Understanding the Research Process

Understanding the Research Process
Resources: Ch. 1, 2, and & 7 of Psychology
This assignment will provide you with the opportunity to practice and hone your research skills. It has been designed to help you think scientifically about real world problems and issues and to apply your knowledge of the research process to various topics in Psychology. This assignment accomplishes that goal by challenging you to:
• Differentiate between the common use of the word research and the use of the word research in the social and behavioral sciences.
• Identify the major steps in the research process using a classic study in Psychology as an example.
Part I: Defining Research
The word research is used in many different ways. Consider the following examples:
• Your friend tells you that he intends to research different hair products before deciding on one to buy.
• A real estate agent advises you to research home values in your neighborhood before putting your house on the market.
• A police officer reports that she is doing ‘some research’ on possible motives for a crime that was committed.
• A writer states that he does ‘extensive research’ before beginning his fictional works.
Answer the questions below:
1. How is research defined in the social and behavioral sciences?

2. What makes scientific research different from the examples provided above? In your response, be sure to address the characteristics of ‘good’ psychological research.

Part II: Understanding the research process
Researchers in Psychology follow a systematic process of investigation. Carefully read Chapter 2 of your textbook, paying special attention to the section on Experimental Research. Then go to Chapter 7 in your textbook and read the following section: Research In-Depth: Counterfactuals and “If Only…” Thinking. Answer the questions below, using Medvec & colleagues’ first study as an example:
1. What hypothesis did Medvec & colleagues set out to test in their first study of the ‘near miss’ phenomenon? Describe the theory associated with this hypothesis.

2. Identify the variables in the study and describe how they were measured. How did the researchers operationalize (test or measure) affective response upon winning a bronze or silver medal?

3. Who were the participants in the study and what did they do?

4. Describe the data that was collected and analyzed.

5. Describe the results of the study. What did the researchers conclude?

6. If you were to design a follow-up experiment on this subject, what might it be?

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