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Doing Social Psychology Research

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Presentation on theme: "Doing Social Psychology Research"— Presentation transcript:

1 Doing Social Psychology Research
Chapter 2 Doing Social Psychology Research

2 Why Should You Learn About Research Methods?
It will help you do better on tests and in future courses! You can improve your reasoning about real-life events. You’ll become a better, more sophisticated consumer of research in general.

3 Developing Ideas: Beginning the Research Process
Step #1: Start asking questions. Step #2: Search the literature. Step #3: Begin shaping the idea into a hypothesis. An explicit, testable prediction about the conditions under which an event will occur

4 Theories An organized set of principles used to explain observed phenomena Usually evaluated in terms of three criteria: Simplicity Comprehensiveness Generativity Preference for “mini-theories” rather than the all-encompassing grand theory

5 Basic and Applied Research
Basic research: Goal is to increase our understanding of human behavior. Often designed to test a specific hypothesis from a specific theory. Applied research: Goal is to enlarge our understanding of naturally occurring events. Additional goal is to find solutions to practical problems.

6 Defining and Measuring Social Psychological Variables
Refining Ideas Defining and Measuring Social Psychological Variables

7 Conceptual Variables and Operational Definitions
Conceptual variables are abstract or general variables. An operational definition states specifically how the conceptual variable will be manipulated or measured. Transforms the variable from the abstract (conceptual) to the specific (operational).

8 Construct Validity Used to evaluate the manipulation and measurement of variables. Refers to the extent to which: The manipulations in an experiment really manipulate the conceptual variables they were designed to manipulate. The measures used in a study really measure the conceptual variables they were designed to measure.

9 Measuring Variables: Using Self-Reports, Observations and Technology
Participants disclose their thoughts, feelings, desires, and actions. Problems with self-reports: Not always accurate and possibly misleading. Affected by the way in which questions are asked. Can be inaccurate because memories for past thoughts or behaviors may be suspect.

10 Table 2.1: Are Condoms Effective In Preventing Aids?

11 Measuring Variables: Technology
New technologies used in contemporary social psychology include: Computers in experiments Reaction time measurements Physiological measures Brain imaging techniques: PET and fMRI

12 Testing Ideas Research Designs

13 Descriptive Research: Discovering Trends and Tendencies
Goal is to describe people and their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Observational studies Archival studies Surveys Importance of random sampling

14 Correlational Research: Looking for Associations
Goal is to learn about the relationship between variables. How similar or distinct are two different variables? How well does one variable predict another variable? Role of the correlation coefficient Concurrent vs. prospective

15 Correlational Research: Looking for Associations
Advantages Can study the associations of naturally occurring variables that cannot be manipulated or induced. Can examine phenomena difficult or unethical to create for research purposes. Offers freedom in settings in which the variables are measured. One very serious disadvantage CORRELATION IS NOT CAUSATION!

16 Figure 2.1: Correlations: Positive, Negative, and None

17 Figure 2.2: Explaining Correlations Three Possiblilties

18 Experiments: Looking for Cause and Effect
Used to examine cause-and-effect relationships. Two essential characteristics: Researcher has control over the experimental procedures. Participants are randomly assigned to different treatment conditions.

19 Table 2.2: Correlations Versus Experiments

20 Table 2.3: Random Sampling Versus Random Assignment

21 Laboratory Experiments
Conducted in settings in which: The environment can be controlled. The participants can be carefully studied.

22 Field Experiments Conducted in real-world settings.
Advantage: People are more likely to act naturally. Disadvantage: Experimenter has less control.

23 Types of Variables Independent Variables: The factors experimenters manipulate to see if they affect the dependent variable Dependent Variables: The factors experimenters measure to see if they are affected by the independent variable Subject Variables: Variables that characterize pre-existing differences among study participants

24 Main Effects and Interactions
Main Effect: The overall effect of the independent variable on the dependent variable, ignoring all other independent variables Interaction: How the effect of each independent variable is different as a function of other independent variables

25 Table 2.4: Female Infidelity, Male Honor, and Culture: The Conditions

26 Figure 2.3: Female Infidelity, Male Honor, and Culture: The Results
Based on Vandello & Cohen, 2003, 2005.

27 Statistical Significance
How likely is it that the results could have occurred by chance? If 5 or fewer times in 100 possible outcomes, then considered to be “statistically significant.”

28 Internal Validity How reasonably certain is it that the independent variable caused the effects obtained on the dependent variable? Control groups are important in ruling out alternative explanations for results. Important to minimize experimenter expectancy effects.

29 External Validity To what degree can the findings be generalized to other people and to other situations? External validity considerations: Is the sample representative? What is the setting in which the research is conducted?

30 Mundane vs. Experimental Realism
Mundane Realism: The extent to which the research setting resembles the real-world setting of interest. Experimental Realism: The degree to which the experimental setting and procedures are real and involving to the participant.

31 Meta-Analysis A set of statistical procedures for examining relevant research that has already been conducted and reviewed. Allows one to combine the results of individual studies to measure the overall reliability and strength of particular effects.

32 Ethics and Values in Social Psychology
Researchers have a moral and legal responsibility to abide by ethical principles. The use of deception has caused particular concern in social psychology. Virtually every study now has to be evaluated for its ethics by other people before the study can be conducted.

33 Current Policies and Procedures
Role of Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) Importance of informed consent Necessity for debriefing

34 Values and Science Ethical principles are based on moral values.
But do values affect science in areas other than ethical issues? Can science be totally unbiased and objective? How should values affect scientific inquiry?

35 Culture and Research Methods
Culture affects research methods in the following areas: Generalizability Universality Translations of language

36 Table 2.5: Lost In Translation

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