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Psychology 242, Introduction to Research Methods

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Title: Psychology 242, Introduction to Research Methods


1
Psychology 242, Dr. McKirnan
Right click for full Screen or end show.
Left click to proceed,
1/5/09
Introduction to research in psychology.
The Class web site is http//www.uic.edu/classes/
psych/psych242 Look in the "Announcements"
window on the home page for Web updates or class
announcements. Please e-mail me ASAP if you find
a broken or incorrect link!
2
We will cover some basic topics in science…
  • What is science?
  • How can research answer basic questions about
    behavior?
  • How do we ensure our research is ethical?
  • How do we gather data that is reliable and valid?
  • Who do we study, and why?
  • How do we answer research questions when a true
    experiment is not possible?
  • How do we use statistics to evaluate our results?

How do we state an issue as a research
question? What is a theory? A
hypothesis? An operational definition?
How much of what we know is actually
superstition? Rational?
How does science differ from… common
sense? religious belief? intuition?
What are the basic features of a true
experiment? How do experiments differ from simple
measurement?
How do we decide who we should be studying? How
do we make sure our sample represents the
population?
How do we conduct experiments in nature? How
do we use surveys to test hypotheses?
How do statistical approaches affect the way we
see the world? How do we use statistics to test
if our results are significant or meaningful?
3
The course…
  • The course is based on the web site.
  • All lecture notes are there
  • All your readings discussion group assignments
  • Complete term paper instructions
  • The core course content is given in lectures.
  • Exams are (almost) completely lecture based.
  • You get course points via iClicker devices in
    class
  • The term paper is central to the course.
  • Working on the paper will help you get the rest
    of the course materials (really!).
  • Begin early!!

4
Grades..
  • Grading
  • 3 exams, each worth 15 of your grade
  • Lecture attendance, 10
  • Discussion group attendance assignments, 15
  • Research paper, 30
  • Exams take content from the lectures
  • Discussion groups require both attendance and
    assignment completion
  • Talk to your TA and begin the paper early!!

5
  • An iclicker remote is required for this course.
  • You can purchase a new or used clicker through
    the bookstore, from other students, or possibly
    used on-line.

6
How will we use the clicker?
  • I pose questions on the screen during lecture.
  • You answer using your iclicker remote.
  • Class results are tallied.
  • I display a graph with the class results on the
    screen.
  • We discuss the questions and answers.
  • You get points both for lecture participation and
    for answering questions correctly.

7
How do you vote?
  • Turn on the clicker by pressing the bottom
    On/Off button.
  • A blue Power light will appear at the top of
    the remote.

8
How do you vote?
  • When I ask a question in class (and start the
    timer), select A, B, C, D, or E as your vote.
  • I may also ask you to talk about your answer in
    class.

9
How do you know your vote was received?
  • Check your Vote Status Light
  • Green light your vote was sent AND received.
  • Red flashing light you need to vote again.
  • Not sure you saw the light?
  • Just vote again.
  • Want to change your vote?
  • You can vote again as long as the timer is still
    going.

10
Registering your iclicker
Until you register your iclicker, your responses
are tied to your clicker remote ID (located on
the back of your clicker), rather than to you.
When you do register, your previously recorded
voting responses will be assigned to you.
11
Registering your iclicker online
1. Go to www.iclicker.com. 2. Click
REGISTER. 3. Enter these 4 details and click
submit. IMPORTANT!! You MUST enter your
student ID in the STUDENT ID field to ensure
proper crediting.
REGISTER AT www.iclicker.com
12
Other tips
  • If you bought a used clicker, replace the AAA
    batteries (all of them).
  • Do not use Duracell (they are a bit short for the
    casing).
  • Do not use rechargeable batteries (they harm the
    clicker).
  • Register your clicker by the second week of
    classes.
  • Before using a new clicker for the first time,
    pull the plastic tab out of the battery
    compartment.
  • Bring your clicker to class every day!
  • Make sure your remote is on when voting!
  • Do not submerge your clicker in liquid (and avoid
    liquid near the clicker) like most electronics,
    liquid your clicker is a bad combination.
  • Check out www.iclicker.com for FAQs.
  • Contact support_at_iclicker.com for help.

