The Scientific Method

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The ability to repeat an experiment to ensure consistency between results and a reliable mean. If similar findings are found, the experiment is replicable and reliable.

Protects against fraud:

Other scientists can repeat the method and check if the results can be repeated.

Protects against chance findings:

Repeats help identify anomalies by finding the normal result.

Tight control increases replicability:

Variables are not able to change if they have been set at a consistent value. Researchers can repeat the experiment in precisely the same conditions so results are more reliable.

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The results and method are free from bias and interpretation.

True objective science is impossible, as all scientists and people alike have interest, expectations, and preferences that influence observations they make and introduce bias.

Techniques such as 'double-blind' trials and tight control are neded to increase objectivity.

Double blind- when both the researcher and the participant are unaware of what condition they are involved with.

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Theory Construction

  • A theory is an explanation of something, and must be derived from an observation and from what research suggests.
  • Once a theory has been constructed it must be empirically tested. This leads to scientific progress when empirical and objective research can be used to justify, alter or reject a theory.
  • In an introduction, a psychologist will talk about any observations that lead to the theory being constructed.
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Hypotheses testing

A hypothesis is a statement predicting the outcome of a experiment.

One tailed

Specifically predicts the influence of the IV on the DV

You must have previous research to issue a one tailed hypothesis.

Two tailed

Predicts that there will be an influence

Null Hypothesis

When the prediction is that there will be no effect from the IV on the DV.

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Empirical methods

  • Using observation and measurement
  • Looks at the direct observation of phenomena and occurences
  • Only that which can be publicly observed and agreed upon can be validated as knowledge
  • Opinion, intuition and beliefs are not scientific
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Validating New Knowledge

Theories and evidence must be scrutinised by impartial, independent experts. Then it must be published in an academic journal.

All good journals hold a robust review process before publication. The editor will be an expert in the field, and external assessors are also used.

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Peer Review


Makes sure research has integrity before publication, and can be taken seriously.



otherwise, the bias may lead to a inadequate piece of research being published, or a good piece of research ignored, as it does not support the ideas of the reviewer.


More exciting, surprising or significant results may be favoured over better designed, methodological studies, as they bring in more readers and more money. Leads to publication bias.


Researchers which are friends/respected memebers of science may be more likely to publish a paper. If there is animosity between the researcher and reveiwer the paper may be declined.

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peer review check OESSORKAW

  • originality
  • ethics
  • samples
  • sources of bias
  • operalisation
  • reliability, validity and interpetation
  • key variables
  • appropropriateness of conclusions
  • wider  EVALUATION




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