The Scientific Method
The Scientific Method PSYC 3914-008
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kendall Willey on Friday January 22, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSYC 3914-008 at Oklahoma State University taught by Dr. Lukaszewski in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 30 views. For similar materials see Experimental Psychology in Psychlogy at Oklahoma State University.
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Date Created: 01/22/16
1 Notes for Week 2: Tuesday 1/19- Chapter 1: The Scientific Method 1. To start out, the scientific method is the most rigorous way to apply scientific thinking to a problem or idea. There are several steps one must take to complete the process. (see diagram in PowerPoint notes) The basic 7 steps can be lumped together into 3 over arching categories; theoretical components, experimental components, and analytical components. 2. The first step in the scientific method involves rigorously defining the research question. a. You have to pick a topic to study; what are you interested in? If you’re working in a lab; what does your lab specialize in? Finding questions and ideas that you have an interest or passion for will help make the study more enjoyable and interesting to you and those involved. b. This is where the theory, hypothesis, and prediction comes into play. These are the first 3 steps of the 7-step process or the theoretical component. 3. Theory: a theory is a model of how the world operates that explains a wide range of phenomenon. a. Good theories are supported by a lot of data and have some generality to them. They are broad and can explain a general idea about the world. b. A small set of principles to explain a wide range of phenomenon. c. Examples include the theory of gravity and the theory of evolution. 4. Hypothesis: a hypothesis is an idea about a particular phenomenon that follows directly from a theory. a. The focus is on one specific outcome that is expected if the theory is true. b. One key aspect, however, is the hypothesis must be correctly derived from the theory c. Example: Humans should be genetically similar to chimps is a hypothesis correctly derived from the theory of evolution. 2 5. Prediction: a prediction is a projection about how data will come out in a particular study. a. This is translating the hypothesis into expected data to be received after the study is complete. b. It is similar to a hypothesis in that it helps determine the set up and running of an experiment or study. c. Example: The prediction that humans will share more genes in common with chimps than other related primates is derived from the hypothesis that humans should be genetically similar to chimps which is derived from the theory of evolution. 6. From theory to predictions you get more specific. Theories are more general while predictions are more specific. a. Errors can occur in between steps. Each time you must be carefully to be correctly deriving from the step above. 7. Falsifiability: hypotheses must have the potential to be disconfirmed or proven wrong. This is a critical aspect of scientific theories. a. One hypothesis from a theory may be supported while another hypothesis from the same theory may not be supported. b. We run into problem when theories cannot be falsifiable. When this happens it is often because the hypothesis is too vague. c. When theories are more specific it is easier to decide when they do not match the data collected. 8. Proof a. In science we can never actually prove anything 100%. Out theories can only be consistent with the data and supported. Summary: 1. The scientific method is one of the best ways to pose new ideas, test hypotheses, and make statements about phenomena in the universe. 2. The scientific method is a lengthy process; 7 individual steps which can be grouped into 3 components. 3. Theories are more general, hypotheses are more specific, and predictions are the most specific. 4. A good experiment should be able to be proven false 5. It is important to take care when reading articles in the media that have been “proven”, we cannot scientifically prove anything 100%. Key terms to know: Scientific Method Theory Hypothesis 3 Prediction Falsifiability
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