Scientific method

Scientific method

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Major Features of science
· Replicability to demonstrate validity of observational study is to repeat the study. If the
outcome is the same as the previous study, then it affirms the truth in the original results,
especially if it done by a different researcher. In order to replicate successively the
method must be recorded accurately.
· Objectivity Objective therefore not gain any emotive reaction that would then mean the
researcher may have some bias towards specific outcome, science does not come from
a subjective stance as it could lead to bias.
· Control Scientists seek to demonstrate causal relationships to enable them to predict
and control our world. Experimental method Way to do this as we only vary one factor
(independent variable) and then looks as the effects on the dependent variable
excluding extraneous variables.
Scientific Process
· Induction When you observe/ recognise something then come up with a theory/ general
law to back it up, I.e. Newton's methodology.
· Deduction Set out a theory/ hypothesis then collect evidence and experiments to
dis/prove it. Hypotheticodeductive model by Karl Popper (1935) suggests theory
should come first and must be able to be falsified.
Application of scientific method in psychology
· People do not tend to believe theories made without proof behind it therefore scientific
evidence behind a theory is desirable.
· Most scientists develop wellcontrolled experiments that can be falsified, however this is
arguments as to whether, just because psychology uses a scientific method does it make
them a science? Miller (1983) suggests that using the scientific method is simply just
`dressing up' psychology and does not make it a science.
· Kuhn (1962) claims that psychology could not be a science as it does not have one
single set of rules similar to science that the whole subject is based upon. Therefore
suggests that psychology is perhaps a `prescience'.
· Some psychologists claim that human behaviour can be measured objectively as the
measurement of physical objects. However problems occur such as experimenter bias
and demand characteristics problems with validity. Heisenberg (1927) it is not even
possible to measure anything including subatomic particles without altering its
· Some psychologists do not see the study of behaviour as a scientific pursuit. R.D.Laing
(1960) claimed it was inappropriate to see a person as a complex scientific structure
that has gone wrong (in the case of schizophrenia) . Suggests that psychology should
take an idiographic approach by looking at each individual case whereas science tends
to take a nomothetic approach as it tries to generalise human behaviour.
· Qualitative research some psychologists advocate more subjective, qualitative methods
of conducting research, however the methods are still scientific in so far as they still aim
to have valid research and the research is then triangulated as it is compared to other
research in its field to see if it comes up with the expected/ same results.
Validating new knowledge
Peer review

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The assessment of scientific work by others who are experts in the same field. The
Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (2002) suggests that peer review
serves three main purposes
1. Allocation of research funding research is paid for by various government and charitable
bodies therefore by peer review ensures that the research investigated is worth it.
2. Publication of research in scientific journals and books opportunity to share their
research, peer review works by correcting faulty and incorrect research before entering
the public domain.…read more

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Experimenter effects are
reduced as the participant is not aware of being in the study. Demand characteristics
may be present as parts of the experiment may become obvious to the participant.
· Natural experiments an experiment purely based on existing manipulating independent
variables, therefore causal relationships cannot be established as it would only be
correlation. Also there is no random allocation of participants therefore may reduce
· Experimental design repeated measures each participant is measured in each
experiment.…read more

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· Selfreport techniques internal reliability is a measure of how consistent something is
within itself. I.e. everything should be measuring the same thing. External reliability
measure of consistency over several different occasions, if all the conditions should be
the same each time then it is reliable.
· Interinterviewer reliability looks at whether 2 interviewer produces the same outcomes.…read more

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Ethical issues
6 key ethical issues
1. Deception in a field experiment
2. Informed consent in a lab experiment
3. Confidentiality in a survey
4. Right to withdraw form any type of research study
5. Privacy in a observational study
6. Protection from harm in a psychology experiment.
Ways of dealing with ethical issues
1. Individuals must consider ethical implications.
2. Should inform participants of objectives within investigation.
3.…read more

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· Type 1 error when you reject the hypothesis when in fact it is true.
· Type 2 error when you accept the hypothesis when it is false.
Spearmans Rho
· Used to determine whether the correlation between two covariables is significant or
· The hypothesis predicts the correlation/association between the two variables.
· Each person is measured in variables.
· Data is able to be ordered.(not nominal)
Chisquare test
· When the hypothesis predicts a difference between 2 variables.
· Data is independent.…read more

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· Bar chart height of the bar represents the frequency, suitable for both words and
· Scattergram suitable for correlational data values.
Methods of qualitative data analysis
· Coding the process of identifying categories, themes, phrases and keywords that may
be found in any set of data. It is not a superficial categorisation but a thoughtful process
aimed at trying to understand the meaning of data. Categories or themes are decided in
two ways
1.…read more


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