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Empirical evidence

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Empirical evidence

is data that is collected directly through observation or experimentation.

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Ethical Considerations:

Ethics refers to standards that guide individuals to conduct themselves appropriately and make suitable moral judgements.

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Ethics committee:

Before beginning a study, researchers must submit their proposal and risk assessment to an ethics committee and have their study approved.

An ethics committee will consider the risk of harm to participants and ensure that the potential benefits from the study outweigh these risks.

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Ethical concepts:

These are general considerations used to analyse the ethical and moral aspects related to psychological practise, investigations and issues. BCNRJCI

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Beneficence:

The commitment to maximising benefits and minimising the risks involved in taking a particular course of action.

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Non-maleficence:

The commitment to avoiding harm on others. However, if there is a degree of harm involved, then it should not be disproportionate to the benefits from any course of action.

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Respect:

Involves considering that all living things have an intrinsic value and/or instrumental value

giving due regard to the welfare, liberty and autonomy, beliefs, perceptions, customs and cultural heritage of both the individual and the collective

considering the capacity of living things to make their own decisions

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Justice:

The moral obligation to ensure that there is fair consideration of competing claims that there is no unfair burden on a particular group from an action,

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Considerations:

objective evaluation of results, absence of stereotypes/prejudice/discrimination in participant selection or analysis of results, equity in access to findings and resources.

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Integrity:

The commitment to searching for knowledge and understanding, and the honest reporting of all sources of information and results (favourable or unfavourable), in ways that permit scrutiny and contribute to public knowledge and understanding.

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Ethical guidelines:

These guidelines are important to ensure participants physical and mental wellbeing is protected and that they are left with no lasting psychological or physiological harm.

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Confidentiality:

All personal details/information gathered from participants should be kept private.

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Voluntary participation:

Participants must not be forced to be involved in the study.

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Informed consent:

Participants must be told the nature and purpose of the study and any potential risks (psychological and physical).

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Withdrawal rights:

Participants are allowed to stop participating in the experiment at any time. They can also ask to have their results removed once the study has been completed.

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Deception:

It is permissible to withhold the true purpose of a study if participants' knowledge about it alters their behaviour while participating in the study. Deception should only be used when necessary.

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Debriefing:

Ensure that participants leave understanding the aim, results and conclusions of the study. All questions should be addressed, and support should be offered if required to ensure no lasting harm.

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Research with animals:

Research with animals must be approved by Animal Ethics Committees (AEC).

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Advantages of research with animals:

Animals have quicker aging and breeding processes. Animals are less influenced by participant expectations

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Limitations of research with animals

Differences between species make generalisations difficult. Potential harm to animals

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Factors influencing analysis of psychological issues:

When considering a psychological issue, there may be components that are considered wrong under the view of law yet are viewed as being acceptable in some sociocultural groups.

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Factors influencing these analysis of psych issues:

political, economic, legal, sociocultural

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Political

Government policies and legislation can directly impact people's ability to access these services. In Australia, Medicare subsidises some mental health treatments

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Economic

. Ensuring fair access to mental health services and medication for all individuals, regardless of their socioeconomic status.

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Legal

Not all forms of mental health care are legal. E.g. MDMA and psilocybin are considered illegal in Australia and therefore can't be used as part of a mental health treatment plan.

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Sociocultural

There is often a sense of shame or embarrassment around having mental health issues, which may prevent people from accessing treatment.

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Qualitative Data

Data that describes the changes in the quality of something. Advantage is Participants may be able to elaborate on their responses and explain their thoughts/feelings. Limitation is More difficult to summarise and analyse as data is in non-numerical form.

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Quantitative Data

Data collected systematically and presented in numerical form.

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quantative data advantage

is Easy to summarise and analyse as the data is in numerical form.

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quantative data limitation

Limitation is Participants usually cannot elaborate or provide information on their responses.

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Objective Data

Data that is observable, measurable and verifiable.

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Objective data advantage

Advantage is Less prone to bias as does not tend to be based on opinions etc.

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objective data limitation

is Some behaviour and mental processes cannot be directly observed or measured.

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Subjective Data

Data that is based on personal opinion, interpretation or judgement.

