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Understanding the Research Process PSY/300 Version 4

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Understanding the Research Process
Resources: Ch. 1, 2, and & 7 of Psychology This assignment will provide you with the opportunity to practice and hone your research skills. It has been designed to help you think scientifically about real world problems and issues and to apply your knowledge of the research process to various topics in Psychology. This assignment accomplishes that goal by challenging you to: Differentiate between the common use of the word research and the use of the word research in the social and behavioral sciences. Identify the major steps in the research process using a classic study in Psychology as an example.

Part I: Defining Research The word research is used in many different ways. Consider the following examples:
Your friend tells you that he intends to research different hair products before deciding on one to buy. A real estate agent advises you to research home values in your neighborhood before putting your house on the market. A police officer reports that she is doing some research on possible motives for a crime that was committed. A writer states that he does extensive research before beginning his fictional works.

Answer the questions below: 1. How is research defined in the social and behavioral sciences? Due to the fact that Social Sciences lack an accepted paradigm upon which most members of the scientific community agree with, social science research is more or less the idea and understanding of how people associate themselves within society. Research focuses on relationships and interactions between various numbers of variables within social science. Research within Behavioral Sciences, also known as behaviorism, focuses more on the behavior that is drawn from the events within that environment. This research is aimed at the relationship between the environmental events causing a reaction in ones behavior.

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Understanding the Research Process PSY/300 Version 4

2. What makes scientific research different from the examples provided above? In your response, be sure to address the characteristics of good psychological research.

The meaning of research is going to be defined different, in different scenarios. Researching home prices, as given in the example above, is going to be very different from scientific research due to the simple fact that scientific data deals with different factors. Scientific data revolves around theories that have been gathered from observation and events to help establish answers, all using scientific discipline. In psychological research, good research includes a strong theory that helps to answer questions using general guidelines that help in the collection of data, analyzing the data, and receiving the conclusion from that data that was retrieved. These results setup a paradigm until other researchers discover otherwise. Part II: Understanding the research process Researchers in Psychology follow a systematic process of investigation. Carefully read Chapter 2 of your textbook, paying special attention to the section on Experimental Research. Then go to Chapter 7 in your textbook and read the following section: Research In-Depth: Counterfactuals and If Only Thinking. Answer the questions below, using Medvec & colleagues first study as an example:
1. What hypothesis did Medvec & colleagues set out to test in their first study of the near miss phenomenon? Describe the theory associated with this hypothesis. Medvec set out to test the thoughts of the human mind- aiming to see if it will produce an emotional reaction over a change in ones environment and events. Will the mind imagine an alternate outcome from a negative event stemmed from a change in the environment? This is known as counterfactual thinking which is when the mind considers alternate outcomes. researchers hypothesize that the ease of generating counterfactuals could lead some individuals with more positive objective outcomes to actually feel worse about their situation compared to someone whose objective situation was actually worse (Kowalski & Westen, 2011).

2. Identify the variables in the study and describe how they were measured. How did the researchers operationalize (test or measure) affective response upon winning a bronze or silver medal? The researchers developed a study that aimed to receive a reaction to the event. They created two videos, one displaying silver and bronze medalists at the moment of the announced winnings. The second displayed the finalist on the podium. These are the two variables that are shown to the test group. Next, the test group is instructed to evaluate the athletes happiness on appearance using a 10 point scale. The results were average across

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Understanding the Research Process PSY/300 Version 4

the board- showing the overall index of satisfaction as being the appearance of the athletes that that time. What the research hypothesized: the bronze medalist appeared more satisfied than the silver, even when the medalists were objectively worse off. This predicted the counterfactual thought process of imagine what was going on through the heads of the silver and bronze medalist. (Kowalski & Westen, 2011)

3. Who were the participants in the study and what did they do? The participants in the study were the students. Students equal out the generalizability of a studys outcome. 4. Describe the data that was collected and analyzed. The researchers used a 10 point scale to evaluate each students opinion on the given circumstance. 5. Describe the results of the study. What did the researchers conclude? The results of the study The researchers hypotheses the bronze medalist appeared

significantly more satisfied than the silver medalist. (Kowalski & Westen, 2011) The
conclusion of the study was that the results were average across the board on the opinion of happiness of each finalist. (Kowalski & Westen, 2011) 6. If you were to design a follow-up experiment on this subject, what might it be? The follow up experiment on this subject would be known as converging operations which provides a safety net for catching errors (Kowalski & Westen, 2011).

REFERENCES Kowalski, R. & Westen, D. (2011), Psychology. (6th ed). John Wiley & Sons, Inc

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