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1. PSYA4 Psychological research and scientific method Name: 2. Part 1: The application of Scientific method in psychology ã Body of systematic knowledge that covers…
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  • 1. PSYA4 Psychological research and scientific method Name:
  • 2. Part 1: The application of Scientific method in psychology • Body of systematic knowledge that covers general truths, principles and laws. • Found and tested using ‘scientific methods’ – systematic process designed to obtain objective information. • Based on observable phenomena not opinion • Empiricism: information gained through direct observation or experiment. • Objectivity: Observations and experiments should be unaffected by bias (such as researcher expectations). • Replicability: It is important that research can be repeated and similar results obtained, this adds to the reliability of the study • Rational: meaningful, logical/verifiable information Science is.... Non-Science is.... Atm... i think psychology a science I think this because
  • 3. Bordens and Abbott(2008) Three types of explanation of human behaviour Commonsense - Experience, Intuition and not tested Belief-based - Religion, Political, Personal and Consistent with a framework of beliefs Pseudoscience Presented as scientific but not, Vague, Not reproduced and Evidence minimal
  • 4. The Scientific Method Induction – involves reasoning from the particular to the general. For example a scientist may observe instances of a natural phenomenon and come up with a general law or theory. Before the twentieth century, science largely used the principles of induction- making discoveries about the world through accurate observations, and formulating theories based on the regularities observed. Newton’s Laws are an example of this. He observed the behaviour of physical objects and produced laws that made sense of what he observed. Deduction - involves reasoning from the general to the particular, starting with a theory and looking for instances that confirm this. Darwin’s theory of evolution is an example of this. He formulated a theory and set out to test its propositions by observing animals in nature. He specifically sought to collect data to prove his theory.
  • 5. Hypothetico-deductive method proposed by Karl Popper (1935), suggesting that theories/laws about the world should come first and these should be used to generate expectations/hypotheses which can be falsified. Falsification is the only way to be certain – as Popper pointed out: ‘No amount of observations of white swans can allow the inference that all swans are white, but the observation of a single black swan is sufficient to refute that conclusion’ Falsifiability: Hypothetico-deductive method Identify a problem Develop a hypothesis – predictable and testable Devise a study to test the hypothesis Analyses and Evaluate the results Modify and repeat the process Develop a theory The role of paradigms
  • 6. Paradigm: If contradictory evidence about a theory questions a paradigm the evidence will be refuted until eventually there is too much evidence – scientific revolution (Newton-Einstein in physics) Normal science Paradigm Revolution (new paradigm (one paradigm) war accepted) Can psychology claim to be a science?
  • 7. Scientific research is desirable Psychology shares the goals of all sciences, but does using the scientific method turn psychology into a science? Miller claims it is ‘dressing up’ – pseudoscience Kuhn claims it cannot be a science as it has no single paradigm unlike other sciences. A paradigm is a set of shared assumptions, in psychology there are a number of different paradigms or approaches to explaining behaviour. Can behaviour be measured objectively? Both experimenter bias and demand characteristics compromise validity. But Heisenberg found that you cannot even measure a subatomic particle without altering its behaviour (uncertainty principle). Do we really want to be a science? The scientific approach is reductionist, simplifying complex phenomena and theories down to basics. Science is also determinist in its search for causal relationships, i.e. if X determines Y. Science also takes the nomothetic approach looking to make generalisations about people and find similarities. Some psychologists argue the idiographic (individual)approach is more suitable when treating patients. Currently psychology has only moderate success when treating mental illness. Qualitative research is seen as less than scientific but triangulation can make this method more objective. Alternatives to the scientific approach
  • 8. Cannot measure people in the same way as physical phenomena. Study people in unnatural conditions Control, isolation of variables not possible in people Ignores subjectivity of behaviour, superficial Objectivity impossible, past experiences, beliefs and ideas influence behaviour So how can we study behaviour? Postmodernists - Knowledge is social constructed, Subjective and shaped by language and culture = Social constructionism Feminist Psychologists - Relationship between researcher (male) and participant, Needs collaboration = New Paradigm approach New Paradigm approach Validating new knowledge
  • 9. Journals- Conference Presentations- Publication is the ultimate goal for psychologists as it disseminates the findings and ensures validity Peer review – Peer review is the assessment of research by others who are experts in the same field (peers). This is usually done before research is published. This is an essential check to prevent incorrect or faulty data from entering the public domain. It is also necessary where any application for funding is concerned so it affects not just the researcher but also the university department that employs them. Every researcher should be prepared for their work to be scrutinised. Peer review is a way of establishing the validity of scientific research. Problems with Validation UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (2002) • Fabrication (data made up) • Falsification (data is altered) • Plagiarism (work copied from others) Bordens and Abbott
  • 10. • Consistency with previous knowledge: • Values in science: • Bias in peer review: • File drawer phenomena:
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