What is Research? JANE GOODALL • Observed chimpanzees in Tanzania, Africa for more than 30 years • She used the research method of naturalistic observation • Collect information like most people do in everyday life-only more carefully and more systematically PRE-RESEARCH DECISIONS • Must ask a specific question about a limited topic or hypothesis • The method or research depends on the research topic • It does not matter what approach the data is collected, but decisions need to be made ahead of time SAMPLES • A sample is the small group of participants, out of the total number available, that a researcher studies METHODS OF RESEARCH • Surveys- research method in which information is obtained by asking many individuals a fixed set of questions • Longitudinal study- research method in which data are collected about a group of participants over a number of years to access how certain characteristics change or remain the same during development. EXPERIMENTS • Hypothesis- an educated guess about the relationship between two variables • Variable- any factor that is capable of change • Experimental group- the group to which an independent variable is applied • Control group- the group that is treated in the same way as the experimental group except that the experimental treatment (the independent variable is not applied. ETHICAL ISSUES • Ethics- the methods of conduct or standards for proper and responsible behavior • Using animals in research has become an issue in recent years SECTION 2 Problems and Solutions in Research SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY • Is a situation in which a researcher’s expectations influence that person’s own behavior, and thereby influence the participants behavior. AVOIDING A SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY • Single-blind experiment- is an experiment in which the participants are unaware of which participants received the treatment • Double-blind experiment- is an experiment in which neither the experimenter nor the participants know which participants received which treatment • By conducting this type of experiment the researcher can remain unbiased. THE MILGRAM EXPERIMENT • Stanley Milgram wanted to determine whether participants would administer painful shocks to others because an authority figure instructed them to do so • He gathered 1000 participants • The volunteers were paired with learners • The volunteer would shock the learner when the learner made a mistake • Milgram Experiment Video THE MILGRAM EXPERIMENT • The volunteers were told that with each mistake, the electrical shock would become stronger • The volunteers did not realize the shocks were fake • 65% of the volunteers pushed the shock button until it reached maximum severity • Proved that ordinary individuals could easily inflict pain if orders were given by a respected authority THE MILGRAM EXPERIMENT • • • • Was an excellent example of a single-blind experiment Swarthmore College conducted the same study 88% of undergraduates administered the highest level of shock Updated THE PLACEBO EFFECT • Is a change in a participant’s illness or behavior that results from a belief that the treatment will have an effect rather than from the actual treatment • Psychiatric patients in two study groups were given a drug, after a six-week period the groups were evaluated THE PLACEBO EFFECT • 53% to 80% reported they benefited from the drugs • The drugs administered were placebos • The people reacted to their own expectations of how the drug given would affect them. • Neither the researchers or the patients new they were placebos until after the experiment SOURCE: • Kasschau, Richard, A. Understanding Psychology. McGraw-Hill, Glencoe, New York, New York, 2008.