AP Psychology, methods of research

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three main types of research
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clinical, experimental, and correlational
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experiment
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an investigation seeking to understand relations of cause and effect
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independent variable
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the manipulated variable in an experiment
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dependent variable
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what is measured in an experiment
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experimental group
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the group recieving or reacting to the independent variable in an experiment
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control group
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the group that does not receive the independent variable in an experiment
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random sampling
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if a population is too large, a representative sample must be drawn in which every person has an equal chance of being chosen to participate
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single-blind design
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the subjects do not know whether they are in the control group or the experimental group
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double-blind design
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neither the subjects nor the researcher know who is in the control group or the experimental group, but a third party records the data for later analyzation
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placebo
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a seemingly therapeutic object or procedure that causes the control group to believe they are in the experimental group but actually contains none of the tested material
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correlational research
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assessing the degree of association between two or more unmanipulated variables or characteristics of interest that occur naturally
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clinical research
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research in the form of case studies
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case studies
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intensive psychological studies of a single individual; dangerous because the individual may be atypical of the general population
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operational definition
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identifies what events are to be studied and demonstrates the process of studying them within the context of an experiment; must be both valid and reliable
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counterbalancing
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the process of enlisting several groups in an experiment to offset the effects of the test order on the subject
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group matching
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researchers attempt to categorize the subjects (by age, health status, gender, ect.) and ensure that the control group has members similar to those in the experimental group
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naturalistic observation
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researchers use to witness and record situations without becoming involved or drawing attention to the study
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descriptive statistics
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summarize data found from experiments
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inferential statistics
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allow researchers to test hypotheses about data and to determine how confident they can be in their inferences about the data
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central tendency
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the typical value in a set of data
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mean
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arithmetic average of a set of numbers
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median
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the number that falls exactly in the middle of a distribution of numbers
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mode
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the most frequently occuring value in the data set
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variability
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how much numbers in a set differ from one another
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standard deviation
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measures a function of the average dispersion of numbers around the mean and is a commonly used measure of variability
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percentile
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expresses the standing of one score relative to all other scores in a set of data
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inferential statistics
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used to determine our level of confidence that a given set of results would be extremely unlikely to occur if the result was only up to chance
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representative
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if a sample accurately reflects the characteristics of the population
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null hypothesis
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states that a treatment had no effect in an experiment
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alternative hypothesis
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states that a treatment had an effect in an experiment
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type 1 error
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the conclusion that a difference exists when in fact no such difference does
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type 2 error
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the conclusion that there is no difference when in fact there is such a difference
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informed consent
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an agreement to be in a study only after hearing about what types of experiences will be confronted in the study
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debriefing
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after the conclusion of an experiment, when participants are told the exact purpose of their participation in the research and any deceptive tactics that may have been used
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applied psychology
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psychology put directly into practice; eg. a therapist meeting with a client
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basic psychology
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psychology grounded in research

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