According to the course syllabus we were introduced to the techniques of psychological research. This course was able to provide an understanding of how research is done, and what methods we can use to do so. By having a clear understanding of research and techniques used, it allows us to communicate effectively in regards to ideas behind the research process. In this paper, I will use myself as the case study to examine exactly what I learned about research. In the field of mental health, professionals must be constantly looking for ways to help their patients. (Cozby & Bates 2012). When dealing with research, it allows us to explore valuable information that has been researched before. By understanding the value of research or ways to interpret, it helps you decide the legitimacy of your research and how to apply it while other methods may rely on personal experiences or feelings. By knowing the value of the scientific method, this allows us to hold our information to possibly a higher standard. Ideas are looked at logically and others, to ensure validity, interpret conclusions. (Cozby & Bates 2012).
After gaining a clear understanding in regards to research, I’ve learned that it’s not necessarily what we find out from research but, where we gathered the information. We always need to be concerned with how we went about finding the information. With all information gathered, we must also gather participants. It is important to gather all participants to find the most accurate results, as well as ensuring equal treatment of all participants. One major step to ensure proper treatment is to gather informed consent. By doing so, this allows all participants to understand all parts of research that may affect their decision in participating. This obviously doesn’t indicate that we have given full disclosure, so that it doesn’t affect our end results. A safeguard is put in place to protect participants which is called the Institutional Review Board.
This board is put in place to protect the participants’ privacy and confidentiality. This can be achieved through anonymous questionnaire, or coding of answers to protect privacy. (Cozby & Bates, 2012). Not only is this board put in place for the protection of people, but also for animals. Another major ethical portion of research is to understand fraud and plagiarism. Some may falsify their findings to indicate a result completely different from their research which is fraud. One thing to consider that may be beneficial is peer review, which can help prevent fraud. The findings should be replicated by others to ensure the results are valid. As long as credit is given when using someone else’s research, it is not considered fraud or plagiarism.
Fundamental Research Issues and Measure Concepts
In research, there are several variables that can change depending on the circumstances. Coming up with an operational definition of those variables ensures that all reading the research understand “the procedures used to measure or manipulate” them. (Cozby & Bates, 2012). When we’re looking at more than one variable, we must be concerned with how the variables relate to each other. These relationships can be defined as negative linear, positive linear, curvilinear, or no relationship. The two ways we can study these relationships are through non experimental and experimental methods. Non experimental does not involve any direct manipulation of the variables as opposed to experimental which involves direct manipulation to see results. Reliability is so important because it ensures the most accurate results as possible.
You can then use a test-retest, you can give the test twice and judge based on the similarity of results. (Cozby & Bates, 2012) Once a method can be determined and results are attained, we must look for the internal and external validity. Internal validity will occur when we are certain that the changes seen directly the result of the relationship between variables. The certainty is greater when care has been taken to exclude any other possible causes for the changes in variables. (Cozby & Bates, 2012). If the research can be repeated in a different setting and the same results still apply, the external validity is high. (Cozby & Bates, 2012) When working with research, we must be sure that our methods are accurate in order to trust our results.
Observational Methods and Survey Research
When referring to research, no matter what research method you chose, an observation will take place. When focusing on quantitative research, quantitative research allows many participants to be involved. When using this type of research, it allows the results to effect a greater population. Qualitative involves a broader investigation with fewer subjects in a natural setting, more of an observational method. (Cozby & Bates, 2012). One method that I have learned during this course is a case study. This begins with an observational method that provides a description of an individual. (Cozby & Bates, 2012).
Experimental Design and Conducting Experiments
After doing my own testing and observation, I have found that cofounding variables are something we want to eliminate. Cofounding variables can alter your results and undermine all of your research. A way to eliminate this would be random assignment of participants. Using the pre-test-post-test design helps to ensure the introduction of the independent variable is responsible for any change to the dependent variable. (Cozby & Bates, 2012). Self-reports are definitely some ways to measure the variable and are done by the participants. Research can cost a sufficient amount of money and may require a lot of your time; therefore a case study may be beneficial before beginning an entire research study.
Now all has been heard: here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandment for this is the duty of all mankind. (Ecclesiastes 12:13). By doing so, we follow Gods plan and his word. Sometimes we may not always understand all things, but that definitely doesn’t mean God has the information concealed. I believe that discovery is more of a reward for those who seek him. This course has allowed me to understand the importance of research, how to accurately interpret research and how to protect the individuals that are involved. “It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings to search things out”. (Proverbs 25:2) This verse is definitely an example in reference to research and whether or not scripture supports it.
My understanding of the verse is that it is important to research a topic biblically as opposed to the secular world, if we refer to scripture with every issue we can find the true meaning and validity to daily living as Christians we are looking for. Overall this course has allowed me to gain clear knowledge of research as well as determine the validity. I have learned that research may have potential holes and cofounding variables so understanding research is extremely important to understand. I have learned different research methods and what methods are best for each individual situation. I have been able to understand research and the ethically aspect of research, but most importantly an understanding of research from a biblical standpoint. Research is important, and we all need research when it is done appropriately. As long as we put God first and refer to scripture for daily living, it will make the research process a lot easier.
Cozby, Paul. C., Bates, Scott. C. (2012). Methods in Behavioral Research (11th ed). New York, NY:McHraw-Hill The Holy Bible: New King James Version. (2010).
McLeod, S. A. (2008) Case Study Method. Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/case-study.html
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