Ethical boards are in place to evaluate the ethical feasibility of a study by weighing the possible negative effects against the possible positive effects of the research project (Barret, 2006). When designing your research project, it could be that you need to apply for ethical approval. This is a challenging task as there are strict guidelines to abide to when drawing up a proposal. This is where your supervisor can help – with their experience, they have a clear idea of what would be accepted for someone applying for ethical approval for an undergraduate or master study. There is a great importance to abiding by ethics, in research and in practice.The importance lies in the fact that care is taken for the participant, researcher and wider society. It creates a filter for good standard of research with as minimal harm being done as possible. Continue reading
Every scientific discipline is determined by the object of measurement and the selection of appropriate methods of data collection and statistical analysis. Faulty methodology can lead to incorrect information in the results, without the researcher being aware of this. Taking incorrect knowledge as correct into account while conducting further research has far-reaching negative consequences. One of these errors present, to some degree, in every single research is bias. It is a particularly dangerous one, because it usually goes undetected by the researcher. But if you are aware of its threat there are ways to avoid it. In research, it occurs when systematic error is introduced into sampling or testing by selecting or encouraging one outcome or answer over others. It comes in numerous ways and forms. The rest of this post will focus on causes of bias in the field of gender studies.
This post will talk about the pros and cons of a few selected providers of online survey services and may help you find the best survey service provider for your research purposes. With the information given in this post, your future data collections will become much easier due to the overview of survey providers for quantitative research you will receive. After giving you an insight into the diversity of survey tools and the general features they provide, four of the best featured and most frequently used survey tool providers will be presented in greater detail.
Psychology is defined to students as the scientific study of human behaviour. However, when the American Psychological Association surveyed 1,000 adult members of the public, 70% did not agree with the statement, ‘psychology attempts to understand the way people behave through scientific research’ (Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates, 2008, p. 29). Lay people deny, what is to those within psychology, an undeniable fact: that psychology aims to test theory-grounded hypotheses in an objective, replicable and empirical manner – and is therefore scientific. Recently, psychologists have investigated the reasons for such a divide between expert and novice views of the field. In doing so, they have uncovered how lay people evaluate whether a subject deserves the scientific stamp of approval. Continue reading
Imagine a task that is simple for a human and difficult for a computer. For example, recognizing if a photograph contains a cat or a dog is a straightforward task even for a few months old child (Quinn & Eimas, 1996), but extremely difficult, if not impossible, for a computer (Shotton et al., 2006) because the two are quite similar in terms of shape. In order to capitalize on human’s superiority over computers in some kind of tasks, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) came up with a platform called Amazon Mechanical Turk (https://www.mturk.com/mturk/welcome), where it is possible to ask human workers to complete HITs – Human Intelligence Tasks.
Many psychology students find themselves in a situation where their research did not yield any significant results. This can be immensely frustrating since they have put a lot of time and effort into designing the study, as well as in collecting and analyzing the data. In some cases, be it out of desperation or pressure to publish interesting findings, certain students will effectively “hunt” for results by conducting statistical tests on all possible variable combinations. For instance, after noticing that a hypothesized correlation between two variables proved to be non-significant, a student might create a correlation matrix of all continuous variables of her study and hope for at least one pair to be significantly related to each other. Other students might include one, two, or even more covariates in their analysis of variance (turning it into an ANCOVA), thereby hoping that the interaction they initially hypothesized between their key factors will become significant.
The overarching point of this article will be to convey that behavioural psychology may be out-of-fashion, but still has many things to contribute to modern psychology.
All science is ultimately born of philosophy (see Pepper, 1942) and therefore there is no reason why this science should play second fiddle to any other. However, in the rat race to make strides in the science of behaviour, principles of science are often discarded in favour of convenience. The dominant school of thought in psychology at present is cognitivism. This school adopts a predominantly top-down approach to psychology. This involves simplifying phenomena into their perceived component parts, in order to study them. This phenomenon may constitute a set back for the way research is conducted and human behavior ultimately conceptualized. Allow me to illustrate why this is a problem.
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The topic of this bulletin arose from a talk given by Dr. Anna Bagnoli, who had used a variety of visual methods in addition to verbal interviews in order to holistically study young people’s identities. Intrigued by the question of how such data could be collected and analysed to contribute to understandings of psychological topics, the author of this post recently carried out an interview with Dr. Bagnoli on behalf of the Open University Psychological Society (Rouse, 2013). In this bulletin post the author will share what she has learnt from this interview and by researching the use of visual methods to explore experience and meaning.
Some of you might have asked themselves this question a couple of times when checking out the literature of a specific field. Imagine the following situation: You have completed your research and now you want to compare your results to research done previously. You finally found the suitable article, have the necessary effect sizes/power and can start comparing. But wait: Who actually tells you that the reported results are correct? Would you happen to notice if the results had been influenced by factors which are sometimes not even visible to the authors themselves? The probability of you detecting them, are tiny, especially as you only have certain information of how the study has been done and what elements have been removed. It is hard to digest, but most research findings, even those reported in high quality journals, are incorrect. Try to imagine the impact this situation has on your education and your research such as research in general.
In the following post I want to discuss multiple factors of why and how research results can be false and want to outline some aspects of how the situation might be improved. The main aspects are thereby retrieved from Ioannidis essay (2005). Continue reading
The past couple of years have been somewhat tumultuous for psychology. With the revelation of several high profile cases of fraud, the field has come under scrutiny, not least from psychologists themselves. Most notably, Simmons, Nelson and Simonsohn (2011) showed how the amount of possible decisions in the research process and flexibility researchers normally have can make finding significant findings increasingly likely (see their paper for recommendations to counteract this). It is likely that there are many cases of false positives (or Type 1 error) in the psychological literature (and other bodies of literature). Such errors in the literature, whether resulting from fraud or cultural norms in research practice, are difficult to remove due to the combination of the reluctance of journals to publish exact replications (see previous post on publication bias) and the reluctance of journals to publish null results (which exacerbates the file drawer effect). Thankfully, some initiatives have been established to counter this risk to the credibility of psychology in the form of systematic efforts at carrying out and publishing replications. However, negative attitudes towards replication remain. Many established researchers do not see any incentive in replication (Makel, Plucker & Hegarty, 2012). It is a waste of time that could be spent on their own projects and is perceived as more likely to cause frustration in their colleagues then be rewarded with a publication. This is where you, the students, can step in. Carrying out a replication is a great way for a student to hone his or her research skills, while providing a valuable service to psychology. Before exploring the role students could have in this issue, let’s examine exactly what replication is, the situation of replication in psychology currently, and the efforts that have been made to advocate for it.