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Chapter 3 notes

by: Alisha orr

Chapter 3 notes Psych 302-50

Alisha orr
U of L
GPA 3.2

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notes for chapter 3
Experimental Psychology
Lora Haynes
Class Notes
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Alisha orr on Saturday July 9, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Psych 302-50 at University of Louisville taught by Lora Haynes in Summer 2016. Since its upload, it has received 42 views. For similar materials see Experimental Psychology in Psychlogy at University of Louisville.


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Date Created: 07/09/16
Chapter 3 Notes Sources of research ideas can be seen falling into three broad categories: experience, theory, and  applied science Experience – Your everyday experience and observations of what goes on around you is a rich  source of research ideas. Can be unsystematic and informal (ex: wondering how someone can cope with terrorism after  reading an article on terror attacks) or systematic and formal (such as formulating a set of  questions after reading an article)  Unsystematic Observation – casual observations are a good starting point. However you must  still turn your casual observations into a form that can be tested empirically. Systemic Observation – In contrast to casual observation, systemic observation is planned. You  decide what you are going to observe how you are going to observe it, and how you will record  your observations. A second valuable source of systemic observation is published research reports. Instead of  observing behavior firsthand, you read about other firsthand observations from researchers.  Theory – Theories can lead to the development of research questions in two ways. Terror management theory – suggests that when you become aware that you live in an  unpredictable world in which your existence could end any moment, you get scared. (Terror) Group justification theories – focus on ethnocentrism and the formation of in group solidarity  and of hostile attitudes directed at members of out­groups. System justification theory – focuses on the process of justifying the existing social structures  even if this justification is harmful to personal and group interest.   Applied Research Applied research is problem oriented whereas basic research is aimed toward building basic  knowledge about phenomena. Developing good research questions The first step in developing a workable research project is to ask the kind of question that you  can answer with the scientific method. To be objective a question must meet three criteria. 1) You must be able to make the observations under precisely defined conditions 2) Your observations must be reproducible when those same conditions are present again 3) Your observations must be confirmable by others A question you can answer with objective observation is called an empirical question. Operational definition – defining a variable in terms of the operations required to measure it.  Defining variables operationally allows you to determine whether a relationship exists between  them. Operational definitions restrict the generality of answers obtained.  To conduct meaningful research you must choose a question that you can answer through scientific means. You must then operationally define your variables carefully so that you  are working with precise definitions. When you have formulated your empirically  testable question, you then proceed to the next step in the research process. Asking important questions – a question is probably important if answering it will clarify  relationships among variables known to affect the behavior under the study. A question is probably important if the answer can support only one of several competing  models or theoretical views, or leads to obvious practical application. A question is probably unimportant if its answer is already firmly established. Firmly established means that different scientist have replicated a research finding. A question in also probably  unimportant if the variables under scrutiny are known to have small effects on the behavior of  interest and if these effects are of no theoretical interest, or if there is no priori reason to believe  that the variables in question are causally related. Developing research ideas: Reviewing the Literature A literature review is the process of locating, obtaining, reading, and evaluating the research  literature in your area of interest. The most important reason for doing a literature review is to avoid needless duplication of effort Another reason to conduct a literature review is because your question may have already been  tested and answered Sources for research review – you can only count on scholarly sources to provide the detail and  thoroughness needed for scientific review. Sources containing research findings include books, scholarly journals, conventions and  professional meetings, and others such as personal communications and certain pages on the  web. including all details necessary to duplicate the study. A primary source includes descriptions of  the rationale of the study, its participants or subjects, materials or apparatus, procedure, results  and references. A secondary source is one that summarizes information from primary sources. Includes review  papers and theoretical articles that briefly describe studies and results, as well as descriptions of  research found in textbooks, popular magazines, newspaper articles, television shows, films or  lectures. Another type of secondary source is a meta­analysis Books – Texts or anthologies are the most valuable in the early stages of research. Often you can use references from theses text to track down relevant articles. Text in books may be original works and can be treated as primary sources (as long as they have  not been edited) Scholarly Journals – when work is submitted to a refereed journal it is reviewed usually by two  (or more) reviewers. Nonrefereed journals do not have such a review process. With nonrefereed journals the information may be incomplete. To find out the refereed status of a journal you need to look in the inside jacket for the review  policy.  