Presentation on theme: "The Study of Adult Development and Aging:"— Presentation transcript:
1 The Study of Adult Development and Aging: Chapter 3The Study of Adult Development and Aging:Research Methods
2 Research MethodsResearch often starts with a hunch about a phenomenon.Example hunch: Playing games that are cognitively challenging helps people retain their mental sharpness.In order to conduct research, one must form a hypothesis, a testable statement that predicts an outcome.Example hypothesis: The more often people play games, the faster they will be at solving problems.
3 Research Methods: Surveys Surveys involve asking a sample of people about experiences, attitudes, or opinionsExample: Ask respondents how often they play games and to self-rate their problem-solving ability.
4 Simple Correlational Research Design A correlational study looks for a consistent relationship between two phenomenaCorrelation: A statistical measure of how strongly two variables are related to one another.Correlation coefficients can range from -1.0 to +1.0.
5 Direction of correlations Positive correlationsAn association between increases in one variable and increases in another, or decreases in one variable and decreases in the other.Negative correlationsAn association between increases in one variable and decreases in another.
6 Explaining correlations Correlations show patterns, not causes.Third variable effect or confounding variable: an alternative explanation for the cause of a behavior or event other than the expected causeCorrelational analysis can not rule out confounding variables.
7 Experimental Research Design Experiment: a controlled test of a hypothesis in which the researcher manipulates one variable to discover its effect on anotherAllows psychologists to determine the cause of a behavior by controlling for confounding variablesExample hypothesis: Using Lumosity daily for one week will improve performance on a memory test.
8 Research groupsExperimental Group: exposed to the variable of interest (treatment)These individuals will play Lumosity games daily for one week, and then take a memory test.Control Group: a comparison condition in which subjects are treated like the experimental group except for the variable of interestThese individuals will play Pacman games daily for one week, and then take a memory test.
9 Variables of interest Independent variables Variables the experimenter manipulatesIV1: LumosityIV2: PacmanDependent variables Variables the experimenter predicts will be affected by manipulations of the independent variable(s)DV: Score on memory test
10 Age is not a true independent variable Studies on aging are never true experiments because age can’t be manipulated.Quasi-experimental design allows researchers to compare groups on predetermined characteristics, including age, sex, ethnicity, and social class.
11 Confidentiality of data Informed consentAwareness of study procedures, risks, and benefitsDebriefingInformation at study’s completion about its true purposeSuggest resourcesProvide information relevant to participant’s experiencesRight to withdrawParticipant can withdraw without penaltyConfidentiality of dataParticipant will not be identifiable in published reports and data will be securely stored.Some of APA’s ethical guidelines for research on human participants
12 Research Methods: Observation Researchers carefully and systematically observe and record behavior without interfering with behaviorNaturalistic observationPurpose is to observe how people or animals behave in their natural environments.Laboratory (Structured) observationPurpose is to observe howpeople or animals behavein a more controlled setting.
13 Research Methods: Daily Diary Participants enter data on a daily basis such as personal ratings or activities.
14 Research Methods: Case report A detailed description of a particular individual being studied or treated, which may be used to formulate broader research hypotheses
15 Research Methods: Archival Research Uses existing resources containing data relevant to a question about aging.Example hypothesis: Young adult males have the highest rate of arrests.
16 Research Methods: Qualitative studies Explores complex relationships in situations that don’t lend themselves to restrictions and assumptions of quantitative methods.Example: How do you feel about the treatment of youngadult males by police?
17 Research Methods: Focus Groups Meeting of respondents asked to provide feedback about a certain topic of interest.Example: What services would you like to have on PCC’scampus?
18 Research Methods: Epidemiological Study Study frequency of particular disease in the population.Example: How common is it to get breast cancer?
19 Designs for Studying Development Cross-sectional designs: test or observe people of different ages at the same time.Example:Researchers surveyPCC students abouttheir politicalopinions.
20 Designs for Studying Development Longitudinal designs: test or observe the same individuals repeatedly at different points in their lives.Example: Researchers follow a sample of individuals through their life to learn whether political opinions change over time.Selective attrition: Loss of participation over time due to many factors, including:IllnessLack of motivationInstabilityDeathMoving to a remote area
21 Designs for Studying Development Sequential designs: represent different combinations of cross-sectional or longitudinal studiesExample: Researchers take a poll of PCC students at one point in time as well as follow a sample of individuals through their life to learn about political opinions and whether they change over time.
22 Designs for Studying Development Meta-analysis: Integrates findings from different studiesPowerful toolDetermines whether a finding generalizes across many studies that used different methods
23 Research Methods Reliability: Consistency in findings Validity: Does research measure the phenomenon of interest?