Research Methods: Thinking Critically With Psychological Science

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31 Terms
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theory

a provable explanation of certain behaviors or events meant to summarize a complicated idea and give a prediction to its answer

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hypothesis

a verifiable prediction that can be proven through testing to support or disconfirm a theory depending on the results

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operational defintion

something psychologists use to present what they've research through specific wording so others can reuse the original findings

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replication

when a psychologist essentially copies the main parts of a research, but they'll use different participants and a different environment to see if the original findings end up being the same or different

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case study

when one person or group is studied as a way to reveal an explanation for a problem; they can reveal a lot and often call for more study

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naturalistic observation

a type of observation that notes one's behavior in natural atmospheres, and all behavior must be naturally occurring without manipulation

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survey

a type of research that is less in-depth in comparison to case studies or naturalistic observation because it directly asks the participant to provide their honest behaviors and/or opinions

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sampling bias

when a sample is generalized and/or stereotyped into a conclusion and it can lead to atypical results

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population

the prospective group to be studied and have conclusions drawn and these groups can vary depending on what data is being collected

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random sample

when an entire population in a sample is provided with an equal opportunity to take part in a study; it increases the chances of having unbiased, representative results

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correlation

when one type of behavior or personality coexist with other behaviors, traits, or tendencies; it can be discovered through stats because it can help explain how two things are similar

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variable

two things that are related to one another, they are measurable, and they can vary from participant to participant; they are often used to see if one can change the outcome of the other

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scatterplot

a way to present revealing data through a graphed group of dots meant to represent the variables and their relationship in relation to the data

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illusionary correlation

when a person develops the belief that there is a relationship between something and they suddenly begin to notice things that help prove their suspicion even though a relationship does not exist

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regression toward the mean

the belief that average results are more common than extreme results even though rare findings can happen after average occurrences

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experimental group

this is the group being familiarized with the experiment being studied and is often exposed to one type of the independent variable

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control group

this is the group that isn't familiarized with the experiment and they can often reveal the good or bad effects of the independent variable(s) being tested

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random assignment

meant to make the control and experimental groups equal to prevent too many differences by assigning them at random by number, coin etc.

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double-blind procedure

an experimental procedure where the subjects of the experiment and the people administering the experiment know the critical aspects of it

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placebo

a lot of participants in double-blind procedures receive this fake drug and can begin to feel fake results because they believe they're receiving real treatment (also known as the placebo effect)

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independent variable

a component of an experiment that can be changed and manipulated; the outcomes of this is what is studied

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dependent variable

a component of an experiment that cannot be manipulated or changed because it can only change if the independent variable is changed

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confounding variable

the potential component(s) of an experiment that have the possibility of negatively impacting the results because it's not being observed

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validity

the main goal of an experiment because it means that it predicted what it meant to

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informed consent

consent by prospective participants taking part in an experiment after they understand the risks involved

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debriefing

when the experimenters explain the study to the participant after it's complete and they will often provide them with the purpose of the study and clear up any confusion that developed during it

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descriptive statistics

used to measure and define certain characteristics of the participants being studied and it allows the data to be interpreted accurately without having to look at each result separately

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skewed distribution

serves as a depiction of the numbers/data that don't have symmetry in relation to the mean which can hint that the data is unevenly spread out or too crowded

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normal curve

it is bell-shaped on graphs as a way to display a large amount of data and a lot of times it ends up being symmetrical because a lot of numbers end up near the mean instead of a low or high extreme

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inferential statistics

this can be used to determine accuracy and the data can then be used to generalize a population's characteristics, habits, behaviors, etc

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statistical significance

a statement that concludes whether the data happened by chance or if it is actually reliable, and it can have a big impact on whether or not the hypothesis was correct

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