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Research Methods in Psychology

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Interpreting Data

Review Questions

Psychological Research

  • Researchers use the terms variable, subject, sample, and population when describing their research.
  • Psychologists do research to measure and describe behavior; to understand when, why, and how events occur; and to apply knowledge to real-world problems.

The Scientific Method

  • Psychologists use the scientific method, which is a standardized way of making observations, gathering data, forming theories, testing predictions, and interpreting results.
  • Research must be replicable, falsifiable, precise, and parsimonious.

Research Methods

  • Psychologists use descriptive or correlational methods such as case studies, surveys, naturalistic observation, and laboratory observation to describe events, experiences, or behaviors and to look for links between them.
  • Researchers use tests to collect information about personality traits, emotional states, aptitudes, interests, abilities, values, or behaviors.
  • Tests must be reliable and valid.
  • Researchers use experiments to collect information about causal relationships between variables.
  • In experiments, researchers include experimental and control groups.
  • Bias is the distortion of results by a variable.
  • Types of bias include sampling bias, subject bias, and experimenter bias.

Ethical Considerations

  • Psychologists must consider ethical norms when doing research involving humans or animals.

Interpreting Data

  • Researchers analyze and interpret the data they’ve collected by using descriptive statistics and organizing their information in histograms or bar graphs.
  • Researchers use inferential statistics to determine the likelihood that a result is due simply to chance.
  • Statistical significance means that a result is probably not due to chance.

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