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Research Methods in Psychology

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Research Methods in Psychology
Research Methods in Psychology
Introduction
J.J. Shaughnessy, E.B. Zechmeister, J.S. Zechmeister, Metodologia della ricerca in psicologia
© 2012 - McGraw-Hill Education (Italy) srl
The Science of Psychology
 Psychologists
• Develop theories
• Conduct research
• Answer questions about behavior and mental
processes
J.J. Shaughnessy, E.B. Zechmeister, J.S. Zechmeister, Metodologia della ricerca in psicologia
© 2012 - McGraw-Hill Education (Italy) srl
Example:
Media Violence and Aggression
 Exposure to media violence causes
• Increase in aggressive thoughts,
emotions, and behaviors
• Short- and long-term effects
 Effects of media violence
• Consistent across
 Research studies and methods
 People
 Types of media
J.J. Shaughnessy, E.B. Zechmeister, J.S. Zechmeister, Metodologia della ricerca in psicologia
© 2012 - McGraw-Hill Education (Italy) srl
Media Violence and Aggression,
continued
 Long-term studies
• Childhood exposure to media violence
→ adult aggression
 Theories about exposure to violence
• “Activates” aggressive cognitions and arousal
• Models aggressive behaviors
• Desensitizes people to violence
J.J. Shaughnessy, E.B. Zechmeister, J.S. Zechmeister, Metodologia della ricerca in psicologia
© 2012 - McGraw-Hill Education (Italy) srl
Media Violence and Aggression,
continued
 Factors affect likelihood of
aggressive response following
media violence
• Characteristics of viewers
• Social environment
• Media content
 No one is immune to the effects of media
violence.
J.J. Shaughnessy, E.B. Zechmeister, J.S. Zechmeister, Metodologia della ricerca in psicologia
© 2012 - McGraw-Hill Education (Italy) srl
The Scientific Method
 “Scientific method”
•
•
•
•
An abstract concept
Not a particular technique or method
Ways in which scientists ask questions
Logic and methods used to gain answers
 Two important aspects
• Empirical approach
• Skeptical attitude
J.J. Shaughnessy, E.B. Zechmeister, J.S. Zechmeister, Metodologia della ricerca in psicologia
© 2012 - McGraw-Hill Education (Italy) srl
The Scientific Method, continued
 Empirical approach
• Observe behaviors directly
• Experimentation
 Systematic control
J.J. Shaughnessy, E.B. Zechmeister, J.S. Zechmeister, Metodologia della ricerca in psicologia
© 2012 - McGraw-Hill Education (Italy) srl
Science in Context
Historical, Social/Cultural,
and Moral
 Historical Context
•
•
•
•
•
Increased scope of scientific psychology
Psychological organizations: APA, APS
Early 1900s: empirical approach
20th century: computer revolution
Shift: behaviorism to cognitive psychology
J.J. Shaughnessy, E.B. Zechmeister, J.S. Zechmeister, Metodologia della ricerca in psicologia
© 2012 - McGraw-Hill Education (Italy) srl
Science in Context, continued
 Social and Cultural Context
• Zeitgeist influences
 Research questions
 Resources for science
 Society’s acceptance of psychological research
• Potential bias of ethnocentrism
J.J. Shaughnessy, E.B. Zechmeister, J.S. Zechmeister, Metodologia della ricerca in psicologia
© 2012 - McGraw-Hill Education (Italy) srl
Science in Context, continued
 Ethnocentrism
• Understand behavior of individuals
in different culture through framework of own
culture
• Be aware of cultural influences.
• Consider research questions that go against
stereotypes.
• Ethnocentric bias influences how we interpret
behavior.
