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Scientific Inquiry

Scientific Inquiry. What is Scientific Inquiry. Scientific inquiry is the system or procedure by which we seek to understand and explain behavior or the world around us . On a scale of 1 (don’t agree at all) to 5 (completely agree), how much do you agree with the following statement:

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Scientific Inquiry

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  1. Scientific Inquiry

  2. What is Scientific Inquiry • Scientific inquiry is the system or procedure by which we seek to understand and explain behavior or the world around us

  3. On a scale of 1 (don’t agree at all) to 5 (completely agree), how much do you agree with the following statement: People should use this product because it will be beneficial to their health

  4. Science vs Pseudoscience

  5. Canons of Science • Deterministic • events have meaningful causes • Empiricism • Good and bad ways to determine cause and effect • Making observations • Law of Parsimony (Occam’s Razor) • If two explanations are equally good, choose the simpler one

  6. Canons of Science • Scientific theories must be: • Testable • Falsifiable • Define the circumstances under which your theory is wrong • Repeatable • Given the same set of circumstances, the same outcome should occur across observations

  7. The Scientific Process • We make observations about a specific behavior • We develop a theory to account for the behavior • Theory  a testable explanation for a set of factors or observations

  8. The Scientific Process • We come up with a hypothesis based on our theory • (a statement that makes predictions about the outcome of a scientific study) • For Example: • If my theory is true under this situation, then X should happen • If, under this situation, X does not happen, then my theory is false

  9. The Scientific Process • We conduct a controlled test of our hypothesis • We gather objective data • We define the variables of interest • We analyze the results • We accept or reject our hypothesis

  10. Pseudoscience • What is it? • Presenting something as fact without sufficient scientific evidence • Not testable • How do we recognize it? • Use of scientific-sounding terms (e.g., quantum; vibrational) • E.G., ESP, Oxygenated Water, Accupuncture, Homeopathy, Feng Shui,

  11. The Flying Spaghetti Monster Taken from: www.venganza.org

  12. The Scientific Method Good Science

  13. Good Science • We make observations • We observe and describe behavior or event • E.G., A man, who was leaving a bar, crashes into a parked car on the way home

  14. Good Science • We develop a theory to explain the behavior or event • What theories can you come up with to account for this behavior and/or outcome? • He was drunk • Drunk driving causes accidents • Alcohol causes impairment of driving abilities • Talking on cell phones causes accidents (was he on a cell phone?) • The brakes on the car malfunctioned • The Flying Spaghetti Monster hates people who drive after leaving bars

  15. Good Science • We come up with a hypothesis based on our theory • Remember: a good theory must generate hypotheses that are testable and falsifiable • We must be able to operationally define the variables of interest

  16. Good Science • Operational Definitions • Define, concretely, how you will measure the variables of interest

  17. Good Science • Theory: Alcohol impairs driving ability • Hypothesis 1: People who drink alcohol are more likely to get into car accidents than those who do not drink alcohol • Hypothesis 2: Alcohol slows down reaction time which causes more accidents • Hypothesis 3: Alcohol increases risk-taking while driving which causes more accidents

  18. Good Science • We conduct a controlled test • We select a research design • We identify the population and select a sample • We define the variables of interest

  19. Research Design • Non-experimental vs Experimental designs • Non-experimental – observe a single group of subjects at one point in time • Observational studies • Survey Studies • Experimental – involves multiple groups or multiple observations across time • Control – standard against which the effects of the experimental condition is compared

  20. Research Design • External Validity • Can we generalize our findings from the experimental context to other people, in other places, at other times?

  21. External Validity

  22. External Validity • Random Sampling • Identify Population • All people • All adults • All adults who drink alcohol • All adults who drive after drinking alcohol • Select Sample • Select sample from population of interest • Random • Stratified – representative of the population on key characteristics

  23. Research Design • Internal Validity • Can we be confident that the observed outcomes are due to (caused by) our experimental treatment and NOT to some other cause?

  24. Internal Validity • To help subjects “get in the mood,” the bartender played loud and upbeat music during the “drink alcohol” condition. No music was played during the “drink water” condition. • Confound – uncontrolled and/or unmeasured characteristic(s) that accounts for the observed findings

  25. Research Design • Random Assignment • Place subjects at random into different control and experimental conditions • Goal is to ensure that potential confounds are equally represented in both groups • Not always possible, so how do we ensure internal validity?

  26. Testing Hypotheses • Independent variable • Predictor Variable • Variable that is manipulated • Dependent Variable • Predicted variable • Variable that “depends on” or is affected by the independent variable • Operational definition • Concrete description of how your variables will be measured

  27. Testing Hypotheses • Observation – a man leaves a bar and gets into a car accident • Hypothesis 1: Heavier drinkers take more risks while driving than lighter drinkers • Hypothesis 2: Individuals who are intoxicated take more risks while driving than individuals who are sober

  28. Testing Hypotheses • Hypothesis 1 • IV: level of drinking is defined using the quantity frequency index • DV: Risk-taking is defined as • frequency of speeding (i.e., number of days per week that the individual drives 10 + miles over the speed limit) • Frequency of tailgating

  29. We analyze the data and reject or accept our hypothesis

  30. Statistical Analysis

  31. Statistical Analysis

  32. Statistical Analysis

  33. Statistical Analysis

  34. Statistical Analysis Variance Explained

  35. Pirates and Global Warming

  36. Testing Hypotheses • Hypothesis 2 • IV: Intoxication is defined as a BAC of .08 mg% or greater • DV: Risk-taking is defined through use of a simulated driving task as • amount of time spent speeding and • number of times passing cars on a double yellow line

  37. Statistical Analysis

  38. Statistical Analysis

  39. Good Science • A theory becomes a law when • supporting evidence accumulates over multiple tests of the associated hypotheses and • it has never been proven false • E.g., the law of physics • Pseudoscientific claims cannot become laws

  40. Ethical Issues • Informed Consent • Subjects must be fully informed about • Potential risks and benefits of participation • Exactly what the study involves • Deception • Deception can be used if necessary to test hypotheses • Participation is voluntary • Coercion is not acceptable

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