying and describing relationships between variables. -For example, first observe behaviors in natural settings (i.e., field studies), and then utilize interviews or survey research (i.e., correlational studies). Then, use Quasi-Experimental and True-Experimental Designs to help explain the relationships between variables. For example, determine the causal relationships between variables or how much change occurs in a DV in response to manipulated levels of an IV Ultimately, Convergence (similarity) in the pattern of findings across multiple methods is best!

30 Evaluating Research A variety of standards exist for assessing the quality of a theory and research findings. 1. Reliability = consistency in measurement 2. Validity = accuracy of constructs and measures -internal -external -construct validity 3. Replication = consistency in research findings when comparing equivalent or similarly conducted studies

31 Distinguishing Reliability and Validity
Not Reliable, Not Valid Reliable but Reliable and Valid

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