13
The big picture Introductory lectures
  • How do we know something?
  • Science, anti-science, pseudoscience.
  • Where does our knowledge of the world come from?
  • What does science do?
  • The core features of a research study.
  • Overall Research approaches.
  • Authority
  • Intuition
  • Simple Empiricism
  • Rationalism
  • Describe the world
  • Predict behavior
  • Test theories
  • Test applications of theories

14
Introduction to science, 1
  • How do we know something?
  • Science, anti-science, pseudoscience.
  • Where does our knowledge of the world come from?
  • What does science do?
  • The core features of a research study.
  • Overall Research approaches.

?
15
How do we know things?
  • Gay marriage would destroy the institution of
    marriage.
  • The movie will begin at 900.
  • Iran is a clear and present danger to the U.S.
  • About 3,000 people were killed on 9/11/01.
  • Each of us has an intrinsic purpose that we must
    discover.
  • The earth is about 3.5 billion years old.
  • We will make a key distinction between beliefs
    and empirical statements
  • Beliefs may be true and important, but cannot be
    empirically tested or demonstrated.

16
How do we know things?
  • Gay marriage would destroy the institution of
    marriage.
  • The movie will begin at 900.
  • Iran is a clear and present danger to the U.S.
  • About 3,000 people were killed on 9/11/01.
  • Each of us has an intrinsic purpose that we must
    discover.
  • The earth is about 3.5 billion years old.

What research could you do on this statement?
17
Lets answer some knowledge attitude questions…
using your iclickers
  • All ideas have some merit and should be
    considered equally.

A True B Im not sure C False
  • Most any idea is worthy of study.
  • Scientific acceptance of ideas is not
    egalitarian ideas that are coherent and have
    empirical support are better.

18
Knowledge attitudes, 2
  • If a lot of people believe something there is
    probably something to that.

A True B Im not sure C False
  • Popular opinion per se is an important area of
    study.
  • Scientific is not democratic the data win,
    not the majority of believers
  • Many foolish or dangerous ideas were accepted by
    many people, even scientists, until countered by
    data.

19
Knowledge attitudes, 3
  • I can just sense when something is true or false.

A True B Im not sure C False
  • Intuition is an important source of hypotheses or
    theories
  • Intuition describes your emotions, not
    necessarily the read world.
  • Emotionality subjectivity are unscientific
    until they are empirically tested.

20
Knowledge attitudes, 4
  • Everyone is biased, even scientists, so why
    shouldnt I just believe what makes sense to me?

A True B Im not sure C False
  • Preconception can be useful when based on
    previous research
  • Science is designed to not be person based
  • Science is about methods, not people and their
    bias
  • Scientific method specifically works to lessen
    personal bias.

21
Science represents some core values about
knowledge
  • Some ideas are better than others.
  • Science is based on methods and evidence, not
    people.
  • Evidence from the natural world personal biases
    or beliefs.
  • Logic or rational thought emotions, fear.
  • Is it logically coherent?
  • Is it supported by evidence?
  • Importance of real world tests of ideas or
    plans.
  • Refusal to Cherry pick confirmatory or
    self-serving evidence.

22
Introduction to science, 2
  • How do we know something?
  • Science, anti-science, pseudoscience.
  • Where does our knowledge of the world come from?
  • What does science do?
  • The core features of a research study.
  • Overall Research approaches.

?
23
Are we rational?
  • Is American society rational?
  • Are our beliefs generally scientific?

24
Beliefs…
  • How much do you believe in…
  • ESP or Extrasensory Perception
  • A I believe in this
  • B I am not sure
  • C I do not believe in this

25
Beliefs, 2…
  • How much do you believe…
  • That houses can be haunted
  • A I believe in this
  • B I am not sure
  • C I do not believe in this

26
Beliefs, 3…
  • Have you ever…
  • Been protected from harm by an angel?
  • A Yes
  • B I am not sure
  • C No

27
Beliefs, 4…
  • Have you ever…
  • Had a dream that later became true?
  • A Yes
  • B I am not sure
  • C No

28
Science on the run
  • Science rationality are on the run in the 21st
    Century

29
Science rationality on the run Beliefs in
Para-normal phenomena
30
Science rationality on the run, cont.
Our anti-empirical society
  • Only 27 do not endorse any para-normal belief
  • 73 endorse at least one irrational belief
  • 57 endorse at least 2 beliefs
  • Beliefs such as haunted houses or demonic
    possession are common ( 40).

