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Descriptive Methods & Ethical Research

Descriptive Methods & Ethical Research

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Descriptive Methods & Ethical Research

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  1. Descriptive Methods & Ethical Research Psych 231: Research Methods in Psychology

  2. Correlational Methods • Measure two (or more) variables for each individual to see if the variables are related • Used for: • Predictions • Reliability and Validity • Evaluating theories • Problems: Can’t make casual claims

  3. Causal claims • We’d like to say: • variable X causes variable Y • To be able to do this: • The causal variable must come first • There must be co-variation between the two variables • Need to eliminate plausible alternative explanations

  4. Causal claims • Directionality Problem: • Airplanes and coffee spills • Happy people sleep well • or is it that sleeping well when you’re happy? • Third variable problem: • Do Storks bring babies? • A study reported a strong positive correlation between number of babies and stork sightings

  5. Theory 1: Storks deliver babies

  6. Theory 2: underlying third variable

  7. The experimental method • Manipulating and controlling variables in laboratory experiments • Must have a comparison • At least two groups (often more) that get compared • One groups serves as a control for the other group • Variables • Independent variable - the variable that is manipulated • Dependent variable - the variable that is measured • Control variables - held constant for all participants in the experiment

  8. The experimental method • Advantages • Precise control possible • Precise measurement possible • Theory testing possible • Can make causal claims

  9. The experimental method • Disadvantages • Artificial situations may restrict generalization to “real world” • Complex behaviors may be difficult to measure

  10. Ethical research • Two basic categories of ethical concerns: • need to consider the rights of our participants in our research • need to behave ethically as scientists and practitioners

  11. Ethical research • Consider ethics at each step • What measurement techniques will be used • How are participants selected • What methods may be used on the participant population • What design is appropriate • How are the data analyzed • How are the results reported

  12. Using humans in research • For the most part the researcher has the power: • you know what is going to be done to the participants • participants may feel like they have to do it

  13. APA’s code of ethics • Basic courtesy • Institutional review board approval • Informed consent

  14. Informed consent • Information to allow a person to decide if they want to participate • Basic purpose of the study • Risks involved • Benefits involved • Rights to refuse or terminate participation

  15. APA’s code of ethics • Basic courtesy • Institutional review board approval • Informed consent • Avoiding deception

  16. Using deception in research • Passive deception • Witholding information about the study • Active deception • Deliberately misleading participants

  17. Using deception in research • Avoid it when possible • When not possible – won’t work without it • Make sure that you are up front with all possible risks • Potential results must be worth it • Must debrief participants as soon as possible (either right after participation or as soon as project is over)

  18. Using deception in research • Alternatives to deception • Role-playing • Simulation studies • “honest” experiments

  19. APA’s code of ethics • Basic courtesy • Institutional review board approval • Informed consent • Avoiding deception • Freedom from coercion • Protection from harm

  20. APA’s code of ethics (cont.) • Debriefing • Confidentiality • Costs vs. Benefits

  21. Costs/Benefits analysis • Costs: all potential risks to the participants • Physical harm • Psychological harm • Loss of confidentiality • Benefits: the “good” outcomes • Direct benefits to participants • Benefits to knowledge base • Benefits to world at large

  22. Ethical responsibility to science • Dirty tricks (this will get you thrown out) • Questionable tricks (these are a little fuzzier, but be wary) • Neat tricks (accepted as okay, and sometimes necessary)

  23. Ethical responsibility to science DT • Fabrication of results • Little or no attempt to minimize demand biases • Reformulating your theory as you go • Falsifying credentials • Plagiarism • Little or no attempt to minimize confounds • Deliberately hiding (significant) errors in published work • Little or no attempt to minimize demand characteristics QT NT DT DT QT DT QT

  24. Ethical responsibility to science QT or DT depending on situation (reason for throwing out)?? • Throwing out data • Reorganizing order of report of experiments • Violations of underlying statistical assumptions • Strategic graphing of the data • Duplicate publications (presented as new) • Selective reporting of the results • Leaving out some bad experiments (not bad results) NT QT QT DT QT NT

  25. Using animals in research • Why use animals in research? • Same building blocks (e.g., nervous systems) • Control • often we can’t control the relevant past experiences of our human subjects, but we can with animals • easier to control certain experimental factors with animals • Irreversible and/or harmful effects

  26. Using animals in research • Why use animals in research (cont.)? • Some unique, special characteristics • Simpler systems • May allow you to focus on particular variables (IV’s and DV’s), easier to do the experiment without a lot of complex interactions

  27. Using animals in research • But animals and humans are different • Well, there are strong similarities • evolution - common ancestry - as a result, things may work in similar ways • But, we do need to be aware that there are differences, and always keep that critical eye, think of alternative explanations

  28. Animal ethics: What rights do animals have? • If animals are so similar to humans, then shouldn’t they have similar rights that humans have? Isn’t it unethical to do things to them that we wouldn’t do to ourselves? • There is no simple answer, no clear right or wrong. Each individual must decide for themselves. • However, animal research has certainly helped our (humans) lives

  29. Next time • Exam 1 is one week away. • Review chapters 1,2,3,6, & 7