Features of a science

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  • Features of Science
    • Science= systematic approach to creating knowledge
    • Empirical Methods
      • Empirical= method of gaining knowledge which relies on direct observation or testing, not hearsay or rational argument
      • Gain data through direct observation or experiment rather than being generated by reasoned argument or unfounded beleifs
      • To be scientific we cannot create knowledge based on belief alone
        • any theory will need to be empirically tested and verified in order to be considered scientific
      • Adopting an empirical approach reduces the opportunity for researchers to make unfounded claims about phenomena based on subjective opinion
    • Objectivity
      • A key feature of science is the ability for researchers to remain objective
        • Meaning they must not let their personal opinions, judgements or biases interfere with the data
      • An important aspect of empirical data is that it remain objective
        • Empirical Methods
          • Empirical= method of gaining knowledge which relies on direct observation or testing, not hearsay or rational argument
          • Gain data through direct observation or experiment rather than being generated by reasoned argument or unfounded beleifs
          • To be scientific we cannot create knowledge based on belief alone
            • any theory will need to be empirically tested and verified in order to be considered scientific
          • Adopting an empirical approach reduces the opportunity for researchers to make unfounded claims about phenomena based on subjective opinion
      • research results should not be influenced by the person who carried it out, analysed the results or drew the conclusion
      • systematic collection is at the heart of of the scientific method
      • A high level of objectivity increases other peoples confidence in the results, as they are able to say that it would have made no difference who did the work.
      • on the other hand, some methods are seen as less objective
        • could be argued that psychology is not a science
        • for example: observational and content analysis  methods acn often fall victim to objectivity issues since the behavioual catagories are assigned at personal discretion of the investigator
    • Replication
      • ability to conduct research again and achieve consistent results
        • Important role in determining the validity of finding
      • By repeating a study over a number of different contexts and circumstances then we can see the extent the findings can be generalised
        • if scientific theory is to be trusted from  the findings it must be shown t be repeatable across a number of different context and circumstance
      • in order for replicability to become possible, it is vital that psychologists report their investigations with as much rigour and precision as possible
        • this is so researchers can seek to verify their work and verify the findings that have been established
      • if findings can be generalised (truly) then psychologists would expect and replication with standardised procedures would give similar findings
        • It is important that we can replicate so we are able to assess whether or not results are reliable
    • falsiifabiity
      • Falsifiability = a theory cannot be considered scientific unless it admits the possibility of being untrue
      • Popper referes to the idea that a research attempts to prove them as false
        • this is the reason research has a null hypothesis
      • genuine theories should hold themselves up for hypothesis testing
      • popper drew a clear line between good science and pseudoscience
      • the theories that survive to falsify them became the strongest because research has not proven them false
      • Example: Lack of falsifiability in the Freudian approach
        • popper argued that if falsifiability  cannot be acheved then the theory cannot be based off a true science.
    • theory construction
      • Theory= set of general laws or principals that ahve the ability to explain particular events or behaviours
      • Evidence to support the theory needs to be collected sing empirical methods so cannot be based on beleifs
      • Scientists use both inductive and deductive methods
        • The inductive model, scientists develop hypothesis. these are then tested empirically which may lead to new questions and new hypotheses
        • The deductive model places theory construction at the forefront after making observations. Here the psychologist begin with a theory relating to a certain topic of interest, which is then broken down into more specific hypotheses
    • Hypothesis testing
      • Theories are modified through the process of hypothesis testing
        • this is an essential characterisitc of science- where validity of a theory is tested.
      • A good theory must be able to generalised testable expectations.
        • if a scientists fails to find support for a hypothesis, then the theory requires modification
      • An essential component of a theory is that it can be scientifically tested
      • theories shjould suggests an number of possible hypotheses, which can be tested using systematic and objective methods to determine if it should be supported or refuted
    • paradigm
      • Paradigm: A set of shared assumptions and agreed methods within a scientific discipline
      • Paradigm shift: The results of a scientific revolution, a significant change in the dominant unifying theory
      • Kuhn: paradigms seperated a scientific disicpline from a non scientific discipline
        • He suggested that psychology was perhaps best seen as a prescience.
        • He suggested that psychology had too much disagreement at its core between various approaches. therefore are unable to agree on one unifying approach.
      • there have been numerous paradigm shits overtime
        • Psycho-dynamic to behaviorist
      • If a paradigm shift occurs, it is because of too much contradictory evidence which has been gathered from scientists trying to prove it false
  • in order to be objective the ideal is carefully controlled conditions
    • lab experiments are the most objective method within psychology because of the high level of control that is exerted over the variables
    • Objectivity
      • A key feature of science is the ability for researchers to remain objective
        • Meaning they must not let their personal opinions, judgements or biases interfere with the data
      • An important aspect of empirical data is that it remain objective
        • research results should not be influenced by the person who carried it out, analysed the results or drew the conclusion
        • systematic collection is at the heart of of the scientific method
        • A high level of objectivity increases other peoples confidence in the results, as they are able to say that it would have made no difference who did the work.
        • on the other hand, some methods are seen as less objective
          • could be argued that psychology is not a science
          • for example: observational and content analysis  methods acn often fall victim to objectivity issues since the behavioual catagories are assigned at personal discretion of the investigator

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