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Subjective Data advantages

is Provides information about mental processes and behaviours that are difficult to observe or measure.

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Subjective data limitation

Limitation is More likely to be biased and difficult to verify results.

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Primary Data

collected directly by an individual/researcher.

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primary data advantage

Advantage is Can ensure the data is collected in an appropriate way to heighten the validity and reliability of the results.

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primary data disadvantage

Limitation is Time-consuming to conduct study and collect data.

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Secondary Data

Using data collected by another person, rather than the individual/researcher.

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Secondary data advantage

Advantage is Readily available and accessible. May be peer-reviewed.

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secondary data disadvantage

Limitation is Uncertainty about the validity and reliability of the data.

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Organising Data:

Descriptive statistics are used to summarise and organise data.

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Percentages and percentage change:

Percentages can be calculated using raw data or measures of central tendency, e.g. mean.

pallow to recognise percentages changed during the course of a study, or to allow for comparisons between groups.

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Measure of central tendency:

mean, median, mode

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Mode:

The most commonly occurring value in a data set.

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Measures of variance:

Range, standard deviation

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Standard deviation:

This is a value that describes the spread of scores around the mean. When standard deviation is higher, it indicates greater variability in the results.

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Bar chart:

A bar graph uses a series of separate horizontal or vertical bars that represent discrete categories. They are useful when comparing several different categories.

The IV (variable you are manipulating) should be represented on the horizontal axis and the DV (variable you are measuring) on the vertical axis.

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Line graph:

Line graphs are used when the data is numerical and continuous. They are useful for tracking small changes that occur over time. The IV should be represented on the horizontal axis and the DV on the vertical axis.

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Investigation Methodologies:

Research methodologies refers to different processes, techniques or studies that researchers use.

The methodology selected for a study is determined by what is being investigated.

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Fieldwork:

Involves observing and interacting with a selected environment beyond the classroom, usually to determine correlation, rather than a causal relationship.

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Direct observations and sampling:

Actively watching and recording participant behaviour, usually without involvement of the researcher. May involve qualitative and/or quantitative data.

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Participant observation:

Involves the researcher being an active part of the group being studied, in either a covert (i.e. hidden) or overt way. This method can allow researchers to guide the direction of a study to ensure it remains focused.

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Self-report methods:

Interviews, questionnaires, focus groups, yarning circles

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Interviews:

Structured or unstructured questions that participants verbally respond to. They can be conducted face-to-face, by phone or by video conference.

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Questionnaires:

Structured, written, open/closed-ended questions that can be conducted face-to-face, on paper, online or by phone.

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Open ended questions vs Close ended questions

Close-ended questions are questions that have predetermined answers for respondents to choose from.

Open-ended questions are questions that cannot be answered with a simple 'yes' or 'no', and instead require the respondent to elaborate on their points.

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Focus groups:

Involves a moderator conducting an interview with multiple participants.

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Yarning circles:

An alternative to focus groups which are used to explore topics with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through discussions, storytelling and conversations.

provided with an opportunity to speak in a safe non- judgmental place

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Advantages of self report

Questionnaires can collect large amounts of data quickly and anonymously.

provides insight into thoughts, feelings and behaviours Observations in natural settings will result in more realistic behaviours occurring.

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Disadvantages of self report:

Qualitative data can be difficult to summarise and analyse. People may give socially desirable and inaccurate response in self-report studies.

Observed behaviours are subjective and more prone to bias.

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Product, process or system development:

The design or evaluation of an artefact, process or system to meet a human need, which may involve technological applications in addition to scientific knowledge and procedures.

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Examples of products:

Meditation apps that allow individuals to practice mindfulness regularly

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Examples of processes:

Tracking of COVID-19 cases

trialling new medication to treat depression.

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Examples of systems:

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

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Advantages of product, process or system development

Creates new products or systems that can improve efficiency, as well as mental and physical wellbeing of others.

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Disadvantages of product, process or system development

Research and development can be time-consuming and expensive.

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Modelling:

The construction and/or manipulation of a physical or conceptual model of a system.

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Examples of physical models:

Building an artificial brain for neurosurgeons to trial surgery techniques developing virtual reality technology to mimic flying conditions

setting up a fake prison.

