Research methods chapter 2
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Research Methods Chapter 2. The Scientific Approach. Assumes that events are governed by some lawful order. Scientific enterprise is based on the belief that there are consistencies or laws that can be uncovered. . Goals of Scientific Enterprise.

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The scientific approach
The Scientific Approach

  • Assumes that events are governed by some lawful order.

  • Scientific enterprise is based on the belief that there are consistencies or laws that can be uncovered.

Goals of scientific enterprise
Goals of Scientific Enterprise

  • Measurement and description- figure out ways to measure the subject that is being studied.

  • Understanding and prediction- events can be understood when the reason for the occurrence can be explained.

    Hypotheses are predictions that are made and tested to evaluate understanding.

  • Application and control- The information gathered from research findings should apply towards practical problems.

Advantages of the scientific approach
Advantages of the Scientific Approach

  • Provides clarity and precision- the scientific approach requires that people specify exactly what they are talking about when they formulate hypotheses.

  • Intolerance of error-yields more accurate and dependable information because objective data and thorough documentation is demanded before ideas are accepted.

Experimental research
Experimental Research

  • The investigator manipulates a variable under carefully controlled conditions and observes whether any changes occur in a second variable as a result.

    • cause-and effect relationship studies use experimental research.

    • Consists of Independent/Dependent variables, Experimental/Control groups, and Extraneous variables.

Experimental research1
Experimental Research

  • Independent variable- a condition or event that an experimenter varies in order to see its impact on another variable (inputs or causes).

  • Dependent variable- the variable that is thought to be affected by manipulation of the independent variable (output or effect).

  • Experimental group-consists of the subjects who receive some special treatment in regard to the IV.

  • Control group- consists of similar subjects who do not receive the special treatment given to the experimental group.

  • Extraneous variables- any variables other than the IV that seem likely to influence the DV in a specific way.

Experimental research2
Experimental Research



Manipulations and control often make experiments artificial.

Practical realities and ethical concerns make it impossible to conduct experiments on many issues.

  • Permits conclusions about cause-and-effect relationships between variables.

    • Able to draw conclusions about causation because the control allows for isolation between IV and DV while neutralizing the effects of EV.

Descriptive correlational research
Descriptive/Correlational Research

  • Only allows researchers to see whether there is a link or association (correlation) between the variables of interest.

  • Can not manipulate the variables under study.

  • Naturalistic observations, case studies, and surveys are all examples.


  • Exists when two variables are related to each other.

    • Positive and Negative correlation


Correlation Coefficient

Correlation and Prediction

As a correlation increases in strength, the ability to predict on variable based on knowledge of the other variable increases.

Prediction- the stronger the correlation, the better one can predict.

Causation- correlation is not equivalent to causation.

  • A numerical index of the degree of relationship between two variables.

  • Positive (between 0 and +1.00)

  • Negative (between 0 and -1.00)

  • A correlation near zero = no relationship between variables

  • +1.00 or -1.00 is a perfect one to one correspondence between variables. The closer to either one the stronger the relationship.

Examples of specific methods
Examples of Specific Methods

  • Naturalistic Observation- a researcher engages in careful observation of behavior without intervening directly with the subjects.

    • Reactivity can occur when subjects notice the observer’s presence.

  • Surveys- use questionnaires or interviews to gather information about specific aspects of participants'’ background and behavior.

    • Make it easy to collect data on attitudes and opinions from large samples of participants.

  • Case Studies- an in-depth investigation of an individual subject.

    • Ex: psychological autopsies

Descriptive correlational research1
Descriptive/Correlational Research



Can not demonstrate that two variables are causally related.

  • Broadens the scope of phenomena that psychologists can study .

    • Can explore issues that could not be examined with experimental methods.

Common flaws in research
Common Flaws in Research

  • Studies are replicated to see whether the earlier results are duplicated.

  • Sampling bias- exists when a sample is not representative of the population.

  • Placebo effects- occurs when participants‘ expectations lead them to experience some change even though they receive empty or fake treatment.

  • Distortions in self-report data- result from problems, such as social desirability bias and response sets, that happen when participants give verbal accounts of their behavior.

  • Experimenter bias- occurs when researcher’s expectations or preferences about the outcome of a study influence the results obtained.

Internet mediated research
Internet- Mediated Research

  • Studies in which data collection occurs over the web.

  • All of the previous methods can be used in internet-mediated research.

  • Ex: web survey with 1100 online participants respond to measures of martial closeness and depressive symptoms to explore the correlation between marital adjustment and depression.

Ethical issues
Ethical Issues

  • The question of deception- should researchers be permitted to mislead participants.

    • Yes, otherwise important issues could not be investigated . Empirical evidence suggests that deception is not harmful to subjects.

    • No, deception is inherently immoral and may undermine participants’ trust in others. Deceptive studies often create stress for subjects

Ethical issues1
Ethical Issues

  • The question of animal research- Should researchers be permitted to subject animals to harmful or painful procedures.

    • Yes, otherwise important issues could not be investigated. Relatively little animal research involves pain or harm.

    • No, animals are entitled to the same rights as humans. Animal studies are often trivial or may not apply to humans.