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Psychological Research Methods


Psychological Research Methods Lecture 1 Jagjeet Jutley Lecture Schedule Introducing psychological research How to write a research report ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Psychological Research Methods

Psychological Research Methods
  • Lecture 1
  • Jagjeet Jutley

Lecture Schedule
  • Introducing psychological research
  • How to write a research report
  • Ethics in psychological research
  • Critiquing research reports
  • Designing a questionnaire
  • Variables, sampling, and sample size
  • Basic experimental design
  • Getting started with statistical tests
  • T-tests
  • Chi-square
  • Stats workshop
  • Review session

  • Sociology students will be held at 1pm-2pm in
  • Criminology students will be at 2pm-3pm in E427

Coursework due dates 1. A piece of coursework
(1500 words) analysing a piece of psychological
research (50) 9th November 2011 2. A 1000 word
Data Analysis Report (50) 14th December 2011
  • Howitt, D. and Cramer, D. (2008).
    Introduction to Research
    in Psychology. Harlow Pearson.

  • Principles of scientific research
  • Developing research questions
  • Formulating Hypotheses

Flaws in thinking as part of everyday life
  • Telling anecdotes a personal story to support
    or refute a general point
  • Refers to instinct or laws of nature or what
    everyone knows
  • Uses correlation data as causal
  • (increase in crime since mothers started
  • Uses emotional language instead of reason and
    evidence (dumping babies in child care to be
    looked after by a stranger has to be harmful)

Basic Science and Applied Research
  • Basic Science knowledge for its own sake.
  • The development of logical thought in children
  • Memory for different kinds of word lists
  • Perception of transparency, depth, motion, light
  • Facial features and mate selection
  • Bodily odors and sexual attraction
  • Interest of groups researchers, the findings of
    which may or may not be developed for practical

Practical uses of basic research
  • Development of logical thought a test for
    diagnosing developmental disability
  • Memory for word lists design of specialised
    vocabularies for communication (e.g. aviation)
  • Perception of depth environmental design to
    warn of hazards (e.g., warning lights)
  • Facial features advertising
  • Bodily odors - perfume

Applied Research
  • In Clinical settings What type of therapy
    alleviates depression?
  • In Educational settings What is the best way to
    teach children how to read?
  • In Sport Psychology How does training regime
    impact on performance?
  • In Organisational settings What form of
    management style motivates employees?

Public Verification
  • Observation by others
  • Replication by others
  • Scrutinized by others capable of judging quality
    (peer review)
  • Beware of research you find on the web!

Developing the Research Question
Model 1
Model 2
Where do the ideas come from?
  • Everyday life
  • What are the most effective ways to teach
    research methods?
  • What personal characteristics make a favorable
    impression in a job interview?
  • What other questions come to mind?
  • Practical issues or needs
  • Why do some employees have very high absenteeism
  • Why do more car accidents happen on specific
    stretches of the road?
  • Why are most heart attacks on a Monday morning?
  • Past research
  • Knowledge develops in small steps. Rarely does
    one study answer all the questions to the
    research topic.
  • Theory
  • Summarize integrate existing knowledge
  • Suggests new relationships between factors
  • Helps one make new predictions about a phenomenon
    based on the theory.

Defining the Research Question
  • Problem should be capable of being stated in a
    question form. Examples are
  • What is the effect of.?
  • Under what conditions do.?
  • Does the effect of.?
  • A research question defines the area of interest
    but is not a declarative statement like a

Formulating Hypotheses
  • Stated in declarative form.
  • Posits a relationship between variables.
  • Ideally reflects a theory or body of literature.
  • Is brief and to the point.
  • Is testable.

Examples of Hypotheses
Research Idea Question Hypothesis
Drug abuse and child abuse Is drug abuse related to child abuse? There is a positive relationship between drug abuse among adults and their physical and psychological abuse as children.
Examples of Hypotheses
Research Idea Question Hypothesis
Effects on your health of caring for a partner who is demented Does caring for a partner who has a dementia affect the caregivers health? There is a positive relationship between degree of caregiver burden and risk of dying prematurely.
  • Scientific/alternative hypothesis states the
    predicted relationship amongst the variables.
  • Null hypothesis is a statement of no relationship
    amongst the variables.