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Critical thinking and scientific research
scientific research requires critical thinking; curiosity, skepticism, questioning

critical thinking
assessing claims, making judgements, based wellsupported evidence

4 main goals of psychological research
1. to DESCRIBE behavior and mental processes; 2. to make accurate PREDICTIONS about them; 3. to demonstrate some CONTROL over them; 4. to EXPLAIN how and why behavior and mental processes occur

Steps in Scientific Investigation
1. Define the problem; 2. formulate the hypothesis; 3. Select a research method and design the study; 4. Select your subjects/conduct study; 5. Analyze the data; 6. Write up the results

Define the problem
step 1; what are you trying to find out? MUST BE IN THE FORM OF A QUESTION; ex: Does heart rate increase with watching violent movies?

Problem questions come from
observations, curiosity, past research (readings), skepticism, theories, and other studies of folklore

Formulate the hypothesis
step 2; educated guess; a specific prediction about some phenomenon; a testable prediction; "statement of the expected relationship between the variables of interest"; what we think will happen; Ex: If someone watches a violent movie, then they will have a higher heart rate than those who dont.

operational definition of variables (operationalize)
exact operations or methods used; variables in terms that they can be observed and measured; amount of something used, way something's measured

Select a Method/Design the Study
test your hypothesis; five basic methods: experimental method, correlational method, survey method, ___, ___

Experimental method (experiment)
a controlled means of studying the relationship between the variables of interest; two variables: independent and dependent

independent variable
the variable the experimenter changes or manipulates

dependent variable
the response or results variable; subject's response; what was measured

Easy way to ID independent/dependent variables
"The effects of ______(independent) on ______(dependent)."

Extraneous variables or confounds
things that could impact the findings (or dependent variable) other than the independent variable; want to hold these variables constant

Negating extraneous variables
random assignment (or randomizing); each subject has an equal chance of being in either an experimental or control group; distribute confounding (extraneous) variables across groups (equally); minimizing chance of distorted/biased results; RANDOM ASSIGNMENT

random assignment
one means of control; establishes cause and effect; randomly assign groups to independent variable

experimental group
receives the independent variable/treatment; How does the independent variable affect them?; participant group

control group
receives everything the experimental group receives except the independent variable/no treatment; may receive a placebo; comparison group

Advantage to research method
control; cause and effect

Disadvantage to research method
can't manipulate everything; ethical concerns;

Correlational Method
means of studying the magnitude and direction of the relationship between the variables of interest; measure the variables and plot them to determine the relationship; use a statistic to determine the strength (magnitude) and direction of the relationship

correlation coefficient
between +1.00 and 1.00; closest to either = strong correlation; closest to 0 = weak or no correlation

Correlational variables
no real independent and dependent variable; usually called grouping, categorical or classification variables; may still be referred to as independent and dependent variables

Three types of correlations
positive, negative and no correlation

positive correlation
as one variable of interest increases, the other variable of interest increases; change in same direction

negative correlation
as one variable of interest increases, the other variable of interest decreases

no correlation
there is no relationship between the variables of interest; correlation coefficient closer to .00

Advantages of correlational methods
testing predictions; evaluating theories

Disadvantages of correlational methods
twoway causality (bidirectionality problem), third variable problem

Twoway causality (bidirectional problem)
can't establish causality

Third variable problem
may be an artificial relationship; changes in two variables may be due to another variable

Survey Method
information is obtained by asking many people a standard set of questions; ask about attitudes, opinions and behaviors; selfreport measures; polling/questionnaire (written survey); interview (oral survey)

Advantages of survey method
gathers large amounts of data; quick; inexpensive

Disadvantages of survey method
poorly phrased questions; response biases (social desirability)

