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    Research methods

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    1. Discuss the meaning of â??science of
    psychology.� (In other words, why do we
    consider psychology to be a science instead
    of a nonscientific discipline? What criteria
    does a discipline have to meet in order to be
    considered science?)

    2.Explain the scientific method.

    3.Distinguish between qualitative and
    quantitative data; provide specific examples of
    each. (The best examples will relate to
    psychology research.)

    4.Describe the process of scientific theory
    construction and testing. (Be careful to not
    confuse theory construction and testing with
    hypothesis construction and testing.)

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    Solution Preview

    When we talk about science, we can easily think about physics, chemistry, and biology, because we know that scientists propose hypotheses and these hypotheses will be tested through rigorously designed experiments. Research inquiry in social sciences, education, and psychology should be rigorous, and therefore, needs to be scientific as well. This includes:

    1. Research questions should be well supported by evidence and evidence needs to be meaningful and trustworthy.
    2. Research or hypothesis testing should be carefully designed to rule out alternative explanations, and
    3. The connections built between evidence and conclusions should be valid and reasonable.

    For instance, if you need to find out whether or not providing students some metacognitive prompts immediately before reading can improve their reading comprehension, how would you like to set up an experiment to test this hypothesis (suppose you have a set of metacognitive prompts and you know that high school students usually take 30 minutes to review and contemplate these prompts)? Let?s say, you have two options:

    Option 1: you recruit 80 high school students, and you randomly assign them into two groups ? treatment vs. control group. Each group has 40 participants. Then, in the control group, you present a reading material introducing American history and give your participants 30 minutes to read it. Then you test their reading comprehension through 10 multiple-choice questions. In the treatment group, you present the same reading material and the same multiple-choice questions. But you ask the participants to contemplate the metacognitive prompts before they start reading. The design can be illustrated as:

    Control: 1. read 2. test
    Treatment: 1. prompts 2. ...

    Solution Summary

    The solution provides comprehensive information,discussion and insight to help students tackle methods and theory in psychological research in order to answer the task (see above).