Psychology as a Science

research methods

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  • Created by: Natasha
  • Created on: 12-01-10 15:28

Psychology as a science

  • science is objective, controlled, replicable, able to validate or falsify and prediction are made.
  • science has a 'paradigm' (Kuhn) - a shared set of assumptions.
  • some researchers would argue psychology is not a paradigm but that it has experienced paradigm shifts.
  • for example, we began with biology (hard science), around the 1900's psychodynamic approach emerged (Freud), this is considered to be a 'soft science', its subjective, unfalsifyable and lacks controlled investigation.
  • psychology then moved into behaviourism (in the middle), it uses experiments and observations. we then moved into cognitive approach - more scientific (harder) science than behaviourist.
  • most areas of psychology are scientific, they use experimental research methods. experiments are advantageous in psychology because, we can test behaviour in valid, reliable ways.
  • controlled studies, e.g. Gibson and Walk/Asch enable us to measure results accurately in quantitative ways - gaining statistical fata from which hypotheses can be accepted/ rejected.
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  • experimental studies such as Milgram gives us cause and effect relationships, this is better than non-experimental methods which only show correlationg.
  • they are more objective than case studies, so likely to be more valid, e.g. Freud's case study of Little Hans which is highly interpretive and therefore less scientific than experiments.
  • in conclusion, there is a lot of scientific study in pscyhology
  • most of the psychological approaches use experiments to test a hypothesis, which are scientific.
  • this is good because it makes research more credible and results can be widely applied, e.g. Loftus and palmer
  • overall psychology can be considered as rooted in hard science because of its origins in biology
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Ruth Gipson


Thanks so much a great help

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