Research Basics of Psychology

Research Basics

Orientation to the Study of Psychology

Fall 2016

Rachel Pauletti, Ph.D.

The Scientific Method

Identify the problem

Make hypotheses

Collect data (we’re focusing here today)

Analyze data

Form reasonable conclusion based on data

Share your findings

Study Design

One important step in the scientific method is collecting data There are about 100 different ways to do this The design must make sense for your research question

Today, we’ll focus on two major types of study designs



Correlational research

Observing relationships between variables as they naturally occur

The hypothesis is about what that relationship will look like Strong or weak?

Do the variables move in the same direction or the opposite direction?

Several methods used


Natural observation

Problems with Correlations (Cont.)

Can’t tell which variable comes “first” (which variable causes which)

Work Hours  Friendliness?

Friendliness  Work Hours?

Or whether the variables are causing each other at all

Rape  ice cream sales?

The third variable may be influencing both variables


Drawing from a large, random sample of individuals and asking them questions on their behaviors, thoughts, or feelings

Usually self-report