 Example: Stereotypes based on clothing, hairstyle,
body art
J.J. Shaughnessy, E.B. Zechmeister, J.S. Zechmeister, Metodologia della ricerca in psicologia
© 2012 - McGraw-Hill Education (Italy) srl
Science in Context, continued
 Moral Context
• High standards for integrity and ethical
conduct
• Scientists do not
 Fabricate data
 Plagiarize
 Selectively report research findings
J.J. Shaughnessy, E.B. Zechmeister, J.S. Zechmeister, Metodologia della ricerca in psicologia
© 2012 - McGraw-Hill Education (Italy) srl
Science in Context, continued
 Ethical Principles of APA
 Evaluate research dilemmas involving
• Risks and benefits
• Deception
• Animal research
J.J. Shaughnessy, E.B. Zechmeister, J.S. Zechmeister, Metodologia della ricerca in psicologia
© 2012 - McGraw-Hill Education (Italy) srl
Thinking Like a Researcher
 Think like a researcher: Be skeptical
• Even of claims based on “published” findings
• and claims presented in the media
 Strongest evidence
• Converging evidence
• All claims are probabilistic.
J.J. Shaughnessy, E.B. Zechmeister, J.S. Zechmeister, Metodologia della ricerca in psicologia
© 2012 - McGraw-Hill Education (Italy) srl
Thinking Like a Researcher,
continued
 Science and Legal System
• Both make decisions based on evidence.
• Legal system
 Small amount of evidence leads to suspicion
 Large amount of evidence is needed to convict
J.J. Shaughnessy, E.B. Zechmeister, J.S. Zechmeister, Metodologia della ricerca in psicologia
© 2012 - McGraw-Hill Education (Italy) srl
Guidelines for Evaluating
Reports of Psychological Research





Pseudoscience ≠ science
Be skeptical.
Scientists may disagree.
Research is generally about averages.
Go to the original source.
J.J. Shaughnessy, E.B. Zechmeister, J.S. Zechmeister, Metodologia della ricerca in psicologia
© 2012 - McGraw-Hill Education (Italy) srl
Getting Started Doing Research
 What should I study?
• Choose a research topic by reviewing
 Psychology journals, textbooks
 Courses in psychology
• Get involved in research
 Attend colloquia
 Join a research team
• Most important: Read reports of psychological
research.
J.J. Shaughnessy, E.B. Zechmeister, J.S. Zechmeister, Metodologia della ricerca in psicologia
© 2012 - McGraw-Hill Education (Italy) srl
Getting Started, continued
 Research hypotheses
A hypothesis (plural: hypotheses) is
• A tentative explanation for a phenomenon
• Stated in the form of a prediction and an
explanation
J.J. Shaughnessy, E.B. Zechmeister, J.S. Zechmeister, Metodologia della ricerca in psicologia
© 2012 - McGraw-Hill Education (Italy) srl
Getting Started, continued
 Example hypothesis
• Research participants who play violent video
games are predicted to behave more
aggressively than participants who passively
watch televised violence
because
video-game participants’ aggression is
reinforced (rewarded) while playing the game.
J.J. Shaughnessy, E.B. Zechmeister, J.S. Zechmeister, Metodologia della ricerca in psicologia
© 2012 - McGraw-Hill Education (Italy) srl
Getting Started, continued
 An alternative hypothesis
• Research participants who play violent video
games are predicted to behave less
aggressively than participants who passively
watch televised violence
because
video-game participants have the opportunity
to release any aggressive impulses.
J.J. Shaughnessy, E.B. Zechmeister, J.S. Zechmeister, Metodologia della ricerca in psicologia
© 2012 - McGraw-Hill Education (Italy) srl
The Multimethod Approach
 One scientific method
 Many psychological research questions
and research methods
 Different areas of psychology require
multiple methods
• clinical, social, industrial/organizational,
developmental, counseling, physiological,
cognitive, educational, personality, human
factors, neuropsychology, etc.
J.J. Shaughnessy, E.B. Zechmeister, J.S. Zechmeister, Metodologia della ricerca in psicologia
© 2012 - McGraw-Hill Education (Italy) srl
The Multimethod Approach,
continued
 No single research method or technique
can answer all of the different questions in
psychology.
