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Psychology unit 4 research methods
Features of scientific method
Control- in order to establish cause and effect relationships, all variables
which could influence the DV, with the exception of the IV, must be kept
constant between conditions.
Replicability- each fact should be able to be obtained if the experiment or
investigation is conducted several times. All experiments would be written
up so that anyone could repeat the experiment exactly as it was performed
the first time.
Empiricism- the evidence is gained via direct observation or experiment
rather than through reasoned argument or unfounded beliefs.
Objectivity- all measurements and recordings should be based on
observation and not influenced by an investigators personal feelings or
Theory construction- the facts are recorded from the observations and
investigations and are used to formulate these. They are a correlation of
scientific method is desirable- people don't believe a theory without
Psychology shares goals of science but most sciences use well controlled
experiments that can be falsified and in psychology this isn't always the
case. However just because psychology uses scientific methods it may not
mean it should be counted as a science.
Lack of objectivity and control- in psychology the object of the research
can react to the investigator which leads to problems of demand
characteristics and investigator effects.
Study of behaviour may not be appropriate as some don't think it's a
scientific pursuit. They think that treatments resulting from research can
only be appropriate if psychology takes an idiographic approach (individual
cases), where as science tends to generalise human behaviours.
Scientific methods don't always work- treatments that result from
research into a mental illness are not constantly successful which suggests
the goals of science aren't always appropriate.
Qualitative approach- some research is conducted through subjective
qualitative methods. However, these methods are still scientific as long as
they aim to be scientific.
Reductionist- complex phenomena are reduced to simple variable in order
to study casual relationships between them.