AP Psychology Chapter Two Methods of Research
Regardless of the method used, all research is based on the Scientific Method of Psychology • Scientific means systematic, testable, and objective.
What are the three main principles that guide the Scientific Method of Psychology?
Step 1 – Theory • Step 2 – Hypotheses • Step 3 – Research and Observation
Theories organize known facts and summarizes current research in the field. Theories are a well-substantiated explanation of existing data. • E.g – Low self-esteem leads to depression
A hypothesis is a testable prediction based on what is known or what is “theorized”. • They let us reject or revise our theory. I Feel So Dumb I Can’t Do Anything! Eg: People with low self-esteem score higher on a depression scale.
Research or observation or experiments are generated to collect data, which then goes into evaluating the hypothesis, which may or may not add to the existing theory.
Research Designs • Quantitative and Qualitative Research
Quantitative research emphasizes numbers, measurements, deductive logic, statistics, control, and experiments. It is very objective and all about the numbers and hard data! .
Quantitative researchresearchers use tools, such as questionnaires or equipment to collect numerical data and statistics . It is very objective and all about the numbers and hard data!
Qualitative research emphasizes natural settings, observation, understanding, themes, verbal narratives, and flexible designs.
Qualitative data is in the form of words, pictures or objects. • It is much more subjective and results are based on observation and interpretation.
Naturalistic Observation • Study behavior in its natural context. Spontaneous behavior in a subject’s natural environment. • No interaction with the subject. Is this natural?
IE. If you want to study the interactive behavior of a specific breed of gorillas, you would need to go to where the gorillas live in nature (not a zoo). • You would need to observe them without their knowledge, and without manipulating anything.
Bias • Situation in which a factor unfairly increases the likelihood of a researcher reaching a particular conclusion
Example of Bias I am researching teenagers behavior and I was recently mugged by a group of teenagers… am I likely to observe teenage behaviors as being motivated by evil versus good? Why?
Case Study • In depth study of one individual with the hopes of determining universal principles • Case studies often include face-to-face interviews, paper and pencil tests, and more.
Case Study • In depth study of one individual with the hopes of determining universal principles • Very open to bias • Difficulty of applying data from one person to everyone
IE. I want to know why Bart killed thirty-five people over a twenty-year period of time. I will examine the police files, observe and interview Bart, talk to his and the victims families, etc.
Difficulty of applying data from one person to everyonebias, etc What are some potential problems with this type of research?
Survey Method • Research method that relies on self-reports; uses questionnaires, interviews. • Usually a very efficient and inexpensive method to collect a lot of information and create basic assumptions about behaviors.
When Creating A Survey • Questions need precise answers • Language and wording must be simple • IE. 77% of New Yorkers where interested in plants and trees, but only 39% where interested in botany; 48% where interested in fossils, but only 39% where interested in paleontology; 42% where interested in rocks and minerals, but 53% where interested in Geology
When Creating A Survey • Ask questions that won’t embarrass or humiliate • Responders will lie if there is a perceived punishment – Anonymity is key • Don’t ask morally ambiguous questions – keep it simple and to the point • Who the interviewer is will affect the responders answers
When Creating A Survey • Shortly phrased questions. • IE. As you know, the term Holocaust usually refers to the killing of millions of Jews in Nazi death camps during WWII. Does it seem possible or does it seem impossible to you that the Nazi extermination of the Jew never happened? • 1 out of 5 Gallup poll responders said that the Holocaust never happened due to the phrasing of the question
When Creating A Survey • Hot Topics/Key Words: • IE. Do you favor an amendment prohibiting abortions? <50% opposed OR Do you favor an amendment protecting the life of an unborn child? >70%
When Creating A Survey • Limited Answer Options • Order of Questions – easier to more difficult works best • Fright Terms – avoid using terms with big repercussions • IE. Use Problem V. Crisis, Past V. Dead, Dealt With V. Punish • Use a RANDOM SAMPLE (more on that later…)
False Consensus Effect • Tendency to overestimate the extent to which others share our beliefs and behaviors. • Skews the reports by jumping to large conclusions that fit into our pre-conceived ideas.
Correlational Study • Research study designed to determine the degree to which two variables are related to one another
IE. What is the relationship between exercise and weight? Smoking and cancer? Brain size and intelligence? Education and level of income?
Watch out for illusory correlations! • Does sugar make kids more hyper? • Does a full moon make people act crazier? • Does going outside with no coat on mean you will catch a cold?
Which is a more likely hand? 1 in 2,598,960
Which is the more likely hand? We often perceive order in random events! 1 in 2,598,960 1 in 2,598,960
Correlational Study • Correlation studies DO NOT prove causation. They can only suggest that there is or is not a relationship between the two variables.
IE. • A correlation study may suggest that people who earn higher levels of education generally earn higher salaries, but it can’t definitively say that getting a degree will get you a higher paying job.
IE. Student scores on the SAT are collected, as are senior year GPA’s. • We want to see if a high GPA correlates to a high SAT score. • We can’t say one causes the other, but we can imply that students who have high/low GPA’s score high/low on SAT’s. • Can we use GPA as a predictor of SAT performance?
But Remember…. Correlation Does Not Imply Causation!
After you plot the data the slope (direction) of the line indicates whether or not there is a positive, negative, or no relationship between variables. • How close the dots are together indicates how close the relationship between the variables is.