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Flashcards in Social Psychology Research Deck (55):

What are the 4 steps of the research process?

Ask questions
Search other literature
Develop hypothesis and theories
Conduct research


What is a hypothesis?

A testable prediction about the conditions under which an event will occur (a researcher’s best guess of what the outcome of the study will be)


What is a theory?

An organized set of principles used to explain observed phenomena


What is basic research?

Seeks to increase our understanding of human behaviour and often designed to test a specific hypothesis from a specific theory


What is applied research?

Research designed to enlarge the understanding of naturally occurring events and to find solutions to practical problems


What is a conceptual variable (or definition)?

Abstract and general ideas about a variable


What is an operational definition?

The specific procedures for manipulating or measuring a conceptual variable


What is construct validity?

The extent to which the measures used in a study measure the variables they were designed to measure and the manipulations in an experiment manipulate the variables they were designed to manipulate.


What are self reports?

Reports in which participants disclose their thoughts, feelings, desires, and actions


What are potential issues with self reports?

Can be misleading

Participants can be influenced by wanting to look good

Self reports are affected by the way a question is asked

Context can elicit different responses

Can be affected by memory as they are usually past events being questioned


What are interval-contingent self-reports?

Reports where respondents report their responses at regular intervals.


How do signal contingent self reports work?

Have respondents report their experiences as soon as possible when signalled


What are event contingent reports?

Ask respondents to report on an event as soon as possible after it has happened


What is interrater reliability?

The degree to which different observers agree on their observations


What is a possible issue with the observation method?

Participants may change their behaviours because they know they’re being observed


What is qualitative research?

The collection of data through open-ended responses, observation, and interviews


What is quantitative research?

The collection of numerical data through objective testing and statistical analysis


What is descriptive research?

Obvious way of testing theories is to record the frequency of how someone thinks, feels, or acts

The goal of descriptive research is to describe people and their thoughts, feelings, and behaviour


What are observational studies?

We can learn about people by simply observing them

Using quantitative research or qualitative research can give us different but equally significant information about issues


What are archival studies?

Involves examining existing records of past events and behaviours - newspapers, medical records, statistics, etc


What are the limitations and advantages of archival studies?

Major advantage - observing secondhand so researchers are sure they did not influence that data in any way
Limitation - available records are not always complete or sufficiently detailed and may not have been collected in a nonsystematic manner


What is random sampling?

A method of selecting participants for a study so that everyone in a population has an equal chance of being in the study


What is correlational research?

Research designed to measure the association between variables that are not manipulated by the researcher


What is the correlational coefficient?

Statistic calculated by measuring the strength and direction of a relationship between two variables


Explain correlational coefficients

Range from -1.0 to +1.0

Absolute value indicates how strongly the variables are correlated

Positive or negative indicates the direction of the relationship

Positive correlation coefficient indicates that as one variable increases, so does the other

Negative correlation coefficient indicates that the two variables go in opposite direction


What do correlational coefficients range from?

-1.0 to +1.0


What does the absolute value of a correlational coefficient indicate?

The strength of their correlation


What does a positive correlation indicate?

As one variable increases, so does the other


What does a negative correlation indicate?

The 2 variables go in opposite directions


What are the advantages of correlational research?

Can study associations of naturally occurring variables that can’t be manipulated or induced
(Gender, race, ethnicity, age)
Can examine phenomena that would be difficult or unethical to create for research purposes
(Love, hate, abuse)
Offers researchers a great deal of freedom in where variables are measured
(Can be done in a lab or in the real world)


What are the disadvantages of correlational design?

Correlation is not causation


What is an experiment?

A form of research that can demonstrate causal relationships because the experimenter has control over the events that occur and participants are randomly assigned to conditions


What two characteristics do all social psychology experiments share?

Researcher has control over the experimental procedures, manipulating the variables of interest while ensuring uniformity elsewhere

Participants in the study are randomly assigned to the different manipulations included in the experiment


What is random assignment?

A method of assigning participants to the various conditions of an experiment so that each participant in the experiment has an equal chance of being in any of the conditions


Explain the difference between random sampling and random assignment.

Random sampling concerns how individuals are selected to be in a study

Random assignment concerns not who is selected to be in the study but how participants are assigned to different conditions


Why is random sampling important?

Important for generalizing the results obtained from a sample to a broader population


Why is random assignment important?

Essential to experiments because it is necessary for determining accurate cause-and-effect relationships


What are independent variables?

A factor that experimenters manipulate to see if it affects the dependent variable


What are dependent variables?

A factor that experimenters measure to see if it affected by the independent variable


What are subject variables?

Variables that are not dependent or independent (race, ethnicity, gender)


What does statistically significant mean?

Standard convention is that if the results could have occurred by chance five or fewer times in 100 possible outcomes, the result is statistically significant


What is internal validity?

The degree to which there can be reasonable certainty that the independent variables in an experiment caused the effects obtained on the dependent variables


What is a control group?

A control group consists of participants who experience all of the experimental procedures except the experimental treatment which provides baseline for comparison


What are experimenter expectancy effects?

If they know what conditions the participants have been assigned to they may, without realizing, treat participants in differently conditions differently

Because the experiments’ behaviours can affect the participants behaviour the results could then be produced by the experimenters actions rather than the independent variable


What is external validity?

The degree to which there can be reasonable confidence that the results of a study would be obtained for other people and in other situations


What is mundane realism?

The degree to which the experimental situation resembles places and events in the real world


What is an argued benefit of using mundane realism?

If research procedures are more realistic, research findings are more likely to be accurate


What is experimental realism?

The degree to which experimental procedures are involving to participants and lead them to behave naturally and spontaneously


What is the argued benefit of experimental realism?

Advocates of this argue that if the experimental situation is compelling and real to the participants while they are participating, their behaviour in the lab will be as natural and spontaneous as their behaviour in the real world


What is deception in a social psychology experiment?

A method that provides false information to participants


Why do we use deception?

Strengthens experimental realism, allows experimenter to manufacture situations in the lab that would be difficult to observe in a natural setting

To study potentially harmful behaviours in a regulated, safe manner, to assess people’s spontaneous reactions rather than socially acceptable presentations


What are confederates?

Accomplice of an experimenter who, in dealing with the real participants of an experiment, acts as if he or she is also a participant


What is meta-analysis?

Another way to test hypotheses is to use a set of statistical procedures to examine in a new way


What is informed consent?

An individual’s deliberate, voluntary decision to participate in research, based on the researcher’s description of what will be required during such participation


What is debriefing?

A disclosure made to participants after research procedures are completed, in which the researcher explains the purpose of the research, attempts to resolve any negative feelings, and emphasizes the scientific contribution made by participant’s involvement