57
73
27
31
Direct paranormal experiences among Americans
  • 55 of Americans
  • "I was protected from harm by a guardian angel.
  • Paranormal Experiences in the United States
  • Percent that report the following experiences

Used acupuncture or other forms of alternative
medicine 28 Consulted a horoscope to get
an idea about the course of your life 28 Called
or consulted a medium, fortune teller or
psychic 13 Visited or lived in a house or place
believed to be haunted 22 Consulted a Ouija
board to contact a deceased person or spirit
8 Had a dream that later came true 43
Witnessed an object in the sky that you could
not identify (UFO) 17
Baylor University nationally representative
survey of 1,721 respondents
32
The U.S. is a deeply religious country
  • 89 consider themselves affiliated with a
    religion
  • Of unaffiliated 63 believe in God (to a
    greater or lesser extent).
  • Only 4 have no affiliation and do not believe in
    God

33
The role of religion in Anti-science attitudes
  • Evolution has become a core wedge issue in U.S.
    religious cultural politics.
  • Gallup data
  • Few endorse a wholly scientific view of the
    origins of species
  • Biblical creation view most common.
  • Intelligent Design version of creationism
    relatively common

34
Anti-science attitudes the evolution debate,
cont.
Americans are the least accepting of evolution in
Western countries…
only Turkey scores lower.
  • Key predictors of rejecting evolution
  • Fundamentalist religious identity
  • Politically conservative / Republican ideology
  • Less scientifically literate
  • Anti-choice stem cell research
  • Older, male

35
Studying beliefs about science
  • Beliefs about science can themselves be
    scientifically studied
  • Following is an example of a complex
    correlational study of attitudes toward evolution.

36
Predictors of pro-evolution attitudes U.S. v.
Europe
In both the U.S. and Europe education strongly
predicts genetic literacy, which itself
underlies acceptance of evolution.
In both areas religiosity and pro-life attitudes
lead to greater political conservatism…
And to less acceptance of evolution.
37
Where do ideas about science come from? Education
versus politics
Religiosity and pro-life attitudes have much
stronger influence on political ideology and
attitudes toward evolution ? in the U.S.
? than in Europe.
…and political conservatism predicts rejection of
evolution in the U.S.,
but not in Europe.
38
Bottom line
  • A scientific (rational, empirical) perspective
  • combines rational thought with empirical evidence
  • is not just a research method, but is a larger
    approach to knowledge.
  • Conservative religious politics are generally
    not supportive of empirical or scientific thought
  • Social class and health
  • Stem cell research
  • Abstinence-only sex Ed.
  • Teaching of Evolution
  • Project DARE drug prevention
  • Global warming
  • Science education is increasingly crucial.

39
Introduction to science, 3
  • How do we know something?
  • Science, anti-science, pseudoscience.
  • Where does our knowledge of the world come from?
  • What does science do?
  • The core features of a research study.
  • Overall Research approaches.

?
Woman with book, Pablo Picasso.
40
Four basic sources of knowledge or information
  • Authority I believe what they tell me to
  • Credible / powerful people
  • Important social institutions
  • Simple tradition
  • Intuition I believe my Gut feelings
  • Emotionality or a hunch
  • Empiricism I believe what I can see
  • Simple sensation or perception
  • Direct observation data
  • Rationalism I believe what makes sense.
  • Logical coherence
  • Articulation with other ideas

41
Authority-based belief
  • Advantages
  • Stable core of beliefs or principles.
  • Move a field beyond the data Visionaries,
    revolutionaries
  • Disadvantages
  • Insensitive to proof or evidence
  • Highly susceptible to political bias
  • Can require evidence / science be corrupted,
    distorted or ignored.
  • Ignore or circumvent normal scientific procedures
    (e.g., Intelligent Design content in biology
    instruction).

