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Psychological Research

Psychologists use the scientific method to do research that will help them describe, predict, control, and explain behavior and mental processes.

ReliabilityDegree to which test results occur repeatedly
ValidityHow well a test/research method measures what it is supposed to meaure
TheoryFramework for explaining behavior and mental processes
Naturalistic ObservationStudy of behavior in natural settings without interfering
Case StudyIntensive examination of some phenomenon in individuals
SurveyQuestionnaires or interviews designed to describe attitudes, beliefs, and opinions
VariablesResearch factors that can differ (take on different values)
ExperimentSituation where a researcher manipulates or controls variables
Independent variableVariable manipulated by the researher
Dependent variableFactor affected by the independent variable
Experimental groupGroup that gets the treatment
Control groupGroup that receives no treatment
HypothesisA testable prediction about a phenomenon
PlaceboPhysical or psychological "treatments" with no active ingredient
Random variableUncontrollable factors that confound an experiment
Random assignmentPlacing subjects randomly into experimental or control groups
SamplingProcess of selecting subjects who are members of a population being studied
Experimentor biasWhen experimentor unintentionally encourages participants to respond in a way that supports the hypothesis
Random sampleSubjects selected from a population that had an equal chance of being chosen
DataNumbers that represent research findings

Gail A. Rothman-Marshall

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