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Flashcards in The Scientific method Deck (13)
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What 5 things does the scientific method claim to be based upon?

Empirical methods
Theory construction
Hypothesis testing


Explain Empirical methods

> Information is gained through direct observation or experiment rather than by reasoned arguments in unfounded beliefs
> Scientific research aims to collect facts
> People can make claims to anything but the only way we know something to be true is through direct testing, i.e. empirical methods


Explain objectvitiy

> Empirical data should be objective, i.e. not affected by the expectations of the researcher. Systematic collection of measurable data is at the heart of the scientific method
> In order to be objective, the ideal is to carefully control conditions in which research is conducted, i.e. lab studies (best means of conducting scientific research)


Explain Replicability

> Repeating an experiment affirms the truth of the original results
> Scientists should record their procedures in detail so others can verify their results


Explain Theory construction

> A theory is a collection of general principles that explain observations and facts
> Theories can help us understand and predict the natural phenomena around us


Explain hypothesis testing

> Process used to modify theories - tests its validity
> Using methods such as - the scientific process: knowledge can be acquired through INDUCTION OR DEDUCTION


Explain the process of Induction (hypothesis testing)

Observations -> testable hypothesis -> Conduct study to test hypothesis -> Draw conclusions -> Propose theory

> Reasoning from the particular to the general
> E.g. Newton - observed the behaviour of physical objects and produced laws that made sense of what he observed


Explain the process of Deduction (Hypothesis testing)

Observations -> Propose theory -> Testable hypothesis -> conduct a study to test the hypothesis -> Draw conclusions

>Involves reasoning from the general to the particular
> Starting with a theory then look for evidence to prove it
> E.g. Darwin formulated a theory then specifically sought to collect data to prove it


What did Popper believer about the deductive method?

Popper (1935) believed that the deductive method was the best one to take because this involves proposing a theory then seeking evidence to either support or contradict their theory, Popper argued that this allows researchers to seek falsification which allow them to show that a theory has been tested properly. In short, researchers should actively search for ways to disprove their theory - if it is easy to disprove then the theory is altered and re-tested. If the theory is difficult to disprove... its a good theory.


Evaluate the Scientific method using
'Can psychology claim to be a science?'

Scientific research is desirable:
> Enables psychologists to produce verifiable
knowledge about behaviour as distinct from
common sense
> Enables proof for Theories
Psychology uses the scientific method:
> Most psychologists generate models that can be
falsified and conduct well-controlled experiments to
test these models
> Miller (1983) 'Psychologists who claim to be
scientists are merely dressing up.'
> Arguably, using quantified measurements and
statistical analysis does not make it a science
> Pseudoscience - but a dangerous one as
psychologists claim their discoveries to be fact


Evaluate the Scientific method using
'Are the goals of science appropriate for psychology?'

Nomothetic vs. Idiographic
> Laing claims that treatment only succeeds if each
patient was treated as an individual case (The
idiographic approach).
> Science takes the nomothetic approach, looking to
make generalisations about people and find
Scientific methods haven't worked
> Psychological approaches to treating mental illness
have had, at best, modest success, suggesting the
goals of science are not always appropriate
Qualitative research
> Still scientific data as it aims to be valid
> Using content analysis data can be triangulated
and distributed as fact


Bordens and Abbott suggested there are three ways of explaining human behaviour that we need t be careful not to confuse with scientific explanations. What are they?

1. Common Sense
2. Belief-based
3. Pseudo-Science


Define Falsifiability

The possibility to prove a theory is incorrect. You can prove the validity of a theory by disproving it.
> The ability to eliminate your null hypothesis and therefore accept your alternative