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Examples of conceptual models:

Atkinson-Shiffrin Multi-store Model of Memory the biopsychosocial model of physical and mental wellbeing

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Advantages of modelling:

Assists with understanding abstract and unobservable concepts about behaviour and mental processes. Can help generate new hypotheses to guide further research

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Disadvantages of modelling

May oversimplify or inaccurately represent complex concepts. Complex models can be costly to research and develop

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Simulation:

The process of using a model to study the behaviour of a real or theoretical system.

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Advantages of simulation:

Can collect data without risking the health and safety of participants. Easier to replicate as there are more experimental controls that can be put into place

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Disadvantages of simulation

Usually involves artificial environments which may change participant's behaviours and reduce ability to generalise results. Can be time-consuming and expensive to develop

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Classification:

The arrangement of phenomena, objects or events into manageable sets. e.g grouping a set of symptoms that are indicative of mood disorder.

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Identification:

The process of recognising phenomena as belonging to particular sets or possibly being part of a new or unique set.

E.g. psychologists can match a set of symptoms to a particular disorder.

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Advantages of classification & Identification

Provides a common language for medical professionals to use. Can allow predictions and inferences to be made

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Disadvantages of classification & Identification

Labelling through identification can lead to stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination. Classifications may be based on subjective criteria

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Literature review:

Involves the collation and analysis of secondary data related to other people's scientific findings and/or viewpoints in order to answer a question, provide background information on an event or in preparation for an investigation.

A literature review helps researchers understand the current state of scientific knowledge.

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Advantages of Literature review

May uncover patterns of knowledge or gaps in knowledge. Help identify expert researchers in the field

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Disadvantages of literature review:

Can be time-consuming to find suitable secondary sources. Difficult if little research has been done on the topic

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Correlational study:

Involves planned observation and recording of events and behaviours that have not been manipulated or controlled to understand relationships that exist between variables.

scatterplots can be used to show the relationship between variables in a correlational study.

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Positive correlations:

occur when both variables change in the same way, i.e. both increase or decrease.

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Negative correlations:

occur when the variables change in opposite directions, i.e. as one variable increases the other variable decreases.

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Zero correlations

occur when there is no relationship between the variables.

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Strength of correlations:

Statistical tests determine correlation coefficients which range between -1.00 and +1.00.

The strongest possible negative relationship is represented by the value -1.00. Zero correlations have a correlation coefficient of 0.

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Advantages of correlation

Allows the direction and strength of a relationship to be determined. May result in more natural behaviours as variables are not being manipulated.

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Disadvantages of Correlation

The relationship is bi-directional, so can't determine which variable has more influence. Correlation does not imply causation

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Case study:

An investigation of a particular phenomenon (activity, behaviour, event or problem) that contains a real/hypothetical situation and includes complexities that would be encountered in the real world.

Useful at gathering detailed in-depth information about an individual or a small group of people.

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There are different types of case studies:

Historical investigation, real situation investigation,

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A historical investigation:

with analysis of causes, consequences and what has been learned. E.g. Phineas Gage and damage to the frontal lobe.

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Real situation investigation:

An investigation that involves a real situation or a role-play of a hypothetical situation. E.g. Gene 'Wild Child' case.

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investigation based around problem solving:

A study based around problem-solving where developing a new methodology or method is needed.

E.g. Marketing companies may use case studies before they launch new products or technologies.

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Advantages of case study's

Useful in situations where it would be unethical or impossible to conduct a controlled experiment. Gathers highly detailed information about rare phenomena

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Disadvantages of case study's:

Due to the small sample size, the findings usually can't be generalised to the population. Time consuming and usually difficult to replicate

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Controlled experiment:

An experimental investigation of the relationship between one or more independent variables and a dependent variable, controlling all other variables.

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Advantages of controlled experiment:

High control of variables reduces potential extraneous and controlled variables. Follows a strictly controlled procedure so can be replicated more easily

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Disadvantages of controlled experiment:

Usually conducted in a laboratory or highly controlled setting which may affect participant's responses. Possible experimenter effects when manipulating variables

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