42
Intuition, emotion, superstition
  • Advantages
  • Emotional or personal insight
  • Origin of novel hypotheses or theories
  • Move a field beyond the data
  • Disadvantages
  • Insensitive to proof or evidence
  • Wishful thinking? often explicitly
    non-empirical
  • Emotion (e.g., fear) rationality or evidence

43
Intuition and Magical thought
  • Our brains may be hard wired for intuitive,
    Magical Thought

44
Intuition, Magical Thought science
  • The brain has evolved to make snap judgments
    about causation
  • We leap to conclusions before logic can be
    applied.
  • Psychological biases can lead to distorted
    beliefs.
  • Our tendency toward for magical thought makes
    make scientific arguments a harder sell.
  • Taking a rational, empirical approach can require
    that we suppress or reject our intuitive sense of
    causation
  • Emotional information processing is faster than
    logical or verbal processing
  • Simple perceptual biases precede any processing…
  • Co-occurrence / correlation ? causality
  • Emotional need for personal control ? personal
    causation.

45
Empiricism or simple exposure
  • Advantages
  • Grounds knowledge in external, real world.
  • Confirm intuition by direct observation
  • Makes knowledge public (e.g., Copernican
    revolution)
  • Disadvantages / limitations
  • Simple illusions / misperceptions / measurement
    error
  • Confirmatory bias
  • Oversensitive to emotional / perceptual salience
  • Spurious correlations
  • Anti-science use of naïve empiricism

46
Limits of empiricism optical illusions
Akiyoshi KITAOKA, Professor, Department of
Psychology, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan
http//www.ritsumei.ac.jp/akitaoka/index-e.html
47
Empiricism and the confirmatory bias
subjective co-occurrence matrix.
  • Cops and doughnuts

Police officer present?
? memorability
?
?
Doughnut present?
?
?
48
Emotional / perceptual salience
  • Certain experiences are more cognitively
    available.
  • Observation is never neutral or objective
  • Events / stimuli we pay attention to remember
    are influenced by
  • Their perceptual salience
  • Our emotional needs
  • Which is more hazardous airline travel or
    automobile travel?
  • Which is more common in women breast cancer or
    cardio-vascular disease?
  • Conspiracy theories could Kennedy have been
    killed by a single person? (law of effect)
  • Fear based attitude change Saddam is an evil
    Arab ? Arabs attacked us on 9/11 ? Saddam must be
    responsible for 9/11.
  • We only notice certain things
  • We only encode certain things
  • We only recall certain things in a given situation

49
empiricism and spurious (naïve empirical)
correlations
  • The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer
    heart attacks than the British or Americans.
  • The French eat a lot of fat and also suffer fewer
    heart attacks than the British or Americans.
  • The Japanese drink very little red wine and
    suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or
    Americans.
  • The Italians drink lots of red wine and suffer
    fewer heart attacks than the British or
    Americans.
  • Conclusion Eat drink what you like. It's
    speaking English that kills you. 

50
Naïve empiricism
  • Naïve Empiricism
  • can reflect anti-
  • scientific bias
  • (e.g., creationism arguments see Schafley
    editorial.)

(I wont believe it unless I can directly see it
myself)
  • Science asks why?, not simply what?
  • Scientific data are often not directly observable
  • Empirical evidence can involve a large time scale
  • Microscopic / atomic level
  • Indirect evidence via instrumentation or
    accretion
  • Paleontology, geology, astrophysics
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Theory hypothesis testing simple data

51
Rationalism
  • Advantages
  • Develop larger, coherent principles or theories.
  • Accept conclusions that correspond to other
    knowledge
  • Disadvantages
  • Correspondence to empirical world?
  • Susceptible to ideological bias or authority
    based belief systems

52
Bottom line Ways of knowing and science
  • Authority / authoritarianism
  • Provides stable, core principles or beliefs
  • Limits empirical evidence or alternative views
  • Intuition / subjective hunch
  • Important source of novel hypotheses / theories /
    scientific approaches
  • Emotion-based wishful thinking or magical
    thought can make us irrational or ignore /
    distort empirical facts.
  • Empiricism
  • Grounds knowledge in real world, provides
    important hypothesis-testing perspective
  • Our perceptions are subject to cognitive /
    emotional biases.
  • Rationalism / theory
  • Central purpose of science coherent explanation
    of why or how nature works.
  • When subject to political pressure can limit
    hypothesis testing or lessen respect for
    empirical evidence.

