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Introduction to Psychology

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Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
VU
Lesson 8
RESEARCH METHODS IN PSYCHOLOGY (I)
Scientific method in psychology
The scientific method is an approach that practitioners of psychology are interested in for
assessing, measuring, and predicting behavior. It is the process of appropriately framing and
properly answering questions. It is used by psychologists and those engaged in other scientific
disciplines, to come to an understanding about the world.
Scientific Nature of Psychology
·
Psychology is a science
·
Science: An approach using the scientific method for the observation, description,
understanding, and prediction of any phenomenon.
·
Scientific method: The procedure employing a systematic, pre defined, series of steps for
attaining optimal efficiency, accuracy, and objectivity in investigating the problem of interest
·
Systematic: it follows a specified system, an organized ways of collecting and tabulating
information.
·
Pre defined series of steps: certain steps following a specific sequence that is not to be
altered; disruption of the sequence will ruin the essence of the approach
·
Objectivity: It is unbiased; the researcher's likes and dislikes do not interfere with the study or
its findings
Identifying a research problem
Steps of Scientific Method
Review of related literature
1. Identifying the research problem
The  most  important  step  while
conducting research is identify and specify
Formulation of a hypothesis
the area of interest in which one is going to
conduct a research. The research problem can
be identified in many ways, including personal  Designing &conducting the research
interest, brainstorming, scientific developments,
knowledge etc.
Analysis of data
2. Review of the related literature
Searching the research findings in relation with the
research one is going to conduct, in order to see how
Drawing conclusions
others approached the same or similar issues. Also, it can
give some idea as to what would be the probable outcome of
one's research.
3. Formulation of hypotheses
A hypothesis is a speculative statement about the relationship between two or more variables. By reviewing
the related literature, one is able to formulate the hypotheses pertaining to the variables of interest.
Reviewing the related research articles helps one formulate various hypotheses.
4. Designing and conducting the research
After reviewing the related literature and making hypotheses, the research is conducted by using different
strategies such as Questionnaires, mail interviews, telephonic interviews, face to face interviews etc. A
variety of research designs is available to the researchers, who can choose the one that best suits their study.
5. Analysis of data
After collecting information, the data will be tabulated with the help of statistical methods and computation
in order to see whether the finding prove or disprove the hypotheses.
6. Drawing conclusions
Conclusions are drawn after the statistical analysis of data. On the basis of this, a decision is made about the
rejection or acceptance of the hypothesis.
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Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
VU
Identifying a Research Problem
Research problems can be identified in a number of ways:
Perrsonalliintterrestt& obserrvattiion
Pe sona n e es & obse va on
Brraiinsttorrmiing
B a ns o m ng
Research Methods in
Reviiew offRellatted Liitterratturre
Rev ew o Re a ed L e a u e
Psychology
TechnollogiicallAdvancementt
Techno og ca Advancemen
Requesttffrrom Concerrned quarrtterrs
Reques  om Conce ned qua e s
Non-manipulative/
Manipulative/
Descriptive
experimental
Methods
Methods
Non-manipulative/descriptive Methods
The methods in which the phenomenon of interest is studied the way it exists in nature. The researcher
does not interfere with the events, and acts as a passive recorder.
Manipulative/Experimental Methods
The methods that is responsible for the scientific nature of psychology. In these methods the researcher
exercises control over the variables and events. He may introduce variables of interest, or may withhold
them. These methods are used for determining cause and effect relationships.
Descriptive Research Methods
Obserrvattion
Obse v a ion
a) Observation
Corrrelational
Co relational
·  Systematic observation is
Researrch
Resea ch
used; one of the methods
most frequently employed by
Surrveys
Su veys
anthropologists, sociologists and
Unobttrusive
Unob rusive
ethnologists.
Metthods
Me hods
·  Phenomenon of interest is observed,
studied, and the observations are recorded.
Case Sttudies
Case S udies
·  The recorded observations are analyzed.
Focus grroups,
Focus g oups,
·  Conclusions are drawn on the basis of analysis.
Metta
Me a
anallysis
ana ysis
Types of observation
1. Observation without Intervention
2. Observation with Intervention
Observation without Intervention
1. Naturalistic Observation
Type of observation in which the phenomenon of interest is studied/observed in the natural setting without
any interference by the observer; The observer may make narrative records, take field notes, use audio or
video equipment, or may use a combination of some or all strategies.
