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Research Methods

*BLHS Research Methods

TermDefinition and Example
hindsight bias tendency to believe, after learning an outcome, that one would have foreseen it. Ex. The U.S. intelligence team should have seen Pearl Harbor and 9/11 coming.
critical thinking thinking that does not blindly accept arguments and conclusions. Ex. Thinking, How could they have tested this health medication to give them such positive results after a "cure" medication for cancer had been released.
theory explanation using an integrated set of priciples that organizes and redicts observations. Ex. Darwin's Theory of Evolution is composed of many laws, hypothesis, thoeries, and observations about the past and is also used to project future changes.
hypothesis testable prediction, often implied by a theory. Ex. I hypothesize that the number of cylinders in cars correlates to their speed.
operational definition statement of procedures used to define research variables. Ex. Human intelligence is operationally defined as what an intelligence test measures.
replication repeating essence of a research study to see whether the basic finding extends to other participants and circumstances. Ex. Piaget's tests for object permanence have been replicated all over the world.
case study observation technique in which one person is studied in depth in the hope of revealing universal principles. Ex. Little Albert
survey technique for ascertaining the self-reported attitudes or behaviors of people. Ex. surveys can be found on CNN's website relating to politics.
false consensus effect tendency to overestimate extent to which others share our beliefs and behaviors. Ex. Children raised in conservative households believe that others share their views and do not understand why others feel differently.
population all cases in a group. Ex. the student body here at Ben Logan would be considered a population.
random sample samply that fairly represents a population because each member has an equal chance of inclusion. Ex. using a table of random numbers to pick participants from a student listing and then making sure you involve as many as possible.
naturalistic observation observing and recording behavior in naturally occurring situations without trying to manipulate and control the situation. Ex. noting the number of people who wash their hands when leaving the bathroom from behind a two way mirror.
correlation measure of extent to which two factors vary together. Ex. schools use ACT scores to correlate your academic success in college.
scatterplot graphed cluster of dots which represent the values of two variables. amount of scatter suggests strength of correlation.
illusory correlation perception of a relationship whore none exists. Ex. that sugar makes children hyperactive.
experiment research method in which an investigator manipulates one or more factors to observe effect on a behavior or mental process. Ex. Stanford Prison Experiment
double-blind procedure procedure in which both research participants and staff are ignorant about whether the participants have received treatment or a placebo. Ex. new medication is being tested for effectiveness and none know if patients is given drug or not.
placebo effect results caused by expectations alone and not an active agent. Ex. a person with chronic fatigue given a sugar pill instead of actually medication and feeling better because of it.
experimental condition condition of an experiment that exposes participants to treatment (to only one independent variable). Ex. a control group of placebo medication vs. the actual medication.
control condition condition of experiment that contrasts with experimental condition and serves as a comparison for evaluating effect of treatment. Ex. placebo group.
random assignment assigning participants to experimental and control conditions by chance. Ex. seperating an identical group into control and experimental randomly by assigning.
independent variable experimental factor that is manipulated; variable whose effect is being studied. Ex. new active ingredient in a medication.
dependent variable outcome factor; variable that may change in response to manipulations of independent variable. Ex. reaction to new medication.
mode most frequently occurring scores in a distribution. Ex. 15, 17, 16, 15, 15 the mode is 15
mean arithmetic average of a distribution, obtained by adding scores and then dividing by the number of scores. Ex. 15, 16, 29 the mean is 20
median middle score in a distribution. Ex. 12, 13, 15,18, 19 the median is 15.
range difference between highest and lowest schores in a distribution. Ex. 12, 13, 15, 18, 19 the range is 7.
statistical significance statistical statement of how likely it is that an obtained result occurred by chance. Ex. when sample averages are reliable and the difference between them is relatively large, we say the difference is this...likelihood that result will happen by chance.
culture enduring behaviors, ideas, attitudes, and traditions shared by a large group of people transmitted from one generation to the next. Ex. in our culture you are supposed to shake hands with new individuals but in the Middle East it is appropriate to bow.
Created by: k_ivy_league