Research Design & Analysis 1:
Class 4 (Section A)
– lab due dates
– new lab section
• Asking questions (Lab assignment)
• Introduction to non-experimental research methods
New Lab Section
We have added a new section PSYC2010 LC1
Starting this week
Please (some of you) move to this section...
The Sensory Motor Instructional Leadership Experience (SMILE) Program is in its seventeenth
year of operation. In the past, Acadia students from every faculty on campus have
volunteered to give instruction in physical activity to children with "special needs" in Kings
County on a weekly basis. The instructor/child ratio is one-to-one and the experience has
been a very positive one for all involved. Last term over 200 Acadia students provided
instruction for 180 children every week.
AN ORIENTATION MEETING WILL BE HELD ON
Thursday, September 23rd, 1999 at 6:00 p.m.
• Overall scientific purpose - to build knowledge base.
• Knowledge base built by research.
• Best research - scientific method.
• Scientific method is carried out in steps called the “Research Process.”
• Empirical - based on objective observations that are verifiable by others
• Rational - follows rules of logic and consistent with known facts (data)
• Testable - through direct observations of from specific predictions
• General (ideally)
• Rigorously evaluated
Is it a good (scientific) question?
The “ROTI” Test
• Is it Repeatable (replicable)?
• Is it Observable (empirical)?
• Is it Testable (falsifiable)?
• Is it Important?
– Does it make a contribution?
Is this a good question?
• Are there racial differences in the size of newborn male penises?
Turning questions into hypotheses
• Hypotheses are falsifiable statements
– Poperian Science
• Make best guess
– H0 (Null) vs Hexp (Experimental hypotheses)
• State the nature of the relationship between two (or more) variables
• State expected difference between two (or more) groups
– directional or non-directional
Choosing a research design
Causal vs correlational relationships
While correlation doesn't imply causation, causation does imply
Introduction to scientific methods: Non-experimental
• characteristics of non-experimental research
• types of non-experimental research
• what you can learn from these methods
Characteristics of non-experimental research
• Observe but don’t manipulate
• Lack of control over extraneous variables
Extraneous variables: not directly interested in but which might influence
the results of your study
Types of non-experimental research
• Observational research
– naturalistic observation
– participant observation
• (e.g., Rosenham, 1973)
– content analysis
• Archival research
• Survey research
What you can determine/learn
• Co-occurrence of variables
• Ability to make predictions
– predict criterion variable from predictor variable
• Causality still unknown
What you cannot determine
If there is a causal relationship between variables
• third variable problem
– number of appliances and children
– male pattern baldness and heart disease
• directionality problem
– health and lice (New Hebrides)
– watching TV violence and aggression
Why use these designs?
• Can be useful in early stages of a research program
• Interested in relation among variables in the “real world”
• Only interested in predicting behaviour (vs. understanding causal
• Experimental methods not possible
– Organismic variables
Correlations and Regressions
Can use correlation/regression with either manipulated predictor variables
or natural variation.
Correlational statistics can be applied to any type of design (including
Correlational design occurs when we do not randomly assign participants
to the level of either variable - i.e., levels of variables are not
• Measure the direction and degree of association.
• But can’t infer causality due to
– directionality problem
– 3rd variable problem
Drawing conclusions from correlational designs
Have concerns with directionality, and there are usually many potential
confounds (uncontrolled extraneous variables - the 3rd variable problem)
Causality can not be inferred
Correlational designs can be used to:
– discover relations
– to solve ethical and practical problems
– to provide greater external/ecological validity