Psychologists do more than just wonder about human behavior: they conduct research to understand exactly why people think, feel, and behave the way they do. Like other scientists, psychologists use the scientific method, a standardized way to conduct research. A scientific approach is used in order to avoid bias or distortion of information. After collecting data, psychologists organize and analyze their observations, make inferences about the reliability and significance of their data, and develop testable hypotheses and theories.
Psychological research has an enormous impact on all facets of our lives, from how parents choose to discipline their children to how companies package and advertise their products to how governments choose to punish or rehabilitate criminals. Understanding how psychologists do research is vital to understanding psychology itself.