Scientific Method PSYA4



The Scientific Method

  • Empirical methods rather than unsupported claims
  • Objectivity (not accounted for researchers expectations) and control to ensure data is reliable
  • Replicability verifies results
  • Theory construction to predict events in the world.
  • Hypothesis testing to modify theories cannot but proved but falsified
  • Inductive (reasoning from particular to general) or deductive (reasoning from general to particular).


  • Scientific research is desirable.
  • Psychology shares the goals of science, but may be just 'dressing up'
  • Lack of objectivity and control e.g experimenter bias and demand characteristics
  • Are goals of science appropriate? Nomothetic versus idiographic.
  • Scientific methods havent work e.g treatments for mental illness
  • Qualitive approach is reductionist- reduces complex phenomena to simple ones
  • And determinist- searches for causal relationships.
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Validating new knowledge

Peer Review

  • Used in research funding, scientific journals and university departments.
  • Research published on the internet requires new solutions.
  • Protects against fraud (examples Burt and Hauser)


  • There isnt always an expert available
  • Anonymity allows honesty and objectivity or may permit dishonesty
  • Publication bias favours positive results
  • May lead to preservation of status quo
  • Cant remove flawed research from public record
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