Psychological Research Methods Lecture 1 Jagjeet Jutley
Lecture Schedule • Introducing psychological research • How to write a research report • Ethics in psychological research • Critiquing research reports • Designing a questionnaire • Variables, sampling, and sample size • Basic experimental design • Getting started with statistical tests • T-tests • Chi-square • Stats workshop • Review session
Seminars • Sociology students will be held at 1pm-2pm in D124 • Criminology students will be at 2pm-3pm in E427
Coursework Coursework due dates: 1. A piece of coursework (1500 words) analysing a piece of psychological research (50%) 9th November 2011 2. A 1000 word Data Analysis Report (50%) 14th December 2011
Reading • Howitt, D. and Cramer, D. (2008). Introduction to Research Methods in Psychology. Harlow: Pearson.
Today Principles of scientific research Developing research questions Formulating Hypotheses
Flaws in thinking as part of everyday life Telling anecdotes – a personal story to support or refute a general point Refers to instinct or laws of nature or what everyone knows Uses correlation data as causal (increase in crime since mothers started working) Uses emotional language instead of reason and evidence (dumping babies in child care to be looked after by a stranger has to be harmful)
Basic Science and Applied Research • Basic Science – knowledge for its own sake. • The development of logical thought in children • Memory for different kinds of word lists • Perception of transparency, depth, motion, light etc. • Facial features and mate selection • Bodily odors and sexual attraction • Interest of groups & researchers, the findings of which may or may not be developed for practical use.
Practical uses of basic research Development of logical thought – a test for diagnosing developmental disability Memory for word lists – design of specialised vocabularies for communication (e.g. aviation) Perception of depth – environmental design to warn of hazards (e.g., warning lights) Facial features – advertising Bodily odors - perfume
Applied Research In Clinical settings – What type of therapy alleviates depression? In Educational settings – What is the best way to teach children how to read? In Sport Psychology – How does training regime impact on performance? In Organisational settings – What form of management style motivates employees?
Public Verification Observation by others Replication by others Scrutinized by others capable of judging quality (peer review) Beware of “research” you find on the web!
Developing the Research Question Idea Idea Research Question Research Question Literature Review Research Hypothesis Research Hypothesis Literature Review Research Design Research Design Model 1 Model 2
Where do the ideas come from? • Everyday life • What are the most effective ways to teach research methods? • What personal characteristics make a favorable impression in a job interview? • What other questions come to mind? • Practical issues or needs • Why do some employees have very high absenteeism rates. • Why do more car accidents happen on specific stretches of the road? • Why are most heart attacks on a Monday morning? • Past research • Knowledge develops in small steps. Rarely does one study answer all the questions to the research topic. • Theory • Summarize & integrate existing knowledge • Suggests new relationships between factors • Helps one make new predictions about a phenomenon based on the theory.
Defining the Research Question • Problem should be capable of being stated in a question form. Examples are: • What is the effect of….? • Under what conditions do….? • Does the effect of….? • A research question defines the area of interest but is not a declarative statement like a hypothesis.
Formulating Hypotheses Stated in declarative form. Posits a relationship between variables. Ideally reflects a theory or body of literature. Is brief and to the point. Is testable.
Hypotheses Scientific/alternative hypothesis states the ‘predicted’ relationship amongst the variables. Null hypothesis is a statement of no relationship amongst the variables.