Psychology Methods of Research Essay

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Study Guide – Exam 1

Methods of Psychological Research (PSYC440) Spring 2013

Dr. Ford-Booker

Topic 1: Chapter 1: Acquiring Knowledge and Research Methods
Study and know the following concepts:

• The Goals of Research in Psychology o Describe o Predict o Explain o Control (Influence)

• Why take a research methods course even if you don’t plan on being a researcher?

• Why is it useful to understanding research methodology? o To be able to study behavior in a scientific manner. o To be able to conduct research studies o Help to better read and evaluate other people’s studies o To understand brief descriptions of studies o To make better decisions in our daily lives o To be a better thinker

• Know the strengths and weaknesses of the ways of acquiring knowledge or finding answers to questions o The Method of Authority o The Method of Intuition o The Method of Tenacity o The Rational Method • Logical syllogism (major premise, minor premise, conclusion) • Induction (reasoning from specific to general) • Deduction (reasoning from general to specific) o The Empirical Method (learning through direct observation) o The Scientific Method

• The Steps of the Scientific Method
Step 1: Observe Behavior or Other Phenomena
Step 2: Form a Tentative Answer or Explanation (Hypothesis)
Step 3: Use the Hypothesis to Generate a Testable Prediction
Step 4: Evaluate the Prediction by Making Systematic, Planned Observations
Step 5: Use the Observations to Support, Refute, or Refine the Original Hypothesis

Other Important Elements of the Scientific Method

• Science Is Empirical • Science is Public (Require Replication) • Science Is Objective • Experimenter bias: When the findings of a study have been influenced by the experimenter’s expectations or personal beliefs.
Steps in the Research Process 1. Find A Research Idea 2. Form a hypothesis and a Prediction 3. Define and Measure Variables 4. Identify Participants or Subjects 5. Select A Research Strategy 6. Select a Research Design 7. Conduct the Study 8. Evaluate the Data 9. Report the Results
10. Refine or Reformulate Your Research Idea


• Theory o Hypothesis o Characteristics of a good hypothesis o Logical o Testable hypothesis o Refutable hypothesis o Positive statement about the existence of a relationship, difference, treatment effect

Topic 2: Chapter 2: Sources of Research Ideas

Know the sources of ideas for research. They include:

• Personal Interests and Curiosities • Casual Observation • Practical Problems or Questions • Vague and Fleeting Thoughts • Reading Reports of Others’ Observations • Behavioral Theories

Common Mistakes in Choosing A Research Topic • Topic Doesn’t Interest the Student • Topic Is Too Safe or Too Easy • Topic Is Too Difficulty • Topic Is Too Broad • Sticking with the First Idea That Comes to Mind • Inadequate Literature on the Topic

Know the element of finding and using Background Literature. They include:

Primary Source: a firsthand report of observations or research results that is written by the individual(s) who actually conducted the research and made the observations.

Secondary Source: a description or summary of another’s person’s work.
Avoid b/c maybe incorrect, incomplete, and selective.

Key Words: terms used to identify and describe the variables in the study and the characteristics of the subjects.

Psychological Abstracts: bound volumes containing a brief summary (abstract) of every psychology article, chapter, or book published during a year. It