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Research Approaches and Methods of Data Collection
To be able to
advantages and disadvantages associated with each setting.
1) What is the main difference between descriptive and experimental research approaches?
* d) The former does not establish cause-and-effect relationships but the latter does
2) The _________ variable is the presumed cause of another variable while the ________ variable is the presumed effect.
* a) independent; dependent
3) In a study designed to identify factors involved in helping behavior, a man on a crowded bus clutches his chest and falls to the floor. In one of the conditions of the study the man is clean shaven and wearing a suit; in the other condition he has a scraggly beard and is wearing a dirty t-shirt and jeans. The amount of time it takes for someone to help the man is recorded. In this example the independent variable is
* b) the appearance of the man.
4) In a study designed to identify factors involved in helping behavior, a man on a crowded bus clutches his chest and falls to the floor. In one of the conditions of the study the man is clean shaven and wearing a suit; in the other condition he has a scraggly beard and is wearing a dirty t-shirt and jeans. The amount of time it takes for someone to help the man is recorded. In this example the dependent variable is
* a) the amount of time it takes someone to help.
5) A(n) ______________ variable is one that is not under the control of the researcher but that may be influencing the outcome of the experiment.
* b) extraneous
6) A researcher is interested in the effects of teaching styles on learning. She randomly assigns students to either a lecture-based class taught at 8:00 a.m. or a discussion-based class taught at 2:00 p.m. Her results reveal that students in the discussion-based class performed better than those in the lecture-based class. In this example the time that the class is taught could be considered a(n) _________ variable, making it impossible to establish a causal connection between teaching method and classroom performance.
* c) extraneous
7) Several recent studies have found that moderate drinkers of alcohol have lowered levels of heart disease risk than non-drinkers. It has been hypothesized that moderate drinking may reduce stress which in turn may lead to a reduction in the risk of heart disease. In this example lowered stress levels would be considered a(n) __________ variable.
* d) mediating
8) A(n) ___________ variable specifies how a causal relationship between two variables is different depending on a particular situation or circumstance. For example, if a researcher finds that a new experimental drug is effective in alleviating depression in young adult but not older adults.
* b) moderating
9) According to your text there are three conditions for making justified claims of cause and effect. Which of the following is NOT one of these conditions:
* b) the dependent variable must be manipulated by the researcher
10) An effect is
* d) the difference between what would have happened in the absence of a treatment and what did actually happen
11) What does it mean to say that an observation is objective?
* d) it is unaffected by the observers personal biases
12) Experimental research, as opposed to qualitative and nonexperimental quantitative research, allows us to make statements about cause-and-effect relationships. Why is this so?
* c) In experimental research, we can observe the effects of manipulating variables under controlled conditions.
13) Which of the following is NOT a defining characteristic of a psychological experiment?
* c) it always takes place in a laboratory
14) According to the text, a phenomenon that is made to occur in a psychology experiment is
* c) an observable behavior.
15) Which of the following is NOT a strength of the experimental approach?
* a) proving your hypothesis is correct
16) What is the most critical aspect of the experimental method that allows us to make statements about cause and effect based on experimental data?
* d) control
17) As noted in your text, one disadvantage of the experimental approach is the inability to:
* c) assess the effects of variables that cannot be manipulated
18) According to your text, what is probably the most commonly cited disadvantage of using laboratory experiments to learn about human behavior?
* a) because they tend to be done in highly controlled settings, their results may not be generalizable to the real world
19) Which of the following would not be considered a field experiment?
* b) effects of music on memory performance among introductory psychology students
20) What is the main difference between experimentation done in a field setting and experimentation done in a laboratory?
* c) in field experimentation, the setting is real life and not contrived
21) Compared with field research, which of the following is true about laboratory research?
* c. laboratory research achieves a greater degree of control over extraneous variables
22) Field experiments, according to Tunnell (1977), should include:
* d) all of the above.
23) An advantage of doing experiments in the laboratory over the field setting is that
* b) more extraneous variables can be held constant in the lab.
24) Why might laboratory experiments be criticized as less than valuable and potentially problematic?