53
How do we Know something?
  • Science Integration of..
  • Rationalism
  • Theory
  • Hypothesis
  • Empiricism
  • Objective observation
  • Control
  • Operational definitions
  • Replication

54
Introduction to science, 4
  • How do we know something?
  • Science, anti-science, pseudoscience.
  • Where does our knowledge of the world come from?
  • What does science do?
  • The core features of a research study.
  • Overall Research approaches.

?
55
What does science do?
  • Describe the world
  • Initial approach to scientific study what is
    it
  • Leads to hypotheses
  • Predict events
  • Core feature of a hypothesis if X then Y.
  • Often still descriptive rather than experimental.
  • Test theories
  • Cause and effect questions involving hypothetical
    constructs.
  • Often controlled experiments or complex
    correlation designs.
  • Test applications of theories
  • Using theory to model change
  • Testing interventions or policy

56
Science A. Describing the world
  • Taxonomies or behavioral categories

Major personality "types"? Categories of mental
illnesses "Types" of drug users.
  • Epidemiology rate of behavior or status x a
    population

Distribution of HIV/AIDS sifts by time, place,
demographics Uniform crime rates Distribution of
drug use types across ages…
  • Direct behavioral description typically
    qualitative

Consumer decision making processes. Actual
mechanics of drug acquisition use...
57
Science B. Prediction of events
?solve a practical problem ? test a theory
  • Simple prediction

What test score or personal attribute predicts
college success? How can I predict which
employees will develop a drug problem?
  • Method of similarity (Correlation)

What child rearing style correlates with
extroversion? What personality types correlate
with drug use?
  • Method of differences" (Experiment)

Test efficacy of a heroin agonist v. placebo in
treating drug addicts
1. Two groups differ in one attribute
(Independent variable) -- an existing condition
/ behavior -- an imposed treatment 2. Do they
also differ in a second attribute? (Dependent
var.)
58
Science C. Testing theories
  • Direct cause effect questions

What causes individual differences in academic
ability? How does personality create
vulnerability to drug use?
  • Identifying basic psychological processes

How is language consolidated in the brain? What
brain behavioral changes underlie drug
tolerance?
  • Showing how processes are related

Mediation Do drugs lead to risk by making people
more impulsive? Moderation Do drugs lead to risk
primarily among men who are depressed? (Does
depression create vulnerability to drug-related
risk…?)
59
Testing theory Mediating effects
Simple empirical effect
Drug use
Risky behavior
Mediating (theory testing) hypothesis
  • How does an effect work? Why or How does drug
    use lead to risk?
  • Where / how might we change it?

Drug use
Impulsivity
Risky behavior
60
Testing theory Moderating effects
Moderating (theory limiting) hypothesis
  • When or among whom does an effect work?
  • Where / how might we change it in different
    groups?

Drug use
Risk
Depressed men
Non-depressed men
Drug use
Risk
61
Science D. Testing applications of theories
  • Using theory to design an intervention

Using basic learning theory to teach people to
no longer have phobias. Designing alternatives to
drug use for people with high sensation seeking
disposition…
  • Using an intervention study to actually test a
    theory

Comparing drug treatment to cognitive-behavioral
treatment for depression. Testing social network
approaches to drug prevention among college
students.
62
What does science do Summary?
  • Descriptive studies
  • who what where…
  • Predict events
  • Correlational studies
  • Experiments / Hypothesis tests
  • Test theories
  • How / why it works
  • Testing applications of theories

63
Introduction to science, 5
  • How do we know something?
  • Science, anti-science, pseudoscience.
  • Where does our knowledge of the world come from?
  • What does science do?
  • The core features of a research study.
  • Overall Research approaches.

