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1

evidence-based treatment

a psychotherapy technique whose effectiveness has been supported by empirical research

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empiricism

the use of verifiable evidence as the basis for conclusions; collecting data systematically and using it to develop, support or challenge a theory

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hypothesis

a statement of the specific result the research expects to observe from a particular study

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hypothesis

a statement of the specific result the researcher expects to observe from a particular study if the theory is accurate

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data

a set of observations representing the values of some variable, collected from one or more research studies

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preregistered

a term referring to a study in which, before collecting any data, the researcher has states publicly what the study’s outcome is expected to be

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replication

the process of conducting a study again to test whether the result is consistent

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weight of evidence

a conclusion drawn from reviewing scientific literature and considering the proportion of studies that is consistent with a theory

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self-correcting

a process in which scientists make their research available for peer review, replication, and critique with the goal of identifying and correcting errors in the research

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applied research

research whose goal is to find a solution to a particular real-world problem

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basic research

research whose goal is to enhance the general body of knowledge, without regard for direct application to practical problems

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translational research

research that uses knowledge derived from basic research to develop and test solutions to real-world problems

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journal

a monthly or quarterly periodical containing peer-reviewed articles on a specific academic discipline or subdiscipline, written for a scholarly audience

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journalism

news and commentary published or broadcast in the popular media and produced for a general audience

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falsifiable

a feature of a scientific theory, in which it is possible to collect data that will indicate that the theory is wrong

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universalism

one of Merton’s four scientific norms, stating that scientific knowledge is created by a community, and its findings belong to community

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communality

one of Merton’s four scientific norms, stating that scientific knowledge is created by a community, and its findings belong to a community

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disinterestedness

one of Merton’s four scientific norms, stating that scientists strive to discover the truth whatever it is; they are not swayed by conviction, idealism, politics, or profit

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organized skepticism

one of Merton’s four scientific norms, stating that scientists question everything, including their own theories, widely accepted ideas, and “ancient wisdom”

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comparison group

a group in an experiment whose levels on the independent variable differ from those of the treatment group in some intended and meaningful way

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confound

a general term for a potential alternative explanation for something; a threat to internal validity

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confederate

an actor who is directed by the researcher to play a specific role in a research study

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probabilistic

describing the empirical method, stating that science is intended to explain a certain proportion (but not necessarily all) of the possible cases

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availability heuristic

a bias in intuition, in which people incorrectly estimate the frequency of something, relying predominantly on instances that easily come to mind rather than using all possible evidence in evaluating a conclusion

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present/present bias

a bias in intuition, in which people incorrectly estimate the relationship between an event and its outcome, focusing on times the event and outcome are present while failing to consider evidence that is absent and harder to notice

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confirmation bias

the tendency to consider only the evidence that supports a hypothesis, including asking only the questions that will lead to the expected answer

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bias blind spot

the tendency for people to think that compared to others, they themselves are less likely to engage in biased reasoning

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empirical journal article

a scholarly article that reports for the first time the results of a research study

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review journal article

an article summarizing all the studies that have been published in one research area

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effect size

the magnitude, or strength, of a relationship between or more variables

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paywalled

term referring to a peer-reviewed academic journal that the general public must pay to access; only people who are members of subscribing institutions can access the content

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open access

term referring to a peer reviewed academic journal that anyone, even the general public, can read without paying for access

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disninformation

a news story, photo, or video deliberately created to be false or misleading

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meta-analysis

a way of mathematically averaging the effect sizes of all the studies that have tested the same variables to see what conclusion that whole body of evidence supports

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variable

an attribute that varies, having at least two levels or values

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level

one of the possible variations or values of a variable

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constant

an attribute that could potentially vary but that only has one level of the study in question

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measured variable

a variable in a study whose levels (values) are observed and recorded

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manipulated variable

a variable of interest, stated in an abstract level, usually defined as part of a formal statement of psychological theory

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construct

a variable of interested, stated at an abstract level, usually defined as part of a formal statement of a psychological theory

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conceptual variable

a variable of interest stated at an abstract or conversational level

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operational definition

the specific way in which a concept of interest is measured or manipulated as a variable in a study

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operational variable

the specific way in which a concept of interested is measured or manipulated as a variable in a study

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operationalize

to turn a conceptual definition of a variable into a specific measured variable or manipulated variable in order to conduct a research study

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claim

the argument a journalist, researcher, or scientist is trying to make

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frequency claim

a claim that describes a particular rate or degree of a single variable

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association claim

a claim about two variables, in which the value (level) of one variable is said to vary systematically with the value of another variable

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correlate

to occur or vary together (covary) systematically with the value of another variable

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correlational study

a study that includes two or more variables, in which all of the variables are measured; can support an association claim

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positive association

an association in which high levels of one variable go with high levels of the other variable, and low levels of one variable go with high levels of the other variable

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scatterplot

a graphical representation of an association, in which each dot represents one participant in the study measured on two variable