* b) laboratory-based results may not generalize to the real world
25) An increasing number of researchers are conducting experiments over the Internet because of the advantages it affords. Which of the following is NOT an advantage of using the Internet to conduct and experiment?
* d) there can be multiple submissions by the same person
26) An increasing number of researchers are conducting experiments over the Internet because of the advantages it affords. Which of the following is NOT a disadvantage of using the Internet to conduct and experiment?
* a) the experiment is brought to the participant instead of the participant coming to the
27) Nonexperimental quantitative research is particularly useful for
* a) developing hypotheses for new experiments.
28) What is the primary weakness of a correlational study?
* d) we cannot establish cause and effect with a correlational study
29) In chapter 1, we learned that the main objectives of scientific research are description, explanation, prediction, and control. Of all the nonexperimental research techniques studied, correlational research is particularly well suited for which objectives?
* a) description and prediction
30) The third variable issue refers to
* a) the possibility that two variables are correlated because both are caused by a third
31) The third variable problem refers to
* c) correlations that are causally link through another factor.
32) Ramon determines that in his neighborhood amount of ice cream consumed and number of violent crimes are positively correlated the more ice cream consumed, the more crimes are committed. He concludes that something in ice cream leads people to commit violent crimes. What has Ramon overlooked?
* a) the third variable problem as some other variable could lead to an increase in both ice cream consumption and violent crime
33) If we find that two variables are correlated, which of the following conclusions would be unjustified?
* a) we know that changes in one of the variables cause changes in the other
34) Although we cannot establish causality from a correlational study, statistical techniques are available to help clarify established relationships. One of these is known as _________ and involves identifying multiple variables that are related to a single outcome either directly or indirectly (through mediating variables).
* a) path analysis
35) You want to conduct a study to determine whether single car accidents tend occur more frequently at a particular time of day (i.e. early morning hours). What kind of study would you be conducting?
* c) natural manipulation
36) In a longitudinal study of a behavior, a researcher would
* d) study one group of similarly aged people for a long period of time.
37) A researcher decides to measure the development of moral reasoning from early to late childhood. At a single point in time she tests 20 four-year olds, 20 six-year olds, and 20 eight-year olds by presenting each with the same moral dilemma and recording their responses. She then compares the performance of the three groups. The researcher is using a type of design referred to as:
* b) cross-sectional
38) Suppose a researcher used a cross-sectional research design and found that older adults tend to be more socially conservative than younger adults. He concludes that as we get older we tend to become more conservative in our thinking. Which of the following is a potential problem with this conclusion?
* c) an age-cohort effect could explain these findings
39) A research technique that combines features of both longitudinal and cross-sectional designs testing cohorts of individuals but also retesting them over time is referred to as a __________ design.
* a) cross-sequential
40) For his senior thesis, Jacob is studying the development of motor coordination in monkeys from birth to old age, but only has one semester to collect his data. What kind of descriptive research design should he use?
* c) cross sectional
41) Qualitative research can be described in the following way:
* d) it is interpretive, involves multiple methods, and focuses on people in their natural
42) The cohort-sequential design is an alternative developmental design that
* a) makes multiple observations of several cohorts with overlapping ages.
43) Qualitative research is interpretive, which involves
* a) extracting information from non-numerical data.
44) ___________ research is primarily descriptive and useful in theory generation while _______ research is more useful in testing hypotheses.
* b. Qualitative; quantitative
45) Qualitative researchers use many methods in part to
* c) provide a better understanding of the phenomenon being investigated.
46) Which of the following could be considered a limitation of qualitative research?
apply to the real world
of individual participants perspectives
* d) different researchers may provide different interpretations of the same data
47) Phenomenologists hoping to gain an understanding of the experiences of people that have been abducted by terrorists, would rely primarily on
* a) face-to face interviews.
48) You would like to identify the teaching techniques and strategies used by professors whom students say are the best instructors. One research approach that could be used to identify the strategies these professors are using is to use
* b) naturalistic observation.
