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- Based of the Principle of falsifiability
- Peer Review
The idea that knowlege is based on observations
Goals of Empirical Psychology
- Describe Behavior
- Prediction of Behavior
- Finding causes of Behavior
- Explaination of Behavior
Tries to answer fundamental questions about the nature of behavior
Conducted to address isses in which there are practical problems and potential solutions.
Assesses the social reforms and innocations that occur in fovernment, education, the criminal justice system, industry, health care, and mental health institutions.
Prediction based in theory and tested through research
Consists of a systematic body of ideas about a particular topic or phenomenon.
Sources of Research Ideas
- Common Sense
- Observation of things happening in the world
- Past Research
- Practical problems
Steps in the Research Process
- Literature search
- Formulate a Hypothesis
- Select a research method
- Data collection
- Draw conclusions based on the data
- Report the results
The summary of a research report and typically runs no more than 120 words in length.
The researcher outlines the problem that has been investigated.
Who are the participants and how many are there?
How was this sample obtained, recruited, and selected?
What are the demographic characteristics (i.e., sex, age, ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status, etc.) of the sample?
How was informed consent solicited/obtained?
What measures, materials, equipment, or apparatus were used in this study?
Describe any surveys/questionnaires used.
If assessments involve novel measures created for this study, what data are offered regarding about reliability and validity?
Where was the study conducted?
What is the chronological sequence of events to which subjects were exposed?
What checks were made to ensure that the conditions were carried out as intended?
What else does the reader need to know to understand how subjects were treated and what conditions were provided?
The researcher present the findings, ususally in three ways.
How were the data analyzed?
What statistical procedures were used?
Were there any missing data?
Describe your findings from the data analysis.
Tables and graphs
What are the major findings?
How do these findings add to research and support, refute, or inform current theory?
What limitations or qualifiers must be placed on the study given methodological and design issues?
What research should follow from this study in order to move the field forward?
The researcher reviews the research from various perspectives.
- *Potential risks to the participants
- *Direct benefits to participants
- *To science
- *To society
To keep participants from knowing what's really going on in the study.
Two types of deception
- Mislead participants about the nature of the study
- Fail to fully disclose all aspects of the study
Participants agree to participate after being informed about:
Purpose of the study
Potential risks and benefits
Rights to refuse or terminate participation
After the study, inform participant about...
The research questions being addressed
Why deception, if used, was necessary
Increased ethical sensitivity when participants are:
Younger than 18
Receiving medical or psychological treatment
Research with Special Populations
A review committee established to review proposed research for ethical considerations.
- made up of people from the community
Institutional Review Board
Only 7-8% of psychological research uses animals
95% of these are rats, mice, and birds
Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)
The fabrication of Data:
Misrepresenting another's works as your own.
Any event, situation, or behavior that has at least two levels
Types of variables:
Define a variable in terms of the methods used to measure the
Relationships between Quantitative Variables
- Positive Correlations
- Negative Correlations
- Curvilinear Coefficient
Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient
Symbolized as r
Thought to be the “cause” variable
Thought to be the “effect” variable
Positive correlation between eating garlic and having bad breath
Predictor variable =
Criterion variable =
- Predictor variable = garlic
- Criterion variable = bad breath
Advantages of Non-Experimental Research
- Prediction of future behavior
- Description of behavior
- Study participant variables
- Can study variables that would be unethical or impractical to manipulate in a true experiment
Disadvantages of Non-Experimental Methods
- Difficult to infer cause and effect
- Third variable problem
- Possibility of reverse causality
Variables are kept constant
Manipulated by the experimenter
Independent Variable (IV)
Depends on the manipulation of the IV
Dependent Variable (DV)
Advantages of Experimental Research
- Permits conclusions about cause & effect relationships
- Precise control over extraneous variables
Disadvantages of Experimental Research
- Artificial environment
- Ethical & practical considerations
- Problems generalizing from the sample to the population
What are the four types of validity?
- Construct validity
- Internal validity
- External validity
Refers to the adequacy of the operational definitions of variables
Refers to our abliity to accuratrely draw conclusions about casual relationships
The extent to which results of a study cna be generalized to other populations and settings.
The real score on the variable.
The degree to which a measurement deviates from the true score value
Assessed by measuring the same individuals at two points in time.
Test - retest reliability
The extenet to which raters agree in their observations
The assessment of reliability using responses at only one point in time.
Internal consistency reliability
The correlation of the total score on one half of the test with the total score on the other half
Concerns whether our methods of studying variables are accurate
The degree to which a measurement device accurately predicts
behavior on a criterion measure.
The content of the measure appears to reflect the construct being measured.
Research that uses a measure to predict some future
Demonstrated by research that examines the relationship between teh measure and a criterion behavior at the same time.
A measure is reactive if it changes the behavior being measured.
Reactivity of measures
Variables that identify different changes
- Have no numerical properties
- One category is not greater, higher, etc. than the other category
- Variables that reflect a particular order or sequence
- Variables can be rank ordered
- Order points on a scale
- Numeric values are limited
- Intervals between items are not known, and are not equal
Data that equal units of measurement; the intervals between any two successive numbers reflect equal changes
- Numeric properties are literal
- Assume equal interval between values
- Variables that reflect standard & equal intervals
- Has an absolute zero point of origin
zero indicates absence of variable measured.
Advantages of Qualitative Research
- Explore new research areas
- Detailed info
- Some argue they are more ethical
The researcher makes observations of individuals in tehir natural environments.
An observational method that provides a description of an individual.
A type of case study un which a researcher applies psychological theory to explain the life of an individual, usually an important historical figure.
The systematic analysis of existing documents
Advantages of Quantitative Research
- Data is easy to gather and numeric properties makes it easy to analyze
- Results are more generalizable to the overall population
- Ability to randomize participants and conditions
- Good for testing theories and hypothesis
Disadvantage of Quantitative Research
- Does not allow researcher to obtain detailed and in-depth information from participants
- Could possibly lead to reactivity in participants
An interval of values within which there is a given level of confidence (e.g. 95%) where the population value lies.
The confidence interval gives you information about the likely amount of the error.
Each member of the population has a specifiable probability of being chosen.
Every member of the population has an equal probabilty of being selected for the sample.
Simple Random Sampling
The population is divided into subgroups, and random sampling techiniques ar ethen used to select sample members from each stratum.
Stratified random sampling
A probability sampling method in which existing groups or geographic areas, called clusters, are identified. Clusters are randomly sampled and then everyone in the selected clusters participates in the study.
Type of sampling procedure in which one cannot specidy the probability that any member of the population will be included in the sample.
Selecting subjects in haphazard manner, ususally on the basis of availability, and not with regard to having a representative sample of the population.
Haphazard (Convenience) sampling
A type of haphazard sample conducted to obtain a predetermined types of individuals for the sample.
A sampling procedure in which the sample is chosen to reflect the numerical composition of various subgroups in the population. A haphazard sampling technique is used to obtain the sample.
The actual population of individuals from which a ranom sample will be drawn.
The percentage of people selected for a sample who actrualled completed a survey.
Reasons for using convenience samples
– easy to obtain/achieve