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The Fundamentals Of Research Methodology Essay

1286 words - 6 pages


The Fundamentals of Research Methodology
Jonathan S. Carlson
University of Phoenix

The Fundamentals of Research Methodology
In today’s internet age, research has taken on new developments. Electronic data bases full of journals and search engines allow an individual to peruse millions of pages of written material for specific information in a matter of minutes. Despite the growing ability to sift through information, the scientific method is still the premier method for doing science. The purpose of this paper is to give a brief explanation of psychology as a science, illustrate the scientific method, briefly distinguish ...view middle of the document...

Psychologist, as with other scientific disciplines, would form a theory and then construct a hypothesis. In order to form a theory or a hypothesis, a psychologist would need to research the literature and form an operational definition based upon the psychologist’s theory. For example, with regard to impulsivity and alcoholism, both terms would need to be clearly defined. More specifically, the variable that needs a specific definition is impulsivity. After an operational definition is formed, then a hypothesis can be generated. As a simple example in reference to impulsivity and alcoholism, a potential hypothesis might be: an individual’s impulsivity is directly proportional to future alcoholism. To determine if this hypothesis is true and be used to predict future alcoholism, data would need to be collected. A particular population sample would need to be targeted that is relevant to the hypothesis. Furthermore, a method would need to determine to illicit information from the sample population in reference to the hypothesis. For example, a test could be formulated that measures the level of impulsivity of an individual then given to a sample population of alcoholics. If the alcoholics all score high on the test for impulsivity, then the hypothesis might be proven. The data would be analyzed and if it showed that the level of impulsivity is proportional to alcoholism, then the psychologist might conclude that the hypothesis was shown to be correct. In addition, the hypothesis might apply to a broader theory about alcoholic predispositions. The process illustrated here, represents psychology as a science and the investigation of inquiries into thought and behavior as a scientific discipline using the scientific method. The scientific method involves a process of asking questions, developing a theory, testing an aspect of that theory based upon a hypothesis, collecting and analyzing data, and drawing a conclusion. Most notably, Wilhelm Wundt, often regarded as the father modern psychology, ushered in a new era of psychology by showing that mental processes could be studied quantitatively (Santrok).
Psychologists as mathematicians
“Quantitative research refers to studies in which the findings are mainly the product of statistical summary and analysis” (Shaugnessy, Zechmeister, & Zechmeister, 2005). In contrast, “qualitative research produces verbal summaries of research findings with no statistical summaries or analysis” (Shaugnessy et al.). More important, most psychologists use quantitative data to express relationships between quantities. The Pearson correlation coefficient is used to express the relationship between two variables. In addition, the Pearson correlation coefficient can be used to established aspects of validity and reliability for a given measurement. Furthermore, statistical distributions of data can be very useful in categorizing a behavior in comparison to the norm. Many different types of data collecting...

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