49) If a researcher joined a religious cult to see how members are recruited and why affiliation is so strong, she would be using the
* c) participant-observer method.
50) A significant risk inherent in participant observation is
* d) the reactive effect.
Define the following in psychological terms:
Experimental research Descriptive research Quantitative research
Numerical data Qualitative research Non-numerical data
Variable Categorical variable Quantitative variable
Independent variable Dependent variable Cause-and-effect relationship
Extraneous variable Mediating variable Moderator variable
Causation Cause Effect
Psychological experiment Manipulation Confounding variables
Causal description Causal explanation Field experiment
Laboratory experiment Internet experiment Correlational research
Nonexperimental quantitative research Third variable problem
Path analysis Direct effect Indirect effect
Natural manipulation research Cross-sectional study
Longitudinal study Cohort-sequential design Qualitative research
Triangulation Method of data collection Tests
Questionnaire Interviews Focus group
Observation Naturalistic observation Laboratory observation
Time-interval sampling Event sampling Existing data
Documents Physical data Archived research data
1) Identify two non-experimental research techniques discussed in your textbook. Describe the major advantages and limitations of each.
2) Describe a simple experiment (do not use one discussed in your text) and identify the independent and dependent variables.
3) Define and distinguish mediating and moderating variables.
4) Explain the phrase cause and effect. Define each and then explain how determinism is important to a scientific use of the word cause.
5) How does your book define a psychological experiment? Discuss each of the four important components of this definition.
6) List and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the experimental approach.
7) One of the advantages of the experimental approach is the ability to control extraneous variables. What are extraneous variables? Describe a simple experiment illustrating how extraneous variables might be controlled. Why is the control of extraneous variables important?
8) Experiments are sometimes criticized because they often take place in highly artificial laboratory settings where the experimenter has a lot of control over the environment. Explain why this is actually an advantage in establishing a causal relationship between two variables.
9) How does a field experiment differ in practice from naturalistic observation? How does a field experiment differ from a laboratory experiment? What are the strengths and weaknesses associated with field experimentation?
10) Compare and contrast laboratory experiments, field experiments and Internet experiments. Include the relative advantages and disadvantages of each.
11) What is the distinguishing characteristic of nonexperimental quantitative research? Identify the methods presented in your text as examples of nonexperimental quantitative research.
12) Why is correlational research unable to establish causal relationships? What is the third variable problem, and why is it critical to the understanding of the misuse of correlational evidence to imply causation?
13) What is natural manipulation research? Explain how natural manipulation research is similar to and different from correlational research.
14) Describe a cohort-sequential design and explain how it is a combination of the longitudinal and cross-sectional designs. What advantages does the cohort-sequential design have over the longitudinal and cross-sectional designs?
15) What is qualitative research? What are the inherent limitations of this type of research?
16) What are the six major methods of data collection as outlined in your text? Briefly summarize some of the strengths and weaknesses of each.
Classroom exercise suggestions
1) One of the primary goals of this chapter is to provide students with an overview of the many different research approaches and data collection methods available to researchers. Remind students that much of the information contained in the chapter will be explored more fully in other sections of the text. To bring home the point that many topics can be explored in multiple ways you might use one of the activities below:
2) At this point in the semester it will be difficult for most students to decipher scientific journal articles but one easy way to help them distinguish different research methods is by utilizing popular media reports of scientific research. This also encourages students to exercise their critical thinking skills an important goal of the course. There are several ways you might incorporate this in your discussion:
Hall, S.S. & Seery, B.L. (2006). Behind the facts: Helping students evaluate
media reports of psychological research. Teaching of Psychology, 33, 101-104.
3) The text points out that correlational research is helpful in accomplishing the scientific objectives of description and prediction. To extend this discussion you might describe how correlational research often stimulates hypotheses that are tested in an experimental manner thus establishing causality and accomplishing the objective of explanation. For example, correlational research finding a positive association between playing violent video games and aggressive behavior is difficult to interpret because of issues of direction of effect and potential third variables. However, these findings have stimulated a wealth of experimental research investigating the precise nature of the causal relationship. For the correlational findings below have students generate ways to test the relationship experimentally. The discussion should naturally lead to issues of random assignment and control of extraneous variables. This may also serve as a preview of ethical issues involved in using random assignment.
