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Chapter 1

Research Methods

The Scientific Method
Research is what makes the difference between facts and opinions. Facts are observable realities, and opinions are personal judgments, conclusions,…
Case Studies
There are many research methods available to psychologists in their efforts to understand, describe, and explain behavior and the cognitive and…
Naturalistic Observations
If you want to understand how behavior occurs, one of the best ways to gain information is to simply observe the behavior in its natural context.…
Surveys
Often, psychologists develop surveys as a means of gathering data. Surveys are lists of questions to be answered by research participants, and can be…
Archival Research
Some researchers gain access to large amounts of data without interacting with a single research participant. Instead, they use existing records to…
Longitudinal Research
Sometimes we want to see how people change over time, as in studies of human development and lifespan. When we test the same group of individuals…
Cross-Sectional Research
In cross-sectional research, a researcher compares multiple segments of the population at the same time. If they were interested in people's…
Group Design
The most basic experimental design involves two groups: the experimental group and the control group. The two groups are designed to be the same…
Factorial Design
Factorial Analysis is an experimental design that applies Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) statistical procedures to examine a change in a dependent…
The Placebo Effect
The placebo effect occurs when people's expectations or beliefs influence or determine their experience in a given situation. In other words,…
Blind Procedures
Ideally, the people who observe and record the children’s behavior are unaware of who was assigned to the experimental or control group, in…
Ethics in Research
Today, scientists agree that good research is ethical in nature and is guided by a basic respect for human dignity and safety. However, this has not…
Correlations
Correlation means that there is a relationship between two or more variables (such as ice cream consumption and crime), but this relationship does…
Cause and Effect
While variables are sometimes correlated because one does cause the other, it could also be that some other factor, a confounding variable, is…
Reliability and Validity
Reliability and validity are two important considerations that must be made with any type of data collection. Reliability refers to the ability to…
Regression Toward the Mean
Regression toward the mean (“RTM”) is a phenomenon in which extremely high or low values—for example, and individual’s blood…
Measures of Central Tendency
The "center" of a data set is also a way of describing location. The two most widely used measures of the "center" of the data…
Variation: Normal Distribution, Range, and Standard Deviation
In the field of psychology, there are several ways to organize measurements of a trait, feature, or characteristic (i.e., variables).…
Statistical Significance
Once data is collected from both the experimental and the control groups, a statistical analysis is conducted to find out if there are meaningful…
The Simple Experiment: Two-group Design
Source: Laboratories of Gary Lewandowski, Dave Strohmetz, and Natalie Ciarocco—Monmouth University A two-group design is the simplest way to…
Placebos in Research
Source: Laboratories of Gary Lewandowski, Dave Strohmetz, and Natalie Ciarocco—Monmouth University Clinical research focuses on the efficacy…
Ethics in Psychology Research
Source: Laboratories of Gary Lewandowski, Dave Strohmetz, and Natalie Ciarocco—Monmouth University When a researcher finds an interesting…

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