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Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
VU
Observation with Intervention
The observer intervenes, and manipulates the situation, events and/or variables in order to:
·  Create a situation which does not occur frequently
·  Test the impact of variables on behavior
·  Gain access to a situation that is otherwise not accessible or open to observation
Types of "Observation with Intervention"
1. Participant Observation
2. Structured Observation
3. Field experiments
1. Participant Observation
The observer becomes a part of the situation and plays an active and significant role in the
situation, event, or context under study. It can be of two types:
·  Disguised Participant Observation
·  Undisguised Participant Observation
2. Structured Observation
·  Employed when the researcher intends to study a situation, which occurs infrequently or is
inaccessible otherwise.
·  The observer may "create" a situation or initiate it.
·  The control exercised by the observer is less than that in many other techniques.
·  Mostly employed by clinical and developmental psychologists.
3. Field Experiments
·  Experiments in the natural setting; the degree of control is far less than that in laboratory
experiments.
·  One or more independent variables are manipulated in the natural setting in order to see their
impact on behavior.
·  Confederate: the researcher is assisted by one or more confederates who behave in a pre-
planned manner so as to initiate an experimental condition.
b) Correlation Research
A method used for identifying predictive relationships among naturally occurring variables
Correlation
Can be said to exist when two different measures of the same individuals, objects, or events vary
together e.g. Relationship between I.Q. score & academic achievement or entry test marks & academic
achievement. Correlation is a statistical concept.
Nature of Correlation
·
Positive Correlation
·
Negative Correlation
·
Zero Correlation
Measures in Correlation Research
Questionnaires: can be used in- person, can be mailed, or used via Internet.
Interviews: can be personal and face-to-face, or telephonic.
Official Record: Official statistics, raw data, crime records etc.
Remember!!! Correlation is not causation
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Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
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C. Surveys
Most frequently used method for obtaining information quickly and evaluating people's interest,
liking, disliking and opinions without indulging in long- term procedures and techniques. It is also
easily used because it is a cheap method and information is gathered without much difficulty.
·
Surveys consist of presenting a series of questions or statements to the participants, and asking
them to respond.
·
Surveys are used when quick information is required in limited time e.g. opinion polls, product
preference.
·
Also useful when information is required from a large number of people e.g. population census
·
More suitable when the goal of the study is to find out about public opinion, attitudes,
preferences, likes and dislikes etc
Sources of data/information in Surveys
·
Questionnaires: in person, mailed, internet
·
Interviews: personal, telephonic
·
Newspaper Surveys
Steps involve in conducting the research: There are mainly five steps, which are essential while
conducting surveys i.e.,
Conceiving the problem: The purpose of the study must be carefully thought out and precisely
i.
defined. How is the information to be used? From whom it is obtained? What kind of information
to be gathered etc.
Designing the instrument: There are numerous ways by which information can be gathered form
ii.
the general public such as mailed questionnaires, telephonic interviews, through internet etc. It
must be carefully thought that which procedure is most effective in obtaining the needed
information.
iii.
Sampling the population: The problem of obtaining a representative sample of the population is
one of the most difficult as well as significant in the field of measuring popular reactions. The
sample to be studied must be drawn in such a manner the each individual has an equal chance of
being selected, and that the drawing of one does not influence the chances of any other being
drawn. With this procedure, each age, sex, income, religious and ethnic group in the population will
be proportionately represented in the sample. Off course there are a number of ways of properly
drawing a sample.
iv.
Conducting interviews: Even when the questions are carefully worded and carefully designed, a
poor interviewer can bias the results. Experiments have shown that females are the best
interviewers: at least 21 years of age, who like people, who are unbiased, who are good listeners,
who have some college education, and who are fairly familiar with the section they are working in.
v.
Interpreting the results: Even when all the findings are carried out properly, there is always a
chance of misinterpreting the results. Errors in questionnaires, statistical methods, and
investigator's own subjectivity can easily bias the results
d. Unobtrusive Measures of Behavior
·
Indirect ways of data collection
·
The person/s who are the focus of interest may not be present at the time of investigation
·
May be used for supplementing information collected through observation
·
May be used as a replacement of observation
·
In situations where direct observation is not possible
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Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
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Unobtrusive measures of behavior include:
i.  Archival data
ii. Physical Traces
i.
Archival data
Already existing records, documents, different forms of literature, newspaper items, photographs,
movies, documentaries, biographies, autobiographies etc are used as evidence/ information e.g.
using newspaper records to study the rate of crime during the past 20 years. May be used to
supplement data gathered through other sources
ii.
Physical Traces
Remains, remnants, fragments, objects and products of past behavior are used as evidence; usually
employed to supplement data from other sources.
Physical traces can be of two types
i.
