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Descriptive Methods & Ethical Research. Psych 231: Research Methods in Psychology. Correlational Methods. Measure two (or more) variables for each individual to see if the variables are related Used for: Predictions Reliability and Validity Evaluating theories

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descriptive methods ethical research

Descriptive Methods & Ethical Research

Psych 231: Research Methods in Psychology

correlational methods
Correlational Methods
  • Measure two (or more) variables for each individual to see if the variables are related
  • Used for:
    • Predictions
    • Reliability and Validity
    • Evaluating theories
  • Problems: Can’t make casual claims
causal claims
Causal claims
  • We’d like to say:
    • variable X causes variable Y
  • To be able to do this:
    • The causal variable must come first
    • There must be co-variation between the two variables
    • Need to eliminate plausible alternative explanations
causal claims4
Causal claims
  • Directionality Problem:
    • Airplanes and coffee spills
    • Happy people sleep well
      • or is it that sleeping well when you’re happy?
  • Third variable problem:
    • Do Storks bring babies?
      • A study reported a strong positive correlation between number of babies and stork sightings
the experimental method
The experimental method
  • Manipulating and controlling variables in laboratory experiments
  • Must have a comparison
    • At least two groups (often more) that get compared
    • One groups serves as a control for the other group
  • Variables
    • Independent variable - the variable that is manipulated
    • Dependent variable - the variable that is measured
    • Control variables - held constant for all participants in the experiment
the experimental method8
The experimental method
  • Advantages
    • Precise control possible
    • Precise measurement possible
    • Theory testing possible
    • Can make causal claims
the experimental method9
The experimental method
  • Disadvantages
    • Artificial situations may restrict generalization to “real world”
    • Complex behaviors may be difficult to measure
ethical research
Ethical research
  • Two basic categories of ethical concerns:
    • need to consider the rights of our participants in our research
    • need to behave ethically as scientists and practitioners
ethical research11
Ethical research
  • Consider ethics at each step
    • What measurement techniques will be used
    • How are participants selected
    • What methods may be used on the participant population
    • What design is appropriate
    • How are the data analyzed
    • How are the results reported
using humans in research
Using humans in research
  • For the most part the researcher has the power:
      • you know what is going to be done to the participants
      • participants may feel like they have to do it
apa s code of ethics
APA’s code of ethics
  • Basic courtesy
  • Institutional review board approval
  • Informed consent
informed consent
Informed consent
  • Information to allow a person to decide if they want to participate
    • Basic purpose of the study
    • Risks involved
    • Benefits involved
    • Rights to refuse or terminate participation
apa s code of ethics15
APA’s code of ethics
  • Basic courtesy
  • Institutional review board approval
  • Informed consent
  • Avoiding deception
using deception in research
Using deception in research
  • Passive deception
    • Witholding information about the study
  • Active deception
    • Deliberately misleading participants
using deception in research17
Using deception in research
  • Avoid it when possible
  • When not possible – won’t work without it
    • Make sure that you are up front with all possible risks
    • Potential results must be worth it
    • Must debrief participants as soon as possible (either right after participation or as soon as project is over)
using deception in research18
Using deception in research
  • Alternatives to deception
    • Role-playing
    • Simulation studies
    • “honest” experiments
apa s code of ethics19
APA’s code of ethics
  • Basic courtesy
  • Institutional review board approval
  • Informed consent
  • Avoiding deception
  • Freedom from coercion
  • Protection from harm
apa s code of ethics cont
APA’s code of ethics (cont.)
  • Debriefing
  • Confidentiality
  • Costs vs. Benefits
costs benefits analysis
Costs/Benefits analysis
  • Costs: all potential risks to the participants
    • Physical harm
    • Psychological harm
    • Loss of confidentiality
  • Benefits: the “good” outcomes
    • Direct benefits to participants
    • Benefits to knowledge base
    • Benefits to world at large
ethical responsibility to science
Ethical responsibility to science
  • Dirty tricks (this will get you thrown out)
  • Questionable tricks (these are a little fuzzier, but be wary)
  • Neat tricks (accepted as okay, and sometimes necessary)
ethical responsibility to science23
Ethical responsibility to science

DT

  • Fabrication of results
  • Little or no attempt to minimize demand biases
  • Reformulating your theory as you go
  • Falsifying credentials
  • Plagiarism
  • Little or no attempt to minimize confounds
  • Deliberately hiding (significant) errors in published work
  • Little or no attempt to minimize demand characteristics

QT

NT

DT

DT

QT

DT

QT

ethical responsibility to science24
Ethical responsibility to science

QT or DT depending

on situation (reason for throwing out)??

  • Throwing out data
  • Reorganizing order of report of experiments
  • Violations of underlying statistical assumptions
  • Strategic graphing of the data
  • Duplicate publications (presented as new)
  • Selective reporting of the results
  • Leaving out some bad experiments (not bad results)

NT

QT

QT

DT

QT

NT

using animals in research
Using animals in research
  • Why use animals in research?
    • Same building blocks (e.g., nervous systems)
    • Control
      • often we can’t control the relevant past experiences of our human subjects, but we can with animals
      • easier to control certain experimental factors with animals
    • Irreversible and/or harmful effects
using animals in research26
Using animals in research
  • Why use animals in research (cont.)?
    • Some unique, special characteristics
    • Simpler systems
    • May allow you to focus on particular variables (IV’s and DV’s), easier to do the experiment without a lot of complex interactions
using animals in research27
Using animals in research
  • But animals and humans are different
    • Well, there are strong similarities
      • evolution - common ancestry - as a result, things may work in similar ways
    • But, we do need to be aware that there are differences, and always keep that critical eye, think of alternative explanations
animal ethics what rights do animals have
Animal ethics: What rights do animals have?
  • If animals are so similar to humans, then shouldn’t they have similar rights that humans have? Isn’t it unethical to do things to them that we wouldn’t do to ourselves?
  • There is no simple answer, no clear right or wrong. Each individual must decide for themselves.
  • However, animal research has certainly helped our (humans) lives
next time
Next time
  • Exam 1 is one week away.
  • Review chapters 1,2,3,6, & 7