Convention and Professional Meetings – A popular format for convention presentation is the  poster session. The poster includes an introduction to the topic and method, results, discussion,  and reference sections.  Other sources of research information ­ personal replies to your inquiries falls under the heading  of personal communication and are yet another source of research information. The internet also  provides another source of research information. You can find journal articles, technical reports,  original papers, etc.  The basic strategy of Research is: 1) Find a relevant research article 2) Use the reference section of the article that you found to locate other articles 3) Repeat steps 1 and 2 for each article identified 4) Use one of the many indexes available in your library 5) Repeat entire process as you find more articles The most fundamental library research tool for doing a literature search is an index or a  searchable electronic database. Examples are PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES, EBSCO  You must be careful when doing research on the internet because many articles do not go  through peer review. Reading a Research Report The information contained in the report reflects the purposes for which it was written. These  purposes include: 1) Arguing the need for doing research 2) Showing how research addresses the need 3) Clearly describing the methods used so that others can duplicate them 4) Presenting the findings of the research 5) Integrating the findings with previous knowledge, including previous research findings  and theories Critically reading and analyzing research literature involves two steps: an initial appraisal and a  careful analysis of content The initial appraisal involves evaluating the following:  Author  Date of publication – to see if it is current  Edition of revision  Publisher – generally books published by university publishers will be scholarly  Title of the journal – will help you determine if it is scholarly or not Evaluating the introduction: 1) Has the author correctly represented the results from previous research?  2) Does the author clearly state the purposes of the study and the nature of the problem  under study? 3) Do the hypotheses logically follow from the discussion in the introduction? 4) Are the hypotheses clearly stated and, more important, are they testable? Evaluating the method section: 1) Who served as participants in the study? How were they selected? Were they of the same  gender, race, etc? 2) Does the design of the study allow an adequate test of the hypotheses stated in the  introduction? 3) Are there any flaws in materials or procedures used in materials or procedures used that  might affect that validity of the study? Evaluating the Results Section: The results section presents the data of the study, along with the results from the inferential  statistical tests applied to the data When evaluating the results section, look for the following: 1) Which effects are statistically significant? 2) Are the differences reported large or small? 3) Were the appropriate statistics used? 4) Do the text, tables, and figures match? 5) If data are presented numerically in tables or in the text of the article, you should graph  those results. Evaluating the Discussion Section: In the discussion section you will find the author’s interpretations of results reported. When  evaluating the discussion section, here are a few things to look for: 1) Do the authors conclusions follow from the results reported 2) Does the author offer speculations concerning the results? 3) How well do the findings of the study mesh with previous research and existing theory? References: The last section of the article, can be used to find other research on your topic. Peer review process ­ means that the materials to be published or presented are reviewed by  experts in the area of the material covered. There can be many problems with peer reviews including a person’s bias against you or the  subject. Values can influence the course of scientific inquiry in several ways: 1) Practices – values can influence the practice of science, which affects the integrity of the  knowledge gained by the scientific method 2) Questions – values can determine which questions are addressed and which are ignored  about a given phenomenon 3) Data – values can determine which data are selected for analysis 4) Specific assumptions – values influence the basic assumptions that scientists make  concerning the phenomena that they study. 5) Global assumptions – values can affect the nature of the global assumptions that  scientists make that can affect that nature and character of the research conducted in an  entire area Developing Hypotheses Your hypotheses should flow logically from the sources of information used to develop your  research question.  Hypotheses development is an important step in the research process because it will drive your  later decisions concerning the variables to be manipulated and measured in your study.


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