The application of scientific methodology in psychology

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The application of scientific methodology in psychology by Mind Map: The application of scientific methodology in psychology

1. Features of science

1.1. Science is concerned with a body of systematic knowledge that covers general truths and general principles and laws

1.2. Characteristics of science

1.2.1. Objectivity

1.2.1.1. Not biased by personal prejudice, opinion or emotion

1.2.1.2. Some critics claim that it is impossible to be truly objective

1.2.2. Replicability ensured through peer review

1.2.3. Empiricism

1.2.3.1. Evidence from experiments rather than intuition

1.3. Different types of Non-science

1.3.1. Commonsense

1.3.1.1. Explanations which we develop from our experiences, so they rely on intuition

1.3.1.2. Tend to be based on a limited amount of information

1.3.1.3. Usually accepted at face value to rarely tested

1.3.2. Belief based

1.3.2.1. Can be based on little or no evidence

1.3.2.2. They tend to be accepted because they are consistent with religious, political or personal beliefs

1.3.3. Pseudoscience

1.3.3.1. Presented as being scientific but it is not

1.3.3.2. Ideas are vague or not easily reproduced

1.3.3.3. Conflicting evidence is minimised or explained away

1.3.3.4. Tends to be published on non-scientific sources i.e. internet

2. The scientific process

2.1. The scientific method

2.1.1. Traditionally scientists have gathered data using empirical methods, then use deduction to develop theories

2.1.1.1. Only explains existing data

2.1.1.2. makes no predictions about what will be found

2.1.1.3. Studies people in unnatural conditions and Ps are treat as passive

2.1.2. Hypothetic-deductive method

2.1.2.1. Identify a problem or area which needs to be researched

2.1.2.2. Develop a hypothesis (this should be predictive)

2.1.2.3. Devise a study to test the hypothesis

2.1.2.4. Analyse and evaluate the results - do they support the hypothesis?

2.1.2.5. Modify and repeat the study

2.1.2.6. Develop a theory

2.1.2.7. It attempts to prove a theory false so that when/if it stands up to falsifiability, the theory is strengthened

2.1.2.8. Idealised version of how science should progress because scientists will cling to theories even if contradictory evidence emerges

2.2. The role of paradigms

2.2.1. A paradigm is a shared/popular view or approach which dominates the science

2.2.1.1. These assumptions limit and define the types of questions that scientists ask

2.2.2. However if contradictory evidence appears, some scientists may begin to question the established, dominant paradigm

2.2.2.1. Sooner or later a new theory or approach will be put forward (revolutions)

2.2.2.2. It can be difficult to introduce new ideas to the paradigm since it can be seen as an attack

2.3. Alternatives to the scientific approach

2.3.1. Feminist psychology

2.3.1.1. focus on the relationship between researcher and the researched (more collaborative)

2.3.2. Postmodern psychology

2.3.2.1. Knowledge is a social construct that is subjective and is shaped by the language used to describe it and cultural context

2.3.3. New paradigm research

2.3.3.1. Tries to understand the subjective world of the participant - values emotion

2.3.3.2. Studies more complex data that cannot be reduced down to numbers (qualitative rather than quantitative)

2.3.3.2.1. In depth interview, written material

2.3.3.3. Regards Ps as active collaborators

2.3.4. Psychologists can use the conventional and new paradigm where appropriate

3. Validating new knowledge

3.1. New knowledge only becomes public knowledge when it is published in a journal or presented at a conference

3.1.1. Until this happens, other researchers cannot further this research or review it

3.1.2. Publication is the ultimate goal of any researcher

3.2. Researcher prepares a manuscript and sends it to a journal

3.2.1. What is a journal?

3.2.1.1. Periodic publications that build into yearly volumes and are kept in libraries - this becomes part of a permanent scientific record

3.2.1.2. They can be general or specific to an area of a specific field

3.3. Publishers send the manuscript to other psychologists who are experts in the topic who conduct peer review

3.4. The peer reviewers read the manuscript carefully and assess all aspects of it. They send it back with comments and recommendations about its suitability for publication

3.5. Editor then decides whether to publish it or not

3.6. Issues with peer review

3.6.1. Peer review is a process which ensures that only high quality research is published, it is central to validating new knowledge

3.6.2. Peer review has failed to detect fraudulent research including fabrication, falsification and plagiarism

3.6.3. Most findings build on previous knowledge or theory, research that does not 'fit' with previous work is seen as suspect and can be rejected - maintains status quo and can slow the revolutions of the paradigm

3.6.4. If the reviewer has the same opinions and beliefs, the research can be published as objective rather than subjective

3.6.5. The reviewer's theoretical view may differ from that in the manuscript so they may not look favourably upon it

3.6.5.1. Evidence of institution bias and gender bias in peer review

3.6.6. File drawer phenomenon: peer review tends to favour positive results, many negative results are not published - this can distort our understanding of the topic