?
64
The core features of a research study
65
Basics of research what is a theory?
Abstract statement of how two processes relate to
each other… Answers why or how the phenomenon
works.
Theory
A theory has two core ingredients…
  • Hypothetical Constructs
  • Abstract statements of psychological processes…
  • stress, depression, learning, attraction…
  • …that cannot be directly observed we observe
    their effects only.
  • Interview data, behavioral symptoms,
    questionnaire…
  • That are linked as a proposition.
  • Specifies how one construct is related to
    another…
  • stress genetics ? depression
  • …and Generally specifies what causes an outcome

66
How do we use theory in research?
  • Test a theory does stereotype threat actually
    exist and govern performance?
  • Compare theories Which best explains womens
    statistics performance stereotype threat or
    social role learning
  • Extend an established theory to a new outcome or
    phenomenon can stereotype threat help us explain
    athletic as well as academic performance?
  • Apply a theory to change behavior can I create
    instructions that relieve stereotype threat for
    women during statistics.

67
The core features of a research study
68
Basics of research hypothesis
Hypothesis
A concrete statement of how processes relate to
each other..
  • An hypothesis is a Prediction
  • It links variables derived from the theory.
  • It implicitly specifies your idea of cause and
    effect.
  • Hypotheses are expressed in control terms for
    experiments.
  • If X then Y if I make people relaxed their fear
    and loathing of statistics will decrease…
  • …and as a simple relation for measurement
    studies.
  • People who are (already) relaxed will tend to
    fear statistics less
  • …that is potentially falsifiable (see text for
    discussion)
  • Can be conceivably / logically shown to be untrue
  • Specific enough to be tested

about variables derived from your theory.
69
The core features of a research study
70
Basics of research methods
Methods
Turn variables into research procedures.
  • Core element of scientific approach
  • Objective designed to separate data from person
  • Public Copernican Revolution / Galileo
  • Replicable others can repeat or expand the study
  • Test variables via operation definition
  • Specify operations that express construct
  • Define / understand variable in terms of
    operations

Verbal behavior
vegetative sleep, eating
Depression
Appearance
Suicide, drug use, work…
etc…
71
What does it mean to operationalize a variable?
  • 1. Specify a manipulation that creates the
    variable.
  • Typical of the independent variable in
    experiments
  • To relate stress to memory I may create stress
    in the lab via…
  • Threatening information.
  • Shock.
  • Requiring a difficult performance in front of
    others.
  • 2. Specify a measurement to capture a variable
  • For measurement studies and the dependent
    variable in experiments.
  • Measurement-based operational definitions of
    stress may be
  • A questionnaire scale
  • Heart rate
  • Anxious behavior, sleep loss, appetite change…

72
Why use operational definitions?
  • Any theory must be operationalized to be
    heuristically useful
  • Generate concrete testable hypotheses
  • Test or eliminates jargon, pop psych, new age
    constructs
  • Many ? concepts are abstract, so their real
    meaning critically depends on an operational
    definition.
  • Attitudes
  • Cognitive load
  • Operational definitions orient us toward real
    world in theory development.
  • Stress
  • I.Q.

73
The limits of operationism
  • Science consists of theories explanations, not
    just measures.
  • Measures that do not have the goal of explaining
    a ? process are vacuous.
  • Science wants general laws, not measure-specific
    findings.
  • A concept pertains to a class of measures (e.g.,
    diverse measures of depression, motivation,
    etc.), not one specific measure.
  • Ultimately, science does not care about the
    measures or the numbers

74
Methods of operationally defining variables
  • Some variables are easy to operationalize e.g.,
    the effect of a drug dose on hypertension.
  • IV drug1 v. drug dose2 v. placebo
  • DV blood pressure, serum measure, etc.
  • Some constructs can only be roughly
    operationalized.
  • Variables such as future orientation, identity
    integration…
  • Some constructs have diverging operational
    definitions.
  • How do you operationally define stress?
  • …motivation?
  • Some domains may not be operationalizable.
  • String theory…
  • Relativity v. quantum mechanics views of gravity
    indirect derivations can be tested, but not the
    core construct
  • Spirituality? Happiness?

