Chapter 2. Psychological Research

Chapter 2. Key Terms

archival research
method of research using past records or data sets to answer various research questions, or to search for interesting patterns or relationships

cause and effect
changes in one variable cause the changes in the other variable; can be determined only through an experimental research design

case study
in depth research study focusing on one or a few people

consumer psychologist
studies how consumers behave, think, and feel, and how they make decisions about buying and using products and services.

control group
serves as a basis for comparison and controls for chance factors that might influence the results of the study—by holding such factors constant across groups so that the experimental manipulation is the only difference between groups

relationship between two or more variables; when two variables are correlated, one variable changes as the other does

correlation coefficient
number from -1 to +1, indicating the strength and direction of the relationship between variables, and usually represented by r

when an experiment involved deception, participants are told complete and truthful information about the experiment at its conclusion

purposely misleading experiment participants in order to maintain the integrity of the experiment

dependent variable
variable that the researcher measures to see how much effect the independent variable had

double-blind study
experiment in which both the researchers and the participants are unaware of which participants are assigned to which groups

grounded in objective, tangible evidence that can be observed time and time again, regardless of who is observing

experimental group
group designed to answer the research question; experimental manipulation is the only difference between the experimental and control groups, so any differences between the two are due to experimental manipulation rather than chance

experimenter bias
researcher expectations skew the results of the study

made up false information

field research
data collected in a natural setting outside of a laboratory or controlled environment

inferring that the results for a sample apply to the larger population

grounded theory
the systematic analysis of data to develop a theory about a particular phenomenon or social process.

(plural: hypotheses) tentative and testable prediction about the relationship between two or more variables

independent variable
variable that is influenced or controlled by the experimenter

informed consent
process of informing a research participant about what to expect during an experiment, any risks involved, and the implications of the research, and then obtaining the person’s agreement to participate

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)
committee of administrators, scientists, veterinarians, and community members that reviews proposals for research involving non-human animals

Institutional Review Board (IRB)
committee of administrators, scientists, and community members that reviews proposals for research involving human participants

a method of gathering information about an individual’s thoughts, feelings, or behaviors through a structured or unstructured conversation with a trained interviewer

naturalistic observation
observation of behavior in its natural setting, without any intervention or manipulation by the researcher.

negative correlation
two variables change in different directions, with one becoming larger as the other becomes smaller

operational definition
precise description of what actions and operations will be used to measure the dependent variables and manipulate the independent variables

people who take part in psychological research studies and from whom data is collected

participant observation
the researcher immerses themselves in a particular social setting and observes and records the behavior of the individuals within that setting.

article read by several other scientists (usually anonymously) with expertise in the subject matter, who provide feedback regarding the quality of the manuscript and determine whether it is accepted for publication

phenomenological method
qualitative research method that involves describing an individual’s subjective experiences and perceptions of a particular phenomenon or event

placebo effect
people’s expectations or beliefs influencing or determining their experience in a given situation

overall group of individuals that the researchers are interested in

positive correlation
two variables change in the same direction, both becoming either larger or smaller

qualitative research
seeks to understand a specific phenomenon through in-depth exploration and analysis of non-numerical data, often using rich descriptions

quantitative research
uses numerical data and statistical analysis to study a specific phenomenon. This type of research is often used to test hypotheses

random assignment
method of experimental group assignment in which all participants have an equal chance of being assigned to either group

repeating an experiment using different samples to determine the research’s reliability

subset of individuals selected from the larger population

semi-structured interview
interviewer has a set of pre-determined questions, but is also able to follow up with additional questions based on the participant’s responses

single-blind study
experiment in which the researcher knows which participants are in the experimental group and which are in the control group

mathematical analysis determines how likely any difference between experimental groups is reliable/meaningful or due to chance

structured interview
interviewer has a set of pre-determined questions that are asked in a specific order

list of questions to be answered by research participants—allowing researchers to collect data from a large number of people

well-developed set of ideas that propose an explanation for observed phenomena

thick description
provides a detailed and comprehensive description of the social and cultural context in which a particular behavior or phenomenon occurs.

a research method using multiple methods or sources of data to confirm or support a particular finding or theory.

unstructured interview
interviewer has a general topic or set of questions, but allows the conversation to flow freely, without a set format or specific questions


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Introduction to Psychology (A critical approach) Copyright © 2021 by Jill Grose-Fifer; Rose M. Spielman; Kathryn Dumper; William Jenkins; Arlene Lacombe; Marilyn Lovett; and Marion Perlmutter is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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