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Getting an Experimental Idea Psych 231: Research Methods in Psychology.

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1 Getting an Experimental Idea Psych 231: Research Methods in Psychology

2 Announcements Class Blackboard accounts Roster has been uploaded, try to login to make sure it works for you Syllabus, quizzes, lab schedule, & lectures The Grade book is still under construction

3 Exercise: How do we know? Write down two things that you “know”. Write down HOW you “know” those things.

4 Methods of Inquiry ObjectiveSubjective Analysis Acceptance Empiricism (Experience) Authority Instruction Regulation (rules & laws) Rationalism (Logical reasoning) Persuasion Tenacity Faith Intuition Type of knowledge Ways of knowing having existence outside of a person’s mind (“real”) existing in a person’s mind Scientific Method Our focus

5 Methods of Inquiry The scientific method A method used to test and analyze claims about behavior Uses systematic observation and experimentation A 6 step process (your textbook lists 5 steps)

6 Scientific Method Step 1: Observation Pay attention to the world around you, look for generalizations write down two generalizations that you have observed about people’s behavior Two classes of generalizations Descriptive generalizations – just describe how it is/what was seen, without making predictions Cause and effect generalizations – makes predictions about the observed relationship between two (or more) things.

7 Scientific Method Step 2: Develop a theory or hypothesis Identify the variables associated with your observations Variables The characteristics of the behavior and the surrounding context An explanation for the observed behavior(s) How are the variables related to one another? May be based on past research, common sense, intuition, logic, etc.

8 Scientific Method Step 3: Generate a testable prediction Need to specify how your hypothesis can be tested. The relevant variables must be defined and observable. Falsification is at the heart of the scientific method Scientists don’t try to prove a theory, but rather set out to refute (“disprove”) theories Refutable hypotheses - must be stated in a way that allows the potential for it to be wrong

9 Scientific Method Step 4: Make systematic observations Observational and experimental methods Which variables will we examine? How do we measure these variables? Which variables can we systematically manipulate? What variables need to be controlled? Were (from whom) will we collect the observations?

10 Scientific Method Step 5: Evaluate your evidence Refutes theory Supports theory (not “proves the theory”) Leads to the revision of the theory Consider alternative theories There are always alternative explanations

11 Scientific Method Step 6: Repeat observations hypotheses predictions systematic observations new hypotheses predictions systematic observations new hypotheses

12 Getting ideas for research Where do research ideas come from? Classic barriers & mistakes

13 Where do ideas come from? Research is often driven by curiosity. We typically study things that interest us. Continuum of the development of research ideas InformalFormal “This is interesting. I’d like to know more.” “The theory says X. Let’s test the theory.” “We’ve got a problem to solve.” “We understand some things, but there are still questions.”

14 Where do ideas come from? Observation Direct observation - things that you observe: includes public observation, self observation, observing children, observing animals Vicarious observation - what somebody else has observed and reported

15 Where do ideas come from? Observation Common Sense - things that we all think are true “Opposites attract” But note: a lot of our common sense is contradictory Absence makes the heart grow fonder Long distance affairs never last

16 Where do ideas come from? Observation Common Sense Past research – find out what research has already been done and ask yourself “what don’t we know still” Follow-up studies, expanding the past research in more detail or new directions Improvements on past research studies, maybe you think the past research had some serious flaws or limitations

17 Where do ideas come from? Observation Common Sense Past research Identify a problem – perhaps there is an important problem or issue that needs a (or some) solution(s). WWII - why did airplanes keep crashing? Led to development early cognitive theories of attention

18 Where do ideas come from? Ask the Experts Putting your trust in somebody else who knows the research field and the issues that need answers Observation Common Sense Past research Identify a problem

19 Classic barriers & mistakes You Great ideas

20 Classic barriers & mistakes I’m not smart enough. Somebody else must have already done this. I don’t know how to pursue the idea. It’s too simple, something must be wrong. The idea will take too much work. Do consider the practicality of the work load, but don’t be afraid of hard work.

21 Classic barriers & mistakes cont. Not interested. Don’t procrastinate and take your time Glued to your first idea. Be flexible, adjust your idea as you learn more Can’t find any literature to review. Our goal is that you come away from this course with the knowledge and ability to see past these pitfalls.

22 Next time Evaluating your ideas & Reviewing the Literature Chapter 2 Reminder: Blackboard Quiz #1 due @ noon on Monday: covers Chapters 1 & 2

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