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The Research Process: How We Find Things Out

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1 The Research Process: How We Find Things Out

2 The Scientific Method What are the components of the scientific method? Specify a problem Systematic observation Data Replication Form a hypothesis Test the hypothesis Operational definition Formulate a theory Test the theory

3 The Scientific Method What is the relationship between theory, prediction (hypothesis), and data? Prediction Theory Data Theory development, validation, correction

4 Descriptive Research Naturalistic observation Case studies Surveys
Allows one to see patterns in the real world Case studies Focus on a single interesting case in detail Surveys A set of questions put to a number of participants about their beliefs, attitudes, preferences, or activities

5 Correlational Research
Studies where the relationships between two or more variables are measured but not manipulated Examples Family income and IQ score Height and shoe size MAO levels and thrill seeking

6 Correlation Strength and direction

7 Correlation Research Strength Weakness
Can study variables that cannot be manipulated Weakness Correlation does not imply causation

8 Designing Experiments: Independent Variable
The aspect of a situation that is intentionally varied while another aspect is measured Examples Amount of practice allowed Participants randomly assigned so that they receive a drug or placebo Present visual or auditory stimuli Temperature of room

9 Designing Experiments: Dependent Variable
The aspect of a situation that is measured while the independent variable is changed Examples Number of words recalled Speed of response Number of cigarettes smoked Electrical activity in the brain

10 Designing Experiments: Effects
The difference in the dependent variable that is due to changes in the independent variable Examples Drug X impairs short-term memory Visualization improves athletic performance Practice improves reading speed

11 Experiments Experimental group Control group Random assignment
Strength Rigorous control, causal inferences Weakness Not all variables can be manipulated

12 Quasi-Experiments Like experiments but without random assignment
Strength Real-world phenomena that cannot be studied in experiments Weakness Lack of control means limited causal inferences

13 Being a Critical Consumer
Reliability Validity Face validity Content validity Criterion validity Construct validity

14 Bias and Expectation Response bias Sampling bias
Experimenter expectancy effects Double-blind design

15 Pseudopsychology Unsupported opinion pretending to be psychological science What makes a discipline a science? Is it the topic of study? Is it the method of study? Examples ESP Astrology

16 Statistics: Measuring Reality
Benjamin Disraeli: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Be a critical statistics consumer; know the basics Two main types of statistics Descriptive Inferential

17 Descriptive Statistics
Central tendency Mean Median Mode Normal distribution

18 Descriptive Statistics
Variability Range Standard deviation Relative standing Percentile rank

19 Inferential Statistics
Do patterns in measurement reflect true patterns or just chance variation? Statistical significance A measured relationship is not simply due to chance Expressed in terms of probability (p) Psychologists generally view a finding as “statistically significant” if it has no more than a 5% probability of occurring by chance

20 Inferential Statistics
Sampling Population Sample Sampling error Meta-analysis Population Sample

21 Lying with Statistics Selective reporting
Which statistics are reported and which are omitted?

22 Lying with Graphs Shortening the Y axis

23 Lying with Graphs Lengthening the Y axis

24 Lying with Graphs “Tricking” the visual system
Using 3-D graphics to exaggerate size Changing width with height Plotting transformed data

25 Reading Research Reports
QALMRI method Question Alternatives Logic of the study Method Results Inferences

26 Writing Research Papers
Introduction Method Results Discussion

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