The purpose of the second written assignment is to continue your practice at your scientific thinking about psychological issues. We will ask you to read another research description and: (1) think about how the principles of scientific thinking and warning signs of pseudoscience apply to it, as you did for the first assignment, but also (2) critique the research methods used in the research description.For the first part of the written assignment, you should analyze the claims being madeaccording to 1 of the 6 principles of scientific thinking and 1 of the 3 warning signs related to pseudoscientific claims (see Written Assignment 1 for a list of these). You should use the feedback provided for your Written Assignment 1 to help write this section. It is up to you to select the most relevant principles but in every case, if you think the research description does a good job of following one of the principles, provide a detailed response as to why you think that. If you think the research description does not do a good job of following one of the principles, provide a comprehensive answer and also say what would need to be done to make sure the research description follows the principle.For the second part of the written assignment, analyze the research description and the claims it makes in relation to 2 different aspects of the research methods discussed in class and/or in Lilienfeld et al. in Chapter 2. In the lecture and textbook, a number of issues related to research methods have been discussed. Below are some examples of things you might look for in the research description. Remember though that not every point will relate to the research description.(1)Reactivity – refers to the often-social nature of data collection in psychology and how the act of observation might impact the data. I If participants react to being observed, then researchers may no longer be observing the kind of behaviour that they really wanted to observe.(2)Social desirability bias/positive impression management this refers to the possibility that people may not always tell the truth when asked questions, or may attempt to improve their performance on a task to impress the experimenter.In other words, is it possible that participants in the research description gave untruthful answers in response to questions in order to look good? Alternatively, do you think participants in a study may have tried extra hard at something in order to impress the experimenter? If so, perhaps the experimenters will obtain results that wont reflect peoples behaviour outside of their specific study.(3)Unrepresentative or biased sample this refers to the possibility that the sample of participants in the research description may not reflect the full range ofpeople about whom we are interested in making conclusions (i.e. the population).In other words, is it possible that the researchers studied only a small and/or biased sample of people? Was there something about the sample of people that made them different from the general population of people? If so, try to think about how the biased sample may have affected the results that the researchers found
(4)Confounding variables when conducting an experiment, a confounding variable is something that systematically differs between the experimental and control groups, which confounds (or confuses) our interpretation of the study. In other words, the presence of a confounding variable means that we cant be surewhether the independent variable (the thing we deliberately manipulated betweenthe experimental and control groups) or the confounding variable (something thatalso varies between the experimental and control groups, but which we did not mean to vary) is responsible for the results of the study. If the research description describes an experiment, does that experiment contain a confoundingvariable? If it does, could the confounding variable be an alternative explanation for the results of the study?(5)Lack of a control group remember that in an experiment, we create an experimental group for whom we have manipulated an independent variable (e.g.we increase the amount of violent TV a group of children watches) to try to determine the effect of the independent variable on the dependent variable (e.g. we look to see if watching more violent TV increases aggression in this group of children). However, we also need to study a control group for whom the independent variable has not been manipulated (in this case, a group of children who do not watch more violent TV than usual). It is the comparison of the experimental group with the control group that tells us the effect of the manipulation of the independent variable.(6)Validity of the measures this refers to the idea that even though we might have a measure that is highly reliable (i.e., a set of weighing scales) this measurewould be inappropriate for measuring certain psychological characteristics (for example, intelligence or perfectionism). The degree of validity then is the degree to which the measure we are using has some relationship with the thing we are trying to measure.(7)Ethics There are many issues surrounding ethics and the study of human (andanimal) behavior. One of the key features is to safe-guard the well-being and dignity of the individuals taking part in the investigation. This includes making sure the individual has the opportunity to provide voluntary informed consent, hasthe right to withdraw from the investigation and is fully debriefed as to the nature and purpose of the investigation after data collection.Apply two aspects of research methods to the research description. When you identify flaws in the research methodology, provide a comprehensive explanation of the flaw and also say what would need to be done to improve the research methodology in the research description
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