Psychology Study Guide Research Methods

Experimental Research
Establishes cause and effect between 2 variables

Experimental group
Gets the independent variable

Independent variable
What is given to or manipulated in the experimental group

Hypothesis
A test prediction. What experiment might support or not.

Standard Deviation
22, 23, 24, 25 42, 45, 48, 51 The 2nd list has higher standard deviation because the numbers are more spread out.

Operational Deviation
A definition for the purpose of research. For example, if studying the relationship between obesity and happiness, define obesity? Happiness?

Population
Everybody you want to study but can’t because it’s not practical.

Naturalistic observation?
Descriptive research where observer records but does not interact.

Correlation coefficient?
Number between -1 and +1 -indicates strength of relationship. 0 means no relationship at all.

Institutional Review Board
All research must be pre-approved by these people.

Experimenter bias
Double-blindness prevents this. Experiments wants study to have certain results. Tobacco companies studying effects of nicotine.

Survey method
Cheap method for collecting self-reported attitudes or behaviors of people. Wording effects and framing can affect results.

Control group
Does not receive the independent variable. Maybe a placebo.

Dependent variable
This is what is measured in an experiment. Does the pill reduce anxiety?

Theory
Set of principles that organize, explain, and predict phenomena

Replication
Repeated studies show same result, thus supporting hypothesis

Placebo
Sugar pill given to control group. Placebo effect is the tendency for people in the control group to show some improvement in their condition.

Randomization
Every member of the population has an equal chance of being selected. Reduces sampling erros and observer bias.

Validity
A study measures what it is supposed to measure.

Case Study
One thing is studied in depth. (A book about PTSD related to 9/11)

Correlation
The extent that 2 variables are related. Ice cream and murder are related.

Informed consent
People must know they are participating…and they must be willing.

Double-blind experiment
Participants and researchers don’t know who’s in which group. This prevents experimenter bias.

Confounding variables
2 variables are difficult to separate (ex. nature/nurture)

Problems with self report test
People lie, don’t understand questions, social desirability; people won’t admit to homosexual fantasies.

APA guidelines for animal research
1. must have clear scientific purpose
2. humane care of animals
3. animals must be trapped or bought legally
4. suffering must be minimized

APA guidelines for human research
No coercion: participation must be voluntary
Institutional review board: must approve the study for ehtics
Informed consent: they must know that they are involved in research and give their consent. If they are deceived, what they DID consent to must be similar to actual study. Minimize trauma.
Anonymity/confidentiality/privacy
Risk: mental and physical safety
Debriefing procedure: afterward, participants must be told of purpose of study; need ability to contact researcher about results.

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