Use traces
ii.
Products
Use traces
Cues to the use or nonuse of objects and items provide significant evidence e.g. wall chalking, graffiti on walls of
public places, milk cartons or tissue boxes in the garbage bags
Products
Study of products, tools, weapons, sculpture etc used less frequently than physical traces
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Table of Contents:
  1. WHAT IS PSYCHOLOGY?:Theoretical perspectives of psychology
  2. HISTORICAL ROOTS OF MODERN PSYCHOLOGY:HIPPOCRATES, PLATO
  3. SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT:Biological Approach, Psychodynamic Approach
  4. PERSPECTIVE/MODEL/APPROACH:Narcosis, Chemotherapy
  5. THE PSYCHODYNAMIC APPROACH/ MODEL:Psychic Determinism, Preconscious
  6. BEHAVIORAL APPROACH:Behaviorist Analysis, Basic Terminology, Basic Terminology
  7. THE HUMANISTIC APPROACH AND THE COGNITIVE APPROACH:Rogers’ Approach
  8. RESEARCH METHODS IN PSYCHOLOGY (I):Scientific Nature of Psychology
  9. RESEARCH METHODS IN PSYCHOLOGY (II):Experimental Research
  10. PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT AND NATURE NURTURE ISSUE:Nature versus Nurture
  11. COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT:Socio- Cultural Factor, The Individual and the Group
  12. NERVOUS SYSTEM (1):Biological Bases of Behavior, Terminal Buttons
  13. NERVOUS SYSTEM (2):Membranes of the Brain, Association Areas, Spinal Cord
  14. ENDOCRINE SYSTEM:Pineal Gland, Pituitary Gland, Dwarfism
  15. SENSATION:The Human Eye, Cornea, Sclera, Pupil, Iris, Lens
  16. HEARING (AUDITION) AND BALANCE:The Outer Ear, Auditory Canal
  17. PERCEPTION I:Max Wertheimer, Figure and Ground, Law of Closure
  18. PERCEPTION II:Depth Perception, Relative Height, Linear Perspective
  19. ALTERED STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS:Electroencephalogram, Hypnosis
  20. LEARNING:Motor Learning, Problem Solving, Basic Terminology, Conditioning
  21. OPERANT CONDITIONING:Negative Rein forcer, Punishment, No reinforcement
  22. COGNITIVE APPROACH:Approach to Learning, Observational Learning
  23. MEMORY I:Functions of Memory, Encoding and Recoding, Retrieval
  24. MEMORY II:Long-Term Memory, Declarative Memory, Procedural Memory
  25. MEMORY III:Memory Disorders/Dysfunctions, Amnesia, Dementia
  26. SECONDARY/ LEARNT/ PSYCHOLOGICAL MOTIVES:Curiosity, Need for affiliation
  27. EMOTIONS I:Defining Emotions, Behavioral component, Cognitive component
  28. EMOTIONS II:Respiratory Changes, Pupillometrics, Glandular Responses
  29. COGNITION AND THINKING:Cognitive Psychology, Mental Images, Concepts
  30. THINKING, REASONING, PROBLEM- SOLVING AND CREATIVITY:Mental shortcuts
  31. PERSONALITY I:Definition of Personality, Theories of Personality
  32. PERSONALITY II:Surface traits, Source Traits, For learning theorists, Albert Bandura
  33. PERSONALITY III:Assessment of Personality, Interview, Behavioral Assessment
  34. INTELLIGENCE:The History of Measurement of Intelligence, Later Revisions
  35. PSYCHOPATHOLOGY:Plato, Aristotle, Asclepiades, In The Middle Ages
  36. ABNORMAL BEHAVIOR I:Medical Perspective, Psychodynamic Perspective
  37. ABNORMAL BEHAVIOR II:Hypochondriasis, Conversion Disorders, Causes include
  38. PSYCHOTHERAPY I:Psychotherapeutic Orientations, Clinical Psychologists
  39. PSYCHOTHERAPY II:Behavior Modification, Shaping, Humanistic Therapies
  40. POPULAR AREAS OF PSYCHOLOGY:ABC MODEL, Factors affecting attitude change
  41. HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY:Understanding Health, Observational Learning
  42. INDUSTRIAL/ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY:‘Hard’ Criteria and ‘Soft’ Criteria
  43. CONSUMER PSYCHOLOGY:Focus of Interest, Consumer Psychologist
  44. SPORT PSYCHOLOGY:Some Research Findings, Arousal level
  45. FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY:Origin and History of Forensic Psychology