4) The site below, maintained by Alan Levine, presents simple explanations for five different research methodologies (experimental, correlational, naturalistic observation, surveys, and case studies). The site is well-done and contains summaries and quizzes for each of the five methodologies.
5) This University of Denver site provides links to various online experiments in which students can participate. You may find this to be more appropriate for later in the course.
Measuring Variables and Sampling
To be able to
Multiple choice questions
1) In the context of an experiment, a variable is
* a) any factor that can vary across participants or situations.
2) ___________ is the simplest scale of measurement.
* b) Nominal
3) Which of the following measurement scales is accurately paired with an example?
* d) Ordinala professor listing his students from the best to worst
4) What differentiates interval from ratio scales of measurement?
dimension being measured; this is not true for interval
* d) Ratio scales include an absolute zero point indicating the absence of what is being
5) Temperature on a Kelvin scale is an example of
* d) ratio measurement.
6) Which of the following would represent scores on a nominal scale?
7) ______________ refers to the consistency of results and ____________ is the extent to which you are measuring what you think you are measuring.
* c) Reliability; validity
8) In order to establish the reliability of a measure of intelligence, Kevin administers two forms of the test to a group of students. Which of the following reliability coefficient values would indicate the most reliability for the test?
* b) 0.85
9) Jenna would like to establish the reliability of a new measure of self-esteem but she doesnt have enough time to administer her test more than once. Which of the following methods of establishing reliability would you suggest to Jenna?
* b) Internal consistency
10) If we include items assessing memory, logic, and verbal comprehension on an intelligence test as opposed to food preferences or shoe size then we have satisfied which of the following types of validity?
* c) Face
11) Construct validity
* b) is supported when similar results are obtained from different operationalizations of the dependent variable.
12) Which of the following illustrates reliability?
* d) Jacquie takes three practice GRE verbal exams and scores 548, 552, and 550.
13) A variable shows reliability when
* d) similar results are obtained each time it is measured.
14) The measurement of a variable has validity when
* d) the inferences that are made from the measurement are accurate.
15) When conducting psychological research we want the research to be valid. Reliability and validity are necessary ingredients of valid research. The relationship between validity and reliability is that
* c) the research must be reliable for it to be valid but a reliable research study is not
16) Suppose you have created a new method of diagnosing anxiety disorders. How could you demonstrate that your method is a construct valid?
* d) use your method to diagnose a group of participants, then see if your diagnoses match with diagnoses taken from other, established methods
17) Tom wanted to assess the reliability of his measure of anxiety so he had a group of introductory psychology students complete the measure of anxiety on march 3rd and again on march 25th. He then compared the scores that the students made on the two testing occasions using a statistical technique called correlation. He used this quantitative index as his measure of reliability. Tom used what method to assess reliability?
* a) test-retest
18) Eduardo decided to assess the reliability of the carbohydrate craving inventory he constructed. He had constructed two identical versions of the inventory and a group of 50 people took both versions. Then Eduardo compared the responses of these 50 people on the two versions of the craving inventory for his assessment of the reliability of the inventory. Eduardo used what method to assess reliability?
* b) equivalent forms
19) Jacqueline wanted to assess the reliability of ratings made of childrens aggressive behavior so she had two students rate the degree of aggression displayed by each of 50 children while engaged in play. She then compared the ratings made by these two students and computed the degree of agreement between them. Jacqueline used what method of assessing reliability?
* b) interrater reliability
20) Afiya wanted to assess the reliability of students observations of childrens aggressive behavior so she had two students observe 100 behaviors displayed by each of 50 children while engaged in play. After viewing each behavior the students recorded the behavior as being aggressive or nonaggresive. Afiya then computed the percentage of times the two students agreed on their assessment of each behavior. Afiya used what method of assessing reliability?