Behavior? Self-perception? Physiological?
75
The core features of a research study
76
Basics of research Data Analyses
Statistics
  • Provide a Numerical representation (or
    operational definition…) of reality
  • Rating scales ratio, interval, ordinal,
    categorical
  • Statistics can be Descriptive
  • Simply characterize a phenomenon what is it?.
  • Test a theory how does it work?
  • Statistical reasoning is central to
    interpreting research.
  • We use the normal distribution probability
    judgements to determine whether observations are
    meaningful

or Inferential.
77
Basics of research Results
  • Descriptive or measurement studies typically
    address…
  • A simple empirical question…
  • What of adolescents use X or Y drugs?
  • Demographic profile of an undecided voter?
  • Or an exploratory account of a question…
  • What are the correlates of college success?
  • Experiments (and some measurement studies) always
    test a hypothesis
  • How do we know if the hypothesis was supported?
  • What statistical criteria did we use?
  • Are there alternative explanations for the
    results?

78
The core features of a research study
79
Basics of research Discussion
  • Core issue What are the implications of the
    results for our theory.
  • What does it mean that the hypothesis was (was
    not) supported?
  • What future research does this lead to?
  • What other hypotheses might these data support?
  • Study limitations what are the boundaries on
    what this study can tell us?
  • Internal validity
  • How well did we model or represent the
    hypothetical constructs we were interested in?
  • Quality / nature of operationalization design.
  • External validity
  • Our sample?
  • Our manipulation or measurement of the
    independent variable(s)?
  • Our assessment of the dependent or outcome
    variable(s)?
  • The research setting itself

How representative was…
80
Core features of a research study
Theory
  • Hypothetical constructs
  • In important relationship
  • More specific variables
  • Falsifiable prediction

Hypothesis
Methods
  • Operational definition
  • Internal external validity
  • Numerical representation
  • Normal distribution
  • Probability

Data Analysis
Results
  • Descriptive Empirical question or exploration
  • Hypothesis Statistical significance

Discussion
  • Meaning of these results for the theory
  • Limitations of methods sample, setting, variables

81
Basic Elements of a Research Project
Each element of the project corresponds to a
later / earlier issue…
Phenomenon Big picture / question
Theory Hypothetical Constructs Causal explanation
Move from the big question and theory…
Hypothesis Operational definition Specific
prediction
…to a concrete hypothesis…
Methods Measurement v. experimental
To specific methods, the core of a scientific
study…
  • Data / Results
  • Descriptive data
  • Test hypothesis

To actual data…
Discussion Implications for theory
…then back to larger issues.
Conclusions Future research?
82
Introduction to science, 6
  • How do we know something?
  • Science, anti-science, pseudoscience.
  • Where does our knowledge of the world come from?
  • What does science do?
  • The core features of a research study.
  • Overall Research approaches.

?
83
Overall research strategies
  • Rich / detailed description using direct
    observation, interviews, or existing text.
  • Typically small samples that are highly targeted,
    e.g., specific risk groups.
  • Computer analyses can link parts of text.
  • Simple counts, blocked by, e.g., age, gender,
    ethnicity.
  • Use probability or highly targeted
    non-probability sampling.
  • May use existing archival data as markers of
    psychological processes.
  • Manipulate Independent Variable, measure effects
    on Dependent Variable.
  • Control the IV and all observations, randomly
    assign participants, etc.
  • Often uses non-probability / targeted methods to
    sample specific groups.
  • Key standard, reliable valid scales (e.g., of
    attitudes) or behavioral reports (e.g., smoking).
  • Experimental design, but…
  • no control over Independent Variable
  • groups non-equivalent (not blind, not randomly
    assigned, self-selected…).

