Methods and Techniques of Research
Full course description
Knowledge acquisition requires research. Because of this, research plays an important role in psychology. In this course, students will learn the most important steps for good research. First, students will learn about the empirical cycle. Good research starts with a theory, from which hypotheses are derived. These hypotheses are tested through experimentation or observations. Results are then compared to the theory: Is the theory supported or should it be adjusted, or even dismissed?
Measuring instruments (such as questionnaires or behaviour observations) are also important for conducting research: they need to be reliable and valid. That is, they need to actually measure what is intended, and do so consistently.
There are different types of research: you can describe a variable or investigate how two variables relate to each other. This relationship can be represented graphically and you can statistically calculate the strength of the relationship, using correlation or linear regression for example.
Moreover, if you want to know what the cause is and what the effect, you have to manipulate a variable in a true experiment and assess the effects on your dependent variable.
To give an example, imagine that results of a study show that drug users are on average, more impulsive; does this mean that impulsive people are more inclined to use drugs or does one become impulsive due to the use of drugs? In this course, students will learn how to examine such matters.
Of course, research should preferably be conducted as much controlled as possible and alternative explanations should be excluded. To this end, it is important to use a good research design including a control group for example.
- name and explain different research designs, such as between-subjects designs, within-subjects designs, quasi-experimental designs, and factorial designs;
- name and reflect on important aspects of scientific research, such as different types of arguments, scientific theory, ethics in research, questionnaires, selection of participants, reliability, and validity;
- name various statistical analysis techniques, such as correlation, linear regression, associations, as well as causality, and can explain when application of these techniques is appropriate;
- describe the empirical cycle of scientific research and its elements;
- name and explain various types of research, such as observational research and experimental research.