* a) interobserver agreement
21) Owen wanted to assess the internal consistency of his measure of anxiety so he measured reliability estimates by comparing items within his test. He reported a reliability estimate of .80. What measure of reliability is Owen using?
* a) Cronbachs alpha
22). Gerald is developing a measure of shyness and he determines that students scoring high on the measure also score high for introversion on a wellknown introversionextraversion scale. The outcome best illustrates
* b) concurrent validity.
23) Cronbachs alpha is a measure of
* b) internal consistency.
24) Students sometimes complain that scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) are not related to how well students perform in graduate school. Essentially the students are saying that the GRE does not have
* c) predictive validity.
25) Discriminant validity refers to
* a) the degree to which the measure does not correlate with measures of different constructs.
26) Convergent validity refers to
* b) the degree to which the measure does correlate with measures of similar constructs.
27) One way to assess construct validity is to establish that scores on the test in question do NOT correlate with established scales that are dissimilar or conceptually unrelated concepts. e.g, a scale to measure depression would likely not correlate with scales designed to measure happiness. This type of validity is called
* c) discriminant validity.
28) Suppose you have created a new method of diagnosing anxiety disorders. How could you demonstrate that your method is valid?
see if the amount of anxiety diagnosis in their practice is consistent with population norms.
* c) use your method to diagnose a group of participants, then see if your diagnoses match with diagnoses taken from other, established methods.
29) A study examines scores on an employment test and job performance six months later. This study is most likely attempting to establish
* a) criterion validity.
30) When evaluating reliability and validity information it is important to note the __________ upon which the information was gathered.
* b) norming group
31) Some psychological tests are designed to measure more than one construct, they are multidimensional. __________ is a statistical technique that can be used to determine the number of dimension that a particular measure is testing.
* d) Factor analysis
32) The Mental Measurements Yearbook is a good place to find
* b) established standardized tests.
33) ___________ refers to any sampling method in which each individual has an equal chance of being selected for the sample.
* a) Equal probability selection method
34) A(n) __________ is a list of all members of a population.
* c) sampling frame
35) When using simple random sampling it is suggested that you _________ because it will lead to a more representative sample.
* b) sample without replacement
36) A major advantage of randomly selecting participants from a population is that
* c) you can be more confident that your sample is representative of the population.
37) In a truly random sample from a population,
* b) all members of the population have an equal chance of being selected.
38) Suppose you wish to test a representative sample of people in your theology class on attitudes toward the idea of women as priests. There are 40 people in the class, 30 females and 10 males. What would be the best strategy?
* c) stratified sample
39) ____________ is to ____________ as population is to parameter.
* a) Sample; statistic
40) A subset of data drawn from the larger population of interest is a
* b) sample.
41) To study career aspirations among high school students in Alabama, a researcher randomly selects 5% of the states school districts and gives all the students in each district a survey designed to measure career goal. What sampling procedure is being used here?
* c) cluster
42) A researcher who selects a probability sample that is 40% male and 60% female is most likely to be using __________ sampling.
* b) stratified
43) Jim is conducting a survey to learn about student attitudes toward abortion. He passes out his survey to the first 100 students that enter the cafeteria. What sampling method is Jim using?
* a) convenience
44) Which of the following is NOT a nonrandom sampling technique?
* b) cluster
45) Which of the following nonrandom sampling techniques would be most similar to stratified random sampling?
* b) quota
46) ________________ of participants is done to obtain a representative sample, and __________ of the participants is done to improve the experimental design of the study.
* a) Random selection; random assignment
47) Random assignment of participants to the various groups in an experiment
* b) increases the probability that the groups are equivalent.
48) Your textbook authors suggest that if your population has fewer than 100 people you should
* d) test everyone in the population.
49) Which of the following situations would NOT necessitate a larger sample size?
* d) is you use proportional stratified sampling
50) Which of the following was NOT offered as a type of sampling method used for qualitative research?
* a) purposive sampling
Define the following in psychological terms:
biased sample element
census equal probability of selection method (EPSEM)
cluster cluster random sampling
equivalent-forms reliability &
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