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negative association

an association in which high levels of one variable go with low levels of the other variable and vice versa

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zero association

a lack of systematic association between two variables

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causal claim

a claim arguing that a specific change in one variable is responsible for influencing the value of another variable

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validity

the appropriateness of a conclusion or decision

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construct validity

an indication of how well a variable was measured or manipulated in a study

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generalizability

the extent to which subjects in a study represent the populations they are intended to represent; how well the settings in a study represent other settings or contexts

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external validity

an indication of how well the results of a study generalize to or represent individuals or contexts besides those in the study itself

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statistical validity

the extent to which statistical conclusions derived from a study are accurate and reasonable

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point estimate

a single estimate of some population value (such as a percentage, correlation, or a difference) based on data from a sample

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confidence interval (CI)

a given range indicated by a lower and upper value that is designed to capture the population value for some point estimate (ex: percentage, difference, or correlation); a high proportion of CIs will capture the true population value

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margin of error of the estimate

in the context of a percentage estimate, an inferential statistic providing a range of values that has a high probability of containing the true population value

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covariance

the degree to which to variables go together

also one of the three criteria for establishing a causal claim, which states that, in a study’s results, the proposed causal variable must vary systematically with changes in the proposed outcome variable

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temporal precedence

one of three criteria for establishing a causal claim, stating that the proposed causal variable comes first in time, before the proposed outcome variable

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internal validity

one of three criteria for establishing a causal claim; a study’s ability to rule out alternative explanations for a causal relationship between two variables

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experiment

a study in which at least one variable is manipulated and another is measured

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independent variable

in an experiment, a variable that is manipulated

in a multiple-regression analysis, a predictor variable used to explain variance in the criterion variable

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dependent variable

in an experiment, the variable that is measured

in a multiple-regression analysis, the single-outcome, or criterion variable the researchers are most interested in understanding or predicting

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random assignment

the use of a random method (ex: flipping a coin) to assign participants into different experimental groups

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conceptual definition

a researcher’s definition of a variable at the conceptual level

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self-report measure

a method of measuring a variable in which people answer questions about themselves in a questionnaire or interview

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observational measure

a method of measuring a variable by recording observable behaviors or physical traces of behaviors

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physiological measure

a method of measuring a variable by recording biological data

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categorical variable or nominal scale

a variable whose levels are categories (ex: male and female)

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quantitative variable

a variable whose values can be recorded as meaningful numbers

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ordinal scale

a quantitative measurement scale whose levels represent a ranked order and in which distances between levels are not equal

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interval scale

a quantitative measurement scale in which the numerals have equal intervals and the value of zero truly means “none” of the variable is being measured

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reliability

the consistency of the results of a measure

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validity

the appropriateness of a conclusion or decision

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test-retest reliability

the consistency in results every time a measure is used

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interrrater reliability

the degree to which two or more coders or observers give consistent ratings to a set of targets

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internal reliability

in a measure that contains several items, the consistency in a pattern of measures, no matter how a question is phrased

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correlation coefficient r

a single number, ranging from -1 to 1, that indicates the strength and direction of an association between two variables

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slope direction

the upward, downward, or neutral slope of the cluster of data points in a scatterplot

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strength

a description of an association indicating how closely the data points in a scatterplot cluster along a line of best fit drawn through them

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average inter-item correlation

a measure of internal reliability for a set of items; it is the mean of all possible correlations computed between each item and others

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Cronbach’s alpha

a correlation-based statistic that measures a scale’s internal reliability

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face validity

the extent to which a measure is subjectively considered a plausible operationalization of the conceptual variable in question

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criterion validity

an empirical form of measurement validity that established the extent to which a measure is associated with a behavioral outcome with which it should be associated

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known-groups paradigm

a method for establishing criterion validity in which a researcher tests two or more groups who are known to differ on the variable of interest, to ensure that they score differently on a measure of that variable

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convergent validity

an empirical test of the extent to which a self-report measure correlated with other measures of a theoretically similar construct

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discriminant validity

an empirical test of the extent to which a self-report measure does not correlate strongly with measures of theoretically dissimilar constructs

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content validity

the extent to which a measure captures all parts of a defined construct

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survey

a method of posing questions to people on the telephone, personal interviews, or via the Internet

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poll

a method of posing questions to people on the telephone in personal interviews, written questionnaires, or via the Internet

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open-ended question

a survey question format that allows respondents to answer any way that they like

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forced choice question

a survey question format in which respondents give their opinion by picking the best of two or more options

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Likert scale

a survey question format using a rating scale containing multiple response options anchored by specific terms such as strongly agree, neither agree or disagree, disagree, and strong disagree

a scale that does not follow this format exactly is called a Likert-type scale

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semantic differential format

a survey question using a response scale whose numbers are anchored with contrasting adjectives

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leading question

a type of question in a survey or poll that is problematic because its wording encourages one response more than others, therefore weakening its construct validity

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