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Key features of science include:
· Imperialism information gained through direct observation or experiments rather than
reasoned argument/unfounded belief.
· Objectivity Scientists should strive to be objective in observations and measurements.
· Replicability Methods should be recorded carefully to ensure the experiment can be
repeated, to check the validity of the results.
· Control Scientists seek to demonstrate a causal relationship so they can predict/control
our world. Using an experiment is the only way to do this, by controlling variables to
observe the effect on the DV.
· Theory construction With the facts they record, they should be constructing theories.
1) Induction Reasoning from particular to general. This involves observing natural
phenomena, then creating a testable hypothesis, then conducting a study, drawing
conclusions and making laws/theories based on these conclusions, such as Newton.
2) Deduction Reasoning from general to particular. This involves observing something,
then creating a theory, testing the hypothesis through a study, and then drawing
conclusions from this. Darwin is an example. The hypothetico-deductive model was
proposed by Popper which suggested theories should come before the hypotheses, so
that they can be fulsified.…read more
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Can Psychology claim to be a science?
It is desirable to be scientific, because if we create theories, people will want research to
back it up and prove it. It is a science in the sense that it used scientific methods and shares
the goals of science. Psychologists create theories that can be falsified and conducted
controlled experiements, but does using the methods make it a science?
Kuhn Science should have a central paradigm (core theory of a subject). Eg/ in physics
Newton's theories were central, and Darwin's to biology. Arguably Psychology doesn't have
one, but multiple, including biological, psychological and behaviours approaches. These
paradigms don't stand alone but rely on each for information. Eg/ Evolutionary relies on
biological. He suggests psychology is pre-science. He also talks about paradigm shifts, in
which paradigms change over time. Eg/ Late 19th century when Darwin's theory was
released, and not accept, but views shifted from creationism to Darwinism. If theories shift,
it means the absolute truth isn't fixed, but for something to be scientific it shouldn't shift.
Perhaps this suggests science doesn't hold absolute truth, but only relative, as isn't as
scientific as it claims to be.
Science is supposed to be objective but psychology is at the risk of researcher bias, because
they're studying humans, and this can distort research. Arguably some approaches in
psychology are more scientific than others, as they favour different methods. The
psychodynamic is untestable so use case studies, whereas the biological approach uses brain
scans, and behavioural uses experiments which are seen as more scientific.
Maybe it's inappropriate to make psychology a science, as we're studying humans. There
are so many variables, and if we controlled them all it would be too reductionist.…read more
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Validating new knowledge
Conventions for reporting psychological investigations:
Abstract - Summary of study, covering hypothesis, methods, results and
Introduction/Aim What researcher intended to investigate, including reviews
of previous research, and explaining why they want to conduct this research.
Method Detailed description of what researchers did, with enough
information to replicate the study from. Includes information about
participants, testing environment, procedures used to collect data, and
instructions given to pp's.
Results What researcher found, often with statistical data, to determine how
significant results are.
Discussions Researchers explanations of behaviours they found, and
implications of research on future research.
References Any journal articles or books mentioned.…read more
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The role of peer review:
Also known as referring, and involves the assessment of scientific work by
others, who are experts in the same fields. It is to ensure any research
conducted and published is of high quality. They're reviewed by a number of
people who have to check the quality of the research, and their views are
considered by the peer review panel. It serves 3 main purposes:
1)Allocation of research funding Research is paid by governments and
charities, and they need to be able to see if the research is going to be
2)Publication of research in scientific journals & books - Provides scientists
with opportunity to share result of research.
3)Assessing research rating of university departments All science
departments are expected to conduct research which is assessed, and further
funding relies on good reviews.
Evaluation Kuhn argues peer review may be one of the factors that slows
down a revolution, because it acts to maintain the status quo, and if research
doesn't fit with previous findings, it's rejected. Peer review also tends to
favour positive results, so negative results can be excluded, distorting the
results. Also the fact the review is done anonymously could mean not that
people are honest, but that they pick holes in rival research so that other
research gets funding, so sometimes open review is favoured.…read more
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Research methods & concepts
Lab Experiment High levels of internal Reduced external validity
Conducted in controlled validity because of because of tight control making
environment. extraneous variables are it lack ecological validity.
controlled. This means it's Hawthrone effect because they
easily replicated. know they're being studied.
Field Experiment - PP's not usually aware they' Demand characteristics may be
Conducted in natural re in a study so more problem. Harder to control
setting. ecological validity. extraneous variables.
Natural Experiment Very high ecological validity PP's not randomly allocated to
Makes use of existing and gives chance to study conditions, which may reduce
IV's. situations which would be validity.
unethical to produce.
Correlational method: Designed to investigate the strength of relationship between 2
variables, expressed as a correlation coefficient. This falls between +1 and -1, with +1 being
perfect positive, 0 no correlation and -1perfect negative.
+ Allows researchers to analyse whether there is a significant relationship between 2 variables.
- Don't show cause and effect, only relationship so can't draw causal conclusions.…read more