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McBride Chapter 5: Variables and Measurement in Research

by: Derrick Collins

McBride Chapter 5: Variables and Measurement in Research Psy 3070

Marketplace > Middle Tennessee State University > Psychology (PSYC) > Psy 3070 > McBride Chapter 5 Variables and Measurement in Research
Derrick Collins

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About this Document

These notes cover the material in chapter 5.
Research Methods
Dr. Stuart E. Bernstein
Class Notes
Psychology, variables, measurements, Scales, nominal, ordinal, ratio, interval, validity, response, Reliability, manipulations, quasi-independent
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This 9 page Class Notes was uploaded by Derrick Collins on Monday September 12, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Psy 3070 at Middle Tennessee State University taught by Dr. Stuart E. Bernstein in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 5 views. For similar materials see Research Methods in Psychology (PSYC) at Middle Tennessee State University.

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Date Created: 09/12/16
Derrick Collins Stuart E. Bernstein Psychology 3070- 001: Research Methods Book: The Process of Research in Psychology 3 edition. Mc Bride, D.M. (2015) Notes over: Chapter 5 Variables and Measurement in Research “Dependent Variables” (99)  Variables “measured or observed from an individual.” (99)  “Reliability: degree to which the results of a study can be replicated under similar conditions.” (99)  “Operational definition: definition of an abstract concept used to measure or manipulate the concept in a research study.” (99) “Scale of Measurement” (100)  “Different types of measures allow different questions to be asked about behaviors.” (100) o Some “more reliable than others.” (100)  Four “primary scales of measurement for dependent variables:” (100) o “Nominal scale: a scale of data measurement that involves nonordered categorical responses.” (101)  Simplest scale. (101)  Ex. Gender (male,female) (101)  “Qualitative data rather than quantitative”. (101) o “Ordinal scale: scale of data measurement that involves ordered categorical responses.” (101)  Response categories are “not assumed to be equally spaced on the continuum.” (101)  Ex. “not at all anxious” to “very anxious” (101)  Also qualitative data. (101) o “Interval scale: scale of data measurement that involves numerical responses that are equally spaced, but scores are not ratios of each other.” (101)  “Likert scale: scale that measures a participant’s agreement or disagreement with different types of statements.” (101)  Often for “responses from surveys… with qualitative anchors provided to give values meaning.” (101)  Responses given are “numerical… with equal spacing between the different numbers on the scale.” (102) o “Ratio scale: scale of data measurement that involves numerical responses, where scores are ratios of each other.” (102)  “Reaction time: the length of time to complete a task.” (102)  Ex. For ratio- age measured in days since birth. (102)  Ex. For interval- ratings on personality surveys with values from 1 to 5. (102) o “Distance, time accuracy, height, or weight are ratio scales.” (102)  Temperature scales: Interval scale- no real zero, accept for Kelvin. (102) “Validity and Response Scales” (103)  “Choice of measurement can… affect the validity of a study.” (103) o The more accurate the measure, the better. (inches better than feet)  “Construct validity: indicates that a survey measures the behavior it is designed to measure.” (103) o “A measure with high construct validity provides an accurate measure of the behavior of interest.” (103)  Beck Anxiety Inventory; (Beck & Steer, 1993) (103) o “Nonverbal scale: survey response scale that involves pictorial response categories for participants with low verbal skills. (e.g. children)” (103)  “Face validity: on the surface, a study or scale appears intuitively valid.” (104) “Reliability of Measurements and Response Scale” (104)  “The reliability of a survey is tested by comparing scores for the same participant on different parts of the survey.” (104)  “Inter-rater/inter-observer reliability: a measure of the degree to which different observers observe or code behaviors in similar ways.” (104) o “In studies with multiple observers, you want to be sure that different observers are making observations in the same way.” (105)  “Must be well trained to code behaviors in the same way, and inter-rater reliability should be tested by having each observer code the same set of behaviors to look for a strong positive relationship between the data coded by the different observers.” (105)  “High inter-rater reliability means that there is a high rate of agreement in the way the different observers are recording behaviors.” (105) “Independent Variables”_____________________________________________________(105)  “A variable in an experiment that is manipulated by the researcher such that the levels of the variable change across or within subject in the experiment.” (105) “Types of Manipulations” (106)  “Three ways in which an independent variable can be manipulated to creates levels of the independent variable:” 1. “As the presence and absence of a treatment or situation.” (106) 2. “As a type of treatment or situation.” (106) 3. “As the amount of a factor in a treatment or situation.” (106)  “Presence/ absence variable: a variable that involves a manipulation with a level that involves the treatment and a level that does not involve the treatment.” (106) o “For presence/absence variables, the presences group is