Chapter 2 Psychological Research
2.1 Why is Research Important?
a. Research is a mandatory process in validating claims. Without research, we would only have intuition and groundless assumptions. Through research we are able to prove certain ideas through study and testing. Because Psychology is a science, research is required to not only further investigate something but provide verification and support of the findings.
i. Psychological research utilizes tools within the scientific method to process observations and claims made. The two processes work interchangeably.
ii. In the process of inductive reasoning, new ideas are generated from empirical observations. Through this, general ideas are derived from observations made.
iii. Deductive reasoning uses general ideas to create predictions to claims by testing real-world observations.
iv. Through these processes, certain claims derive from the ideas generated.
1. A theory is a less refined set of ideas, more of a proposed explanation.
2. A hypothesis is a more concrete claim, typically an if-then statement. This concrete quality in a hypothesis is what separates it from general ideas gathering.
2.2 Approaches to Research
Because the field of Psychology includes such a variety of research a variety of techniques are utilized to approach these areas of study.
1. Clinical studies or case studies focus on one individual. The studied individual is typically in a extreme or unique psychological circumstance that differentiates them for the general public. Because these cases are so distinct, it is difficult to rely on previous findings in that such cases require exclusive attention.
2. Naturalistic behavior is generally hidden under scrutiny or observation. To study the most accurate and genuine behaviors, naturalistic observation proven most effective. Through naturalistic observations, any feeling of performance or anxiety of the studied individuals is eliminated. Establishment of clear criteria to observe should help eliminate observer bias.
3. Surveys can be used to gather a large amount of data from a sample from a population.
4. Some more expansive subjects of research require a stretched period of time to measure changes or effects.
5. Through longitudinal research, gradual differences can be studied through a more prolonged time of study.
6. E. Cross-sectional research creates cohorts of subjects over the same expanse of time, allowing sectioned observations rather than continual.
2.3 Analyzing Findings
Varied techniques are not limited only to data collection. Analysis of collected findings can be approached differently as well.
Because psychological research is behavior based, a set of ethics and conduct is in order to ensure the wellbeing of participants. These apply to all human and animal research subjects.
A. Research Involving Human Components: Any experiment involving the participation of human subjects is strictly governed.
a. Guidelines ensure that experiment does not cause harm.
i. Any risks must be disclosed and participants must acknowledge them in an informed consent document.
ii. Informed consent also ensures that participation is voluntary, data is confidential, and participants can leave at any time.
b. Institutional review boards (IRB) required for any research institution that receives federal support for research involving human participants.
c. Tuskegee study targeted Black men and tested them for syphilis (nearly 400 tested positive). Since the purpose was to study untreated syphilis, the administrators withheld both treatment and information about their disease, which led them to infect others and suffer effects of the disease.
i. Started in 1932 by US Public Health Service, lasted 40 years.
ii. By 1947, penicillin was a treatment, but was not provided to those who had tested positive.
iii. When the study was revealed in 1972 it led to significant changes in US law, such as the guidelines discussed earlier.