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Research Methods, Week 4 notes

by: Clarissa Hinshaw

Research Methods, Week 4 notes Psych 305

Marketplace > Northern Illinois University > Psychlogy > Psych 305 > Research Methods Week 4 notes
Clarissa Hinshaw
GPA 3.5

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Chapter 4 notes
Research Methods
Keith Millis
Class Notes
Psychology, research methods
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Clarissa Hinshaw on Sunday February 14, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Psych 305 at Northern Illinois University taught by Keith Millis in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 16 views. For similar materials see Research Methods in Psychlogy at Northern Illinois University.


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Date Created: 02/14/16
Chapter 4 Studying behavior  Variables o The event which varies in a study. o There must be at least 2 groups to compare o Situational Variables: variables describing a particular environment o Response Variables: Behaviors or responses of people o Participant or Subject Variables: variables reflecting differences among people o Mediating Variables: variables measuring situational variables.  Diffusion of responsibility  Helps explain mediating variable  Receives from number of bystanders and gives to helping behavior o Operational definitions of variable: the researcher first has to come up with ways to study the behavior in question and figure out ways to manipulate a variable. This  variable is defined on how it is measured. This strategy helps researchers to think  critically and outside of the box. It sometimes doesn’t make ideas specific enough. \ o Relationships between variables: the variables are being tested to see if there is a  relationship between them. Some variables are categorical, while others are  numerical.   Positive linear relationship: a positive correlation. Example: there is a  positive relationship between acceptance of homosexuality and the amount of  gay people feeling safe enough to come out.   Negative linear relationship: embodies a negative correlation. Example:  there is a relationship showing the increase in number of hours people spend  on social media and decrease in exam scores.   Curvilinear relationship: shows a positive/negative relationship changing  over time. Example: there is a positive relationship between fad dieting and  weight loss at first, but a negative relationship between these variables later  on.   No relationship: Variable with little or no correlation. Example: there is no  relationship between a cisgender woman’s breast size and amount of milk she  can produce for a baby.   Correlation Coefficient: a number between ­1&1, showing how strong or weak a  correlation is. The closer to ­1 or 1, the stronger the relationship. The closer to zero, the  weaker the relationship. Positive numbers=positive correlations, and negative numbers  =negative relationships.   Random variability and error variance refer to the uncertainty and randomness of  events.   Experimental method: research method where subjects are in lab­controlled  environment.  Non­Experimental method: a method where variables are not controlled, but  correlational relations are examined. Also referred to as the correlational method.  o Directionality issue: is one variable causing the other in a correlation, or is it the  other way around? Example: Do bad grades cause anxiety, or does anxiety cause  bad grades?  o Third variable problem: are there other variables possibly causing both  scenarios. Variables which could cause both bad grades and depression include  social media, unhealthy personal relationships, lack of financial stability, and  working too many hours during the school year.   Experimental method: studies taken place in a controlled environment with at least 2  groups. The experimental group(s) receives manipulation, while the control group does  not or receives a placebo (fake treatment). Example: an experiment testing the effects of  anxiety pills would give the pill to the experimental group and a sugar (placebo) pill to  the control group.   Experimental control: making sure the variable tested is the only one manipulated and  all other variables remain the same for all groups.   Randomization: randomly assigning people to groups to eliminate bias.  The independent variable causes the dependent variable. Example: in a study  measuring whether listening to a certain type of music influences personality, the music  would be the independent variable and personality would be the dependent variable.   All of these factors influence causality.   We can eliminate alternative explanations through random assignment.   Downsides of experiments o Artificiality of experiments: sometimes the lab can create an artificial  atmosphere.   This can be reduced through a field experiment: where a variable is  manipulated in a natural setting. Example: a cashier being constantly told  to ask a customer for more personal information and to try and sell more  products to see how well the cashier conforms to orders.   Sometimes it is unethical or impractical to use lab or field experiments, so correlational  methods must be used. These can be analyzed by ex post facto: after the fact.   Participant variables: demographic information of participants. This can include age,  gender, race, birth order, personality, or marital status.   Experiments are used to describe and predict behavior.   Using different methods is encouraged to develop a more complete understanding of  relations.   Types of validities: o Construct validity: is the experiment following the operational definition? o Internal validity: ability to assess results for relationships. o External validity: ability to draw conclusions from results to other populations.  o Conclusion validity: being able to analyze data for accurate relationships. Also  referred to as statistical conclusion validity. 


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