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The Methods of Social Psychology

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Presentation on theme: "The Methods of Social Psychology"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Methods of Social Psychology
Chapter Two The Methods of Social Psychology

2 The Science of Social Psychology
Like all sciences, social psychology relies on the scientific method we seek a certain level of explanation we require certain forms of evidence we base conclusions on the results of empirical studies

3 The Scientific Method Research in social psychology poses challenges not found in other sciences the behaviors of interests aren’t as tangible as the elements found in a physicist’s laboratory, for example Social psychologists rely on a wide range of creative research methodologies lab experiments, field studies, surveys, questionnaires, archival data, are examples

4 Theories and Hypotheses
Theory an explanation of why an event or outcome occurs Hypothesis a specific prediction about what should occur if the theory is valid

5 Translating Concepts Into Operations
Operationalization is a long word for an important idea we need to transform our conceptual variables into operational variables “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” what do we mean by “absence?” what do we mean by “heart?” what do we mean by “fonder?”

6 Concept Review

7 Measurement: Self-Reports
Self-report measures people provide reports on their own behavior assumes people are able and willing to report on their own behavior wording, reliability, validity, etc., are key considerations

8 Measurement: Behavioral Measures
observations of actual behavior are taken high in validity the research participant is behaving…it’s real, it’s actual high in resource consumption can be time-consuming to collect, difficult to quantify

9 Reliability and Validity
Reliability refers to the consistency of a measurement process test-retest: consistency over time inter-rater: consistency across judges Validity refers to the accuracy of a measurement process a valid measure should be predictive of future behavior

10 Correlational Research
A correlation coefficient describes the linear relationship between two variables it is a measure of “how much two things go together, and in what way” Knowing that two variables are related, however, does not reveal their causal relationship correlations can’t tell us which variable caused the other

11 Surveys, Sampling, Archives
Questionnaires distributed to respondents provide data for correlational analyses Representative samples are important for extrapolating results to populations Archival research involves examining existing records for a new research purpose

12 Observational Studies
Participants are observed as they behave in real-world settings Participant-observation researchers participate in the same behaviors as the people they are observing

13 Experimental Research
To determine causality, researchers need to conduct experiments an independent variable is manipulated by the experimenter a dependent variable is the measured outcome, the change in participants’ behavior, brought about by the independent variable

14 Independent Variables
The independent variable is manipulated by the experimenter Participants in different experimental conditions are exposed to different levels of the IV The independent variable is “independent” of the research participant’s behavior it is the “cause” of a cause-and-effect relationship

15 Dependent Variables The dependent variable is the outcome measured by the experimenter Could be self-report, behavior, or some other way of assessing an outcome The dependent variable “depends” on the research participant’s behavior it is the “effect” of a cause-and-effect relationship

16 Extraneous Variables Any variable that isn’t the independent variable or the dependent variable is extraneous to that relationship in that experiment extraneous variables can be nuisances Extraneous variables that systematically differ between conditions are called confounds confounding variables cloud your ability to see the true effects of the IV on the DV

17 Concept Review

18 Standardized Procedures
Standardized procedures help make sure that conditions are held constant during the conduct of an experiment time of day, delivery of instructions, setting, temperature, timing, etc., should be standardized

19 Random Assignment In an experiment, participants are typically randomly assigned to conditions we don’t want all the smart people in the experimental group and all the not-so-smart people in the control group, for example random assignment helps create groups that are equivalent at the start of the experiment

20 Demand Characteristics
Demand characteristics are cues in an experiment that suggest to participants how they should act or how they should respond these are to be avoided, of course...

21 Internal and External Validity
Experimenters recognize two types of validity internal validity can the changes in the DV be confidently attributed to the changes in the IV? external validity do the results of the experiment generalize to the outside world?

22 Concept Review

23 Single-Factor Experiments
The simplest experimental design manipulates one independent variable this produces at least two groups an experimental group that receives the IV manipulation, and a control group that doesn’t This design can be prettied-up by including a pretest a pretest-posttest design measures the DV both before and after the introduction of the IV

24 Factorial Design Experiments
Experiments in which more than one IV is manipulated at the same time are called factorial designs factorial designs reveal two types of information main effects: the effects of each IV separately interaction: the combined effects of the IVs on the DV

25 Making Experiments Real
Experimenters recognize two types of realism experimental realism does the experimental situation feel real to the participants in that situation? mundane realism does the experiment have the look and feel of situations in the outside world?

26 Field Experiments Although the laboratory allows researchers a great deal of experimental control, conducting experiments in a natural setting allows for a richer understanding of a phenomenon

27 Social Psychology and the Internet
Advantage access to large, diverse populations Disadvantage minimal knowledge of the true characteristics of the participants makes the results somewhat suspect for some applications

28 Technology and Social Psychology
Immersive virtual environments “constructed reality” allows for greater creativity in designing experiments Event-sampling methods increasing sophistication characterizes diary, beeper, and other event-sampling techniques

29 Ethical Issues in Social Psychology
All research must be approved by an Institutional Review Board Participants must give their informed consent before taking part in an experiment Participants must be debriefed after the conclusion of an experiment

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