RESEARCH METHODS IN PSYCHOLOGY
- A researcher is interested in studying the effects of different levels of distraction—none, low, and high—on scores on a test of visual memory. Participants are randomly assigned to three conditions: no distraction, short distraction, or high distraction. All participants engage in a test of visual memory. What is the independent variable? What is the dependent variable? What is the purpose of random assignment to groups? What is the purpose of random assignment to groups?
Independent variables are tested circumstances. They are so-called because they are under the control of the experimenter and not the participant. Therefore, the independent variable refers to variables a researcher can alter or manipulate and is always presumed to affect the dependent variable directly. In the above study, the independent variable is the level of distraction (Cozby, 2015, pg. 75). The outcome of the level of distraction directly affects dependent variables that are being experimented
The dependent variable is the variable that depends on other aspects or factors that are measured. The variables are expected to change due to experimental manipulation of the independent variables (Cozby, 2015 pg. 75). In the study of levels of distraction, the dependent variables are
- a) Define theory and explain its function. How does it relate to the practice of psychology?
The theory is simply an unapproved hunch or speculation without any supportive data. But the scientists have a completely different meaning. They define the theory as a well thought out explanation of a feature of the ordinary world that can combine laws, assumptions, and evidence. As a result, we can define theory as a rational or scientifically adequate principle that contains a group of related ideas intended to clarify or describe something.
Theories describe the organization of human conduct or routine. There are four theories: classical theories, criticism theories, taxonomic theories, and scientific theories. Ideas serve various functions of theory.
- How does theory relate to the study of psychology?
Psychology is the methodological study of the human mind and behaviors. It is a discipline that looks into many human life areas, such as social development or cognitive actions. Therefore, theories are used in psychology to deliver a classical understanding of human views, sentiments, and behaviors. Psychological theories usually have two components. The first aspect is that it must explain behavior, and the second component is it must make future predictions about the said behaviors.
- Define hypotheses and provide an example
A hypothesis is a proposed explanation for an unsolved occurrence that does not agree with the present proved scientific theories. It is a particular statement of a likelihood that describes in actual rather than theoretical. The elementary idea behind all hypotheses is that there is no pre-determined result but not all research studies have hypotheses, for example, exploratory research.
An example of a hypothesis is, “If fertilizer is used during planting, then there will be higher yields.”
- Describe the content that should appear in a well-written informed consent form for a research study. Why is it essential to obtain informed consent? What are the three principles outlined by the Belmont Report? What additional concerns do you have (if any) when obtaining approval from a minor?
There are three fundamental aspects that a well-written informed form should contain. These “are disclosure of information, competency of the patient to make a decision and voluntary nature of the decision” (Shah P, Thornton I, Turrin D, et al. 2020).
The three principles outlined by Belmont are “the principles of respect of persons, beneficence, and justice” (Belmont Report, 2018).
If a minor is to be used in a human subject study, the child’s parent or guardian should receive informed consent on his/her behalf.
- What is the function of an institutional review board?
An Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a self-governing group that is established to assess and commend on research involving human beings as subjects (Cozby, 2015 pg. 60)
An institutional review board has a significant role in protecting the rights and well-being of social exploration topics. This board’s primary function is to ensure that individuals researching human behavioral matters take appropriate steps both in advance and periodic review to protect the right and welfare of persons participating in the research.
- What is an operational definition of a variable? How might the variable sense of humor be defined operationally?
An operational definition of a variable is how a specific variable is defined and measured in a study. It refers to operations or methods that a researcher uses to alter or manipulate the variable. An experimenter can measure a sense of humor by how frequent an individual makes people laugh. (Cozby, 2015, pg. 67)
- Complete Table 4.1 on p. 72 of the text. For each of the eight examples listed, determine
Whether a positive, negative, or curvilinear relationship exists.
- Define reliability as it relates to the measurement of behavior.
Reliability is the consistency or stability of a behavior (Cozby, 2015, pg. 102). Research is said to be reliable when a researcher carries out a study on a specific human phenomenon, and the results remain unchanged despite carrying out the research repeatedly.
- Define and describe the scales of measurement. Include examples of each.
The scale of measurement is a tool used to qualify or quantify data in research. There are different types of measures of scale, depending on the data to be collected. The four types of measurement include the nominal scale, ratio scale, interval scale, and the ordinal scale.
A nominal scale is a scale described as having “no numerical or quantitative” (Cozby, 2015, pg. 111). It is a classification of concrete variables that do not offer any measurable value. Nominal data is collected through queries requiring a respondent to give open-ended answers or choose a given list response.
Ordinal scale enables the researcher “to rank order levels of the variables being studied” (Cozby, 2015 pg. 112). The ranking of items in a scale is categorized based on the frequency of the variable’s occurrence in question. The scale’s attributes are either ascending or descending order—the ordinal scale majorly used in advertising, market research, and consumer satisfaction studies.
The Interval scale is a type of scale where there is an order in numbers, and each numerically equal distances on the scale have a similar interval difference. In this scale, “the difference between numbers on the scale is meaningful” (Cozby, 2015, pg. 112). This scale is usually similar to the ordinal scale, but the difference lies in the equal intervals. An example of interval scales measures a patient’s temperature or speed of a motorist.
Ratio scale refers to having an absolute zero point that indicates the absence of the variable being measured (Cozby, 2015, pg. 113). This type of scale permits the researcher to relate both the difference and the comparative degree of numbers. Examples of ratio scales are weight, height,
- What is the difference between construct validity, internal validity, and external validity?
Construct validity is “the extent to which a measuring instrument accurately measures the theoretical construct or trait that is designed to measure” (Cozby, 2015 pg. 96)
Internal validity “is the ability to say that the independent variable caused a difference in the dependent variable (Cozby, 2015 pg.). This validity is if there are other alternative clarifications for the outcome apart from the internal variables.
External validity is defined as “can the results be applied to other situations and other people than the ones that were in the study” (Cozby, 2015 pg.).The more ability the research can generalize then the more significant the external validity. On the other hand, the less it can generalize, the less the external validity.
- What is the difference between correlation and causation? How are third variables controlled for?
Correlation in research is a form of non-experimental study whereby the researcher measures two remaining constants.
Causation in research is the empirical study of the relationship between two occurrences of variables. When one variable is altered (the cause), it brings about the other variable (the effect).
Causation applies explicitly in situations where action A causes effect B. On the other hand, correlation is a relationship whereby action A relates to action B.
A third variable is that the experimenter alters during an experiment. If a controlled experiment changes during research, it may nullify the correlation between the dependent and independent variables (Cozby, 2015 pg. 165).
A third variable can be controlled by:
- Randomizing -The aim here is to distribute the third variables between the samples randomly.
- Restriction -it is done by restricting entry to the study of persons with confusing factors.
- Matching – this refers to the merge of groups so that confounding factors are distributed equally.
Rosenthal, R., & Rosnow, R. L. (2018). Essentials of behavioral research: Methods and data analysis.
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