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MrsVanDyke Chapter 2

Research Methods

TermDefinition
Scientific Method A five-step process for empirical investigation of a hypothesis under conditions designed to control biases and subjective judgments
Empirical Investigation An approach to research that relies on sensory experience and observation as research data
Theory A testable explanation for a set of facts or observations
Hypothesis A statement predicting the outcome of a scientific study; a statement describing the relationship among variables in a study
Operational Definitions Specific descriptions of concepts involving the conditions of a scientific study; stated in terms of how concepts are to be measured or what operations are being employed to produce them
Independent Variable (IV) A stimulus condition so named because the experimenter changes it independently of all the other carefully controlled experimental conditions
Random Presentation A process by which chance alone determines the order in which the stimulus is presented
Data Pieces of information, especially information gathered by a researcher to be used in testing a hypothesis
Dependent Variable (DV) The measured outcome of a study; the responses of the subjects in a study
Replicate doing a study over to see whether the same results are obtained
Experiment A kind of research in which the researcher controls all the conditions and directly manipulates the conditions, including the independent variable
Confounding Variables (Extraneous Variables) Variables that have an unwanted influence on the outcome of an experiement
Controls Constraints that the experimenter places on the experiment to ensure that each subject has the exact same conditions
Random Assignment Each subject of the sample has an equal likelihood of being chosen for the experimental group of an experiment
Ex Post Facto Research in which we choose subjects based on a pre-existing condition
Correlational Study A type of research that is mainly statistical in nature
Survey A quasi-experimental method in which questions are asked to subjects (questions should not be skewed or biased toward a specific answer)
Naturalistic Observation A research method in which subjects are observed in their natural environment
Longitudinal Study A type of study in which one group of subjects is followed and observed for an extended period of time
Cross-Sectional Study A study in which a representative cross section of the population is tested or surveyed at one specific time
Cohort-Sequential Study A research method in which a cross section of the population is chosen and then each cohort is followed for a short perid of time
Personal Bias The researcher allowing personal beliefs to affect the outcome of a study
Expectancy Bias The researcher allowing his or her expectations to affect the outcome of a study
Double-Blind Study An experimental procedure in which both researchers and participants are uninformed about the nature of the independent variable being administered
Institutional Review Board (IRB) A committee at each institution where research is conducted to review every experiment for ethics and methodology
Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) A committee at each institution where research is conducted to review every experiment involving animals for ethics and methodology
Frequency Distribution A summary chart, showing how frequently each of the various scores in a set of data occurs
Histogram A bar graph depicting a frequency distribution. Height of bars indicates the frequency of a group of scores
Descriptive Statistics Statistical procedures used to describe characteristics and responses of groups of subjects
Mean Measure of central tendency most often used to describe a set of data. Calculated by adding all the scores and dividing by the number of scores
Median Measure of central tendency for a distribution, represented by the score that separates the upper half of the scores in a distribution from the lower half
Mode Measure of central tendency for a distribution, represented by the score that occurs more often than any other
Range The simplest measure of variability, represented by the difference between the highest and the lowest values in a frequency distribution
Standard Deviation (SD) Measure of variability that indicates the average difference between the scores and their mean
Normal Distribution A bell curve, describing the spread of a characteristic throughout a population
Correlation Relationship between variables, in which changes in one variable are reflected in changes in the other variable
Correlation Coefficient A number between -1 and +1 expressing the degree of relationship between two variables
Inferential Statistics Statistical techniques used to assess whether the results of a study are reliable or whether they might be simply the result of chance
Random Sample A sample group of subjects selected by chance
Representative Sample A sample obtained in such a way that it reflects the distribution of important variables in the larger population in which the researchers are interested; i.e., age, income level, ethnicity, etc...
Significant Difference Psychologists accept a difference between the groups as "real", or significant when the probability that it might be due to an atypical sample drawn by chance is less than 5 in 100 (indicated by the notation p<0.05)
Created by: MrsVanDyke