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PSYC2001 Introductory Psychology (Gritz): Analyzing and Interpreting

Concepts and Terms

Elements of an Experiment

  • Hypothesis
  • Operational definitions
  • Variables

Evaluating the Experiment

  • Reliability
  • Validity
  • Theory
  • Law of Parsimony
  • Observational methods
    • Naturalistic observation
  • Case studies
  • Surveys
  • Correlational studies
    • Correlation
    • Causation
  • Experiment variables
    • Independent variable
    • Dependent variable
    • Random variable
    • Confounding variable
  • Experimental group
    • Control group
    • Random assignment
  • Placebo
    • Placebo effect
  • Experiment design & sampling
    • Experimenter bias
    • Double-blind design
    • Sampling
    • Random sample
    • Biased sample
    • Represenatative sample

Analyzing the Topic

Things to consider when researching to present your topic:

  • What are the basic theories associated with it?
  • Is there a person who founded the idea or school of thought?
  • For studies on the topic:
    • What is the sample size?
    • What demographic group is being studied? (Men? Women? Adults? Children? A specific ethnic group?)
    • Were the results statistically significant?
    • Was there a pattern that was observed?
    • If looking at multiple studies: Do the results of each study confirm or contradict each other?
  • Is there a specific process being discussed? How does it work?
  • For experiential activities:
    • Keep it simple/law of parsimony

Applying Critical Thinking to Analysis of a Psychological Study:

  • What am I being asked to believe or accept?
  • Is evidence available to support the claim?
  • Can that evidence be interpreted another way?
  • What evidence would help to evaluate the alternatives?
  • What conclusions are most reasonable?

Bernstein, Douglas A. Essentials of Psychology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2011. Print.