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Research Methods:. Psychology as a Science. How do you know…. That George Washington was the first U.S. President?. How do you know…. That you have a stomach?. How do you know…. That the sun will rise tomorrow?. How do you know….

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research methods

Research Methods:

Psychology as a Science

how do you know
How do you know…
  • That George Washington was the first U.S. President?
how do you know1
How do you know…
  • That you have a stomach?
how do you know2
How do you know…
  • That the sun will rise tomorrow?
how do you know3
How do you know…
  • That there aren’t little creatures inside computers that are responsible for the things computers do?
how do you know4
How do you know…
  • That you don’t have a hole in the back of your pants today?
how do we know what we know
How do we know what we know?
  • 1) Authority
    • (Dogmatism)
  • 2) Reason
    • (Rationalism)
  • 3) Observation
    • (Empiricism)

Science uses Reason AND Observation

four goals of psychology
Four Goals of Psychology
  • Description
  • Prediction
  • Explanation
  • Control
the scientific method
The Scientific Method
  • Hypothesis =
    • educated guess about how two variables are related
    • Must be testable
  • Theories =
    • general principles that attempt to explain why two or more variables are related.
    • broad, simple, generative
the scientific method1
The Scientific Method

Ask a


Find and



Form a


Test your


descriptive research
Descriptive Research
  • Case Study
  • Survey
  • Observation
    • natural settings
    • laboratory settings
correlational research
Correlational Research

A correlation is a relationship between variables

1. Positive correlation (var A ↑, var B ↑)

2. Negative correlation (var A ↑, var B ↓)

3. No correlation = no relationship

Three Reasons for any correlation:

  • X causes Y, Y causes X, or Z causes X and Y


observation 1
Observation #1

Observation: A physiological psychologist observes that people with higher levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine exhibit more behaviors associated with schizophrenia than those with lower levels of dopamine.

Type of Correlation?


observation 2
Observation #2

Observation: A college professor found that the more class absences students have, the lower their grade in the course tends to be.

Type of Correlation?


observation 3
Observation #3

Observation: A politician running against a candidate who had been in office for eight years pointed out that violent crime had increased steadily during those eight years even though the administration had put more funding towards fighting crime.

Type of correlation?


observation 4
Observation #4

Observation: An industrial/organizational psychologist observes that people who are most satisfied with their jobs perform at higher levels than people who are dissatisfied.

Type of correlation?


experimental research
Experimental Research

Can determine causation

  • Independent variable
  • Dependent variable
  • random assignment
      • control group
      • placebo
  • Single-blind study
  • Double-blind study
ethical issues in psychological research
Ethical Issues in Psychological Research
  • Right to privacy
  • Informed consent
    • use of deception
    • right to withdraw
  • Animal rights
    • Is there justification for discomfort or harm a research procedure may produce?