the experimental group, the absence group is the control group.” (106)  “Bivalent Independent Variable: an independent variable with two levels”. (106) o “A design is considered bivalent if it contains only one bivalent independent variable.” (106)  “Type variables: a variable that involves a manipulation of types of a treatment.” (106)  “Amount variable: a variable that includes levels with a different amount of the treatment changing from level to level.” (106)  “Multivalent variable: an independent variable that includes three or more levels” (106) o “A design is considered multivalent if there is only one independent variable that contains tree or more levels.” (106) “Quasi-Independent Variables” (107)  “Variable that allows comparison of groups of participants without manipulation. (i.e. no random assignment)” (107) o Ex. Gender, age, personality types. (108) o “Must be cautious, because causal relationship between the quasi-independent variables and dependent variables is not as clear as it is with true independent variables.” (108)  “Must consider additional factors when drawing conclusion from these factors.” (108) “Validity and Sources of Bias”__________________________________________________(110) “Internal Validity” (110)  “The degree to which a study provides causal information about behavior.” (111) o “Well-designed experiments… have higher interval validity than other research designs.” (111)  Must control biases that “make the causal relationship less clear.” (111)  “Confounding variable: extraneous factor present in a study that may affect the results.” (111) “Experimenter Bias” (111)  “Source of bias in a study created when a researcher treats groups differently based on knowledge of the hypothesis.” (111) o To counter this, “a blind procedure is used to hide the group assignment from the researcher and prevent bias from occurring.” (112)  “Single-Blind Design: procedure used to hide the group assignment from participants to prevent their beliefs about a treatment from affecting the results.” (112)  “Placebo: sugar pill to control a drug study by making all groups believe they are receiving a treatment.” (112)  “Double-Blind Design: procedure used to control for experimenter bias by keeping the knowledge of the group assignments from both the participants and the researchers who interact with participants.” (112) “Testing Effects” (112)  “Occur when participants are tested more than once in a study, with early testing affecting later testing.” (112) o “Within-Subjects Variable: each participant experiences all levels of the independent variable.” (112) o “Between-Subjects Variable: each participant experiences only one level of the independent variable.” (112)  “Testing effects occur when initial test affects data collected on subsequent tests.” (112)  “More time participants spend on completing a task… the more easily they complete the task.” (112) o “The opposite can occur with extreme numbers of trials or repeated testing sessions in a study.” Fatigue sets in. (113)  “Counterbalancing: control used in Within-Subjects experiments in equal numbers of participants are randomly assigned to different orders of the conditions.” (113) “Regression Towards Mean” (113)  “Can occur when participants score higher or lower than their personal average. The next time they are tested, they are more likely to score near personal average, making scores unreliable.” (113) o “Extreme scores aren’t likely to occur.” (113)  “Problematic when test is given more than once.” (113)  Makes “comparison of scores across conditions of the study difficult.” (113)  “Regression towards the mean can also hide the effect of a variable” (e.g. shows similarity despite different techniques) (113) o “Best way to minimize its effects is to use random assignments to conditions for between-subjects variables and use several repetitions of the test for within-subjects variables.” (113)  “Random assignments should help spread… regression towards the mean across different groups”  “Trimming extreme scores from the data helps minimize regression towards the mean.” (114)  “Splitting a group in half, based on high and low scores, can also control for regression towards the mean.” (114)  Using “large number of participants in a study can help minimize effect of a single extreme score.” (114) “External Validity” (114)  “The degree to which the results of a study apply to individuals and realistic behaviors outside the study.” (114) o “Can be reduced by attrition/mortality.” (114)  This “occurs when participants choose not to complete a study.” (114) o As more control is imposed over sources of bias, external validity suffers. (114) o “Hawthorne effect: a source of bias that can occur in a study due to participants changing their behavior because they are aware that they are being observed.” (115) o “Field experiment: an experiment conducted in the participant’s natural environment.” (115)  Low internal validity since factors aren’t controlled. (115) “Hawthorne Effect”  Term coined when Landsberger (1955) analyzed studies at the Hawthorne Plant. (116)  “Demand Characteristics: a source of bias that can occur in a study due to participants changing their behavior.” (116) o Results from participant involvement in study. (116)  To avoid Hawthorne Effect, observe participants unobtrusively (116) o Can be done using naturalistic observation. (116) o Also make participants’ responses anonymous. (116)  “May alleviate some effects” of bias. (116) o Deceptions used. (116) “Sources of Bias to a Field of Study” (116)  Some biases are “specific to field of study.” (116)


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