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The Scientific Method n See the problem n Look for the relevant variables n Construct a hypothesis, if possible n Create a research design n Collect data n Analyze data n Draw conclusions about relations among variables

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Science does the following: n Uses conceptual schemes and theoretical structures n Systematically and empirically tests theories n Controls inquiry n Constantly pursues relationships n Carefully rules out metaphysical explanations

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Scientific research: n Systematic, controlled, empirical, and critical investigation of hypothetical propositions about the presumed relations among variables.

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Theory n A set of systematically related generalizations suggesting new observations or new explanations.

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Functions of theory n Leads to new observations of empirical relations. n Incorporates known findings within a simple framework. n Specifies pertinent and unnecessary variables.

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Hypothesis n An expectation about the nature of things derived from a theory. n It is a statement of something that ought to be observed in the real world if the theory is correct.

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Variable n A property which takes on different values. n A collection of attributes.

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Independent variable n That factor which is manipulated to determine its relationship to an observed phenomenon.

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Dependent variable n That factor which is observed and measured to determine the effect of the independent variable. n What the researcher wishes to explain.

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Predictor variable n Similar to independent variable n Used to predict different values in another variable (criterion variable).

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Criterion variable n The outcome or variable being predicted or assumed to be affected.

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Control variable n Variable controlled to cancel out or neutralize any effect the variable might otherwise have on the dependent or criterion variable.

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Theoretical proposition n The acquisition of political information leads to increased political involvement.

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Hypotheses: n As individuals view more television news they will increase their incidence of voting. n Individuals who read a newspaper more than five days a week will more likely have bumper stickers on their car than those who read a newspaper fewer than five days a week.

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Which are IVs and DVs? n Viewing of television news n Reading of a newspaper n Voting n Putting a bumper sticker on one’s car

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What might other predictors?

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Control variables?

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