 Multimethod approach
→ more complete understanding
© 2012 by The
McGraw-Hill
Companies,
Inc.della ricerca in psicologia
J.J. Shaughnessy, E.B. Zechmeister,
J.S.
Zechmeister,
Metodologia
© 2012 - McGraw-Hill Education (Italy) srl
The Multimethod Approach,
continued
 No perfect research method
• Each method or measure of behavior has
flaws
 Multimethod approach
• Flaws associated with any particular method
are overcome by other methods to fill in the
gaps
J.J. Shaughnessy, E.B. Zechmeister, J.S. Zechmeister, Metodologia della ricerca in psicologia
© 2012 - McGraw-Hill Education (Italy) srl
The Multimethod Approach,
continued
 “Toolbox” with different tools for
conducting research
 Focus of this course
• Introduce different research tools
J.J. Shaughnessy, E.B. Zechmeister, J.S. Zechmeister, Metodologia della ricerca in psicologia
© 2012 - McGraw-Hill Education (Italy) srl
Steps of the Research Process







Develop a research question.
Generate a research hypothesis.
Form operational definitions.
Choose a research design.
Evaluate the ethics of your research.
Collect and analyze data; form conclusions.
Report research results.
J.J. Shaughnessy, E.B. Zechmeister, J.S. Zechmeister, Metodologia della ricerca in psicologia
© 2012 - McGraw-Hill Education (Italy) srl
Discussion Questions
 Have you heard or read media
reports about psychological research?
• Did you accept the report without questions?
Why or why not?
• Did you have enough information?
 What do other scientists say about the topic?
 Could the reporter be biased?
J.J. Shaughnessy, E.B. Zechmeister, J.S. Zechmeister, Metodologia della ricerca in psicologia
© 2012 - McGraw-Hill Education (Italy) srl
Discussion Questions, continued
 Do you remember ever being skeptical
about research presented in the media?
• Why were you skeptical?
• What information would have made you less
skeptical?
• Did a finding seem “too good to be true”?
• Did anyone have anything to gain through the
report?
• Have the findings been replicated (repeated)?
J.J. Shaughnessy, E.B. Zechmeister, J.S. Zechmeister, Metodologia della ricerca in psicologia
© 2012 - McGraw-Hill Education (Italy) srl
Discussion Questions, continued
 What research topics in psychology
interest you?
• What hypotheses can you form about your
topic?
 What relationships might exist between variables
(factors) you’ve identified?
 Can you make predictions regarding your topic?
 Can you identify potential causes for the behavior
or phenomenon?
J.J. Shaughnessy, E.B. Zechmeister, J.S. Zechmeister, Metodologia della ricerca in psicologia
© 2012 - McGraw-Hill Education (Italy) srl
Discussion Questions, continued
 Does your cultural background influence
your choice of topic and hypotheses?
• Would people with different
backgrounds view your topic similarly?
• Consider people with different sex, age,
racial, socioeconomic status than yourself.
Might these characteristics make a difference
for your topic?
• Are there other cultural variables that would
make a difference?
J.J. Shaughnessy, E.B. Zechmeister, J.S. Zechmeister, Metodologia della ricerca in psicologia
© 2012 - McGraw-Hill Education (Italy) srl
Discussion Questions, continued
 What research topics and theories are
currently popular among psychologists?
 What psychology research topics are
investigated at your school?
J.J. Shaughnessy, E.B. Zechmeister, J.S. Zechmeister, Metodologia della ricerca in psicologia
© 2012 - McGraw-Hill Education (Italy) srl
Discussion Questions, continued
 How might our current social and cultural
context be related to the prominence of
certain research topics?
 To what extent does ethnocentrism play a
role in the prominence of current research
topics?
J.J. Shaughnessy, E.B. Zechmeister, J.S. Zechmeister, Metodologia della ricerca in psicologia
© 2012 - McGraw-Hill Education (Italy) srl
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