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Flashcards in The Scientific method Deck (13)
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1

What 5 things does the scientific method claim to be based upon?

Empirical methods
Objectivity
Replicability
Theory construction
Hypothesis testing

2

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

3

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)

4

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

5

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

6

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

7

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

8

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

9

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.

10

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
However...
> 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

11

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
similarities
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

12

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

13

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