84
Overall research strategies Drug use
Research Question Does one form of drug
treatment work better than another?
Research Question What brain centers control
drug craving?
Research Question How does drug use actually
occur?
Research Question Who tends to use drugs, how
often, etc.? (epidemiology of drug use).
Research Question What social or ? variables
are associated with drug use?
  • Methods Experimental design
  • Operationalize drug craving in rats (DV),
  • Stimulate specific brain areas (IV) to map brain
    structure onto craving / drug-seeking.
  • Methods
  • Experimental-like design comparing two treatment
    groups.
  • Groups are non-equivalent (not blind, not
    randomly assigned, self-selected…).

Methods Direct observation of shooting
galleries or corner drug markets, in-depth
interviews with drug users…
  • Methods
  • hypothesis-oriented surveys or interviews
    (potentially with targeted samples people in
    rehab., etc.).
  • Test ? variables (motivation, emotions,
    attitudes…)
  • Methods
  • Surveys, face-to-face interviews, archival data
    (e.g., drug arrests, ER visits..)
  • Block by demographic variables (age, ethnicity…)

85
Overall Research strategies measurement v.
experiments
  • Core issue controlled experiments are gold
    standard for testing hypotheses or treatments.
  • Many areas not amenable to true experiments,
  • e.g., medical, educational, policy studies…
  • Readings Diet health, mammography, maternal
    employment
  • Key degree of control over variables

Experiment High control / lab conditions
Determine cause and effect validly interpret
data
Internal validity
Measurement Less control research in nature
Data can generalize to real world capture
more complexity
External validity
86
Overall Research strategies Validity
External validity Internal validity
  • Less control
  • Observe / test phenomenon under natural
    conditions.
  • More accurate portrayal of
  • how it works in nature
  • complexity of phenomenon
  • Less able to interpret cause effect
  • More control
  • Isolate (or create) the phenomenon in a lab or
    controlled environment
  • Addresses more specific questions or hypotheses
  • More ability to interpret cause effect

87
Research Strategies Key issues
Test causality, theory
Non-experimental theory test
Exploration description, epidemiology.
Naturally occurring events or groups.
Always
Typically
Yes, or complex description
Often not, descriptive only
Manipulated measured
Measured and/or manipulated
Subjective ratings, behavior
Behavior, text, status markers
High, via I.V. exp. procedures
Moderate to high, except sampling
Moderate, via context or stats.
Little to moderate
Analyses of variance
Analysis of variance
Complex correlations
None or simple descriptive
Very high
Moderate to High
Moderate, high in some designs
Often low to moderate
Often low
Moderate to high
Moderate to high
High (given sampling)
88
overview
  • Overview

89
Core course topics
  • How do we know things?
  • What does scientific method tell us that other
    methods (political, religious thought) do not?
  • What does science do?
  • Describe the world
  • Taxonomies
  • Epidemiology
  • Qualitative research
  • Predict events
  • Simple predictions
  • Correlational studies
  • Experiments
  • Test theories
  • Cause effect
  • Identify basic processes
  • Show how processes are related
  • Test applications of theories
  • E.g., behavioral interventions

90
Ways of knowing
  • Authority / authoritarianism
  • Provides stable, core principles or beliefs
  • Limits empirical evidence or alternative views
  • Intuition / subjective hunch
  • Important source of novel hypotheses / theories /
    scientific approaches
  • Emotion-based wishful thinking or magical
    thought can make us irrational or ignore /
    distort empirical facts.
  • Empiricism
  • Grounds knowledge in real world, provides
    important hypothesis-testing perspective
  • Our perceptions are subject to cognitive /
    emotional biases.
  • Rationalism / theory
  • Central purpose of science coherent explanation
    of why or how nature works.
  • When subject to political pressure can limit
    hypothesis testing or lessen respect for
    empirical evidence.

91
key terms
  • Features of research Key terms
  • Theory
  • Hypothetical construct
  • Hypothesis
  • Variable
  • Operational definition
  • Internal external validity
  • Independent v. Dependent variables

92
Basic Elements of a Research Project
Phenomenon Big picture / question
Theory Hypothetical Constructs Causal explanation
Hypothesis Operational definition Specific
prediction
Methods Measurement v. experimental
  • Data / Results
  • Descriptive data
  • Test hypothesis

Discussion Implications for theory
Conclusions Future research?
93
Basics of major forms of research.
External validity Internal validity
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