Research Methods

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Research Methods
Objectivity – scientists strive to be objective in their observations and measurements so their expectations should NOT affect they way they record findings (this would lead to SUBJECTIVE reporting).
Theory construction – one aim of science is to record facts, but an additional aim is to use these facts to construct theories, which help us understand and predict the natural phenomenon around us. A theory is a collection of general principles that explain observations and facts.
Hypothesis testing- forming a null and an alternative [experimental] hypothesis at the outset, which is fully operationalisable – In other words it contains reference to the IV and the DV [if it is an experiment]; OR both key variables [if it is a correlation study]
Empiricism – information is gained through direct observation or experiments rather than by a reasoned argument or unfounded beliefs (i.e. a “hunch”)
Replicability – one way to demonstrate the validity of any observation is to repeat it. If the outcome is the same, this confirms the truth of the original results, especially if two or more people discover the same end results. To allow for such precise replication, researchers must record their method carefully, so that the same procedures can be followed in the future.
Peer Review
-The assessment of scientific work by others who are experts in the same field -The intention of is to ensure that any research conducted and published is of high quality - generally unpaid - usually several reviewers for each article/assessment - Their task is to report on the quality of the research - their views are considered by a peer review panel - If peers agree, then an article may be published. Articles CANNOT be published prior to peer review.
- Allocation of research funding – research is paid for by government and charitable bodies, and we have a duty to spend their money responsibly - public bodies require reviewers to enable them to decide which research is likely to be worthwhile.
- Publication of research in scientific journals and books – scientific journal provide scientist with an opportunity to share the results of their research with others – work is peer reviewed as a mean of preventing incorrect or faulty data entering the public domain.
Unachievable ideal – sometimes you can’t find another ‘expert’ to review your data
Publication bias – peer review tends to favour the publication of positive results - editors want research that has important implications in order to increase the standing of their journal

Conventions for reporting psychological investigations abstract A summary of the study covering the aims, hypotheses, methods, results and conclusions
Introduction /aim
What the researcher intends to investigate. This often includes a review of previous research (theories and or studies) explaining why the researcher intends to conduct this particular study. The researchers may state his/her research predictions and a hypothesis/ hypotheses method A detailed description of what the researcher did, providing enough information for replication of the study. Included in this section is information about pps (the sample), the testing environment, the procedures used to collect data, and any instructions given to pps before (the brief) and afterwards (the debrief) results This section contains what the researcher found, often called statistical data, which includes descriptive statistics, (tables, averages, graphs) and inferential statistics (the use of statistical tests to determine how statistically significant the results are)
Raw data (individual pp scores ) DO NOT appear here – they go in the appendix section discussion The researcher offers explanations of the behaviours observed in the study, and might also consider the implications of the results and make suggestions for future research references The full details of any journal articles or books that are mentioned in the report