Why Psychologist use the scientific method

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 31 October 2016

Why Psychologist use the scientific method

The scientific method makes use of a wide range of approaches and is a perspective that is seen better as an overall rather than use of single specific method. The already adopted scientific method initially was founded on the positivism concept. This included the search for descriptive general laws, which natural phenomena could be predicted with. Scientists were able to control the phenomena occurrences once there was possibility of the predictions. Subsequently, the underlying theories and explanations were developed by the scientists.

Despite the change that has occurred on the positivist approach, the redefinition of the philosophical science is underway. The basement premises on which it was founded still continue to be on the current research mainstream. One of the major scientific approach requisite is the falsifiability. A theory is termed as been scientific if in its contents are predictions, which can either be falsely or truly demonstrated. Critically, scientific method has been argued to depend on empiricism, that is, data and observation collection (Mayer, 1985, pp. 42) Hypothetical inductive method is commonly involved in the main scientific method.

In this, a scientist will begin with a based hypothesis on theory or insight and observation. A hypothesis is said to be statement of tentative belief that is based on judgment of expert researcher. The hypothesis should be subjected to falsification. This is to mean that the scientific researcher must be set up in a way such that the he/she has the ability to make logical conclusion that the hypothesis is either true or false. In many cases, projects of research may give the scientist a room to reject or accept the hypothesis and this will take one for more questions on research (Barker, 2000, pp. 82).

Psychologist on their case have developed the interest and employed scientific method in all their researches. They have actually made the use of various scientific steps or approaches. The steps that psychologist use in their research are: identification of the problem and the hypothesis formulation, designing of the experiment under the help of the independent and dependent variables, experimental performance by use of the control group and the experimental group, hypothesis evaluation, that is, replication of data and hypothesis correction, and lastly is the communication of the results.

If a researcher effectively follows the above steps, his or her experimental results will be reliable and valid. Some details in relation to the above stated steps are discussed below. In the process of identifying the problem, the psychologist must be having a good idea of the identified problem. He must also be in a position to make intelligent guesses concerning the problem, that is, come up with hypothesis. The problem at hand should imply a theory under which it can be based on the manner that the resulting solution to the problem can rhyme with the existing theories (Nagel & Mill, 1996, pp. 2).

Some of the scientific methods employed by psychologists include the following. Firstly, are the controlled experiments in performance of the experiments. In this method, it allows the researcher to establish the relationship between the cause and the effects. The experimenter in this method must manipulate one of the variables as the other variable is measured. The variable that is manipulated in this method is known as the independent variable, while the variable being measured is the dependent variable.

The extraneous variable helps in manipulation by minimizing it as opposed to other kind of factors. For the true experiment, there is usually the experimental group and the control group. The experimental groups get the treatment that is designed for the study while the control group to the experimental group is identically treated with exceptional treatment of the experiment. By random assignment subjects are therefore assigned to each experimental group. The second method is the correlation method.

This one exposes the relations that are predictable among given variables which are not within the experimenter’s control. The direction and the strength of the two variable relationship is referred to as correlation coefficients. In this method, it is important to note the correlation does not imply causation. Thirdly are the case studies. This method looks deeply on to a single individual study. Fourthly is the archival approach. They usually make the use records of novel, existing information and documents.

Additionally, it may involve the use naturalistic observation. Under this method near natural or natural conditions are used to explore the population (Mayer, 1985, pp. 47). Elsewhere, the experimental process may involve the case histories method. This method describes the unusual conditions or person under study. The last method is the use of questionnaires and surveys about attitudes and opinions. Under survey, the attitude and opinions are based on response of the person on predetermined specific questions.

Adequate and carefully determined sample on which the questions are based must be used (Peterson & Tremblay, 1999, pp. 23). Due to the fact that scientific method works with the research approach rather than the research content, disciplines are not termed as scientific due to their content but because of their observation and data dependency, ideas of their falsifiability and the testing of the hypothesis. Therefore, scientific research legally involves the study of the intelligence, attitudes and other human behaviors which are complex.

Despite the fact that the tools psychologists uses to measure the behavior of human may not give similar degree of precision like the one given by other sciences, it may not be precise to establish the scientific discipline status but rather the mechanism by which ideas will be tested and generated (Wolfe, 1992, pp. 206). When a researcher repeats the work that was done by another researcher, this may lead the research to be replicated, that is, the researchers must get the same results of a similar research done by the other researchers.

This is a quality of scientific research that must exist. In reporting on their findings of the research, psychologist tries to give explanations and descriptions concerning how their discoveries have been made. On a similar note, other psychological researchers who carry out the same study must replicate on the previous results got by the other psychological researcher. After a research is done and replication is observed, psychologists will come up with a theory and translate it into hypothesis that is precise (Peterson & Tremblay, 1999, pp. 9).

When conducting a research, psychologists usually use operational definitions to assists in definition of concepts which are of interest. The term sampling is often used to describe the process of coming up with few number of the subjects of study out of the big population. The sampling procedures are used because it is not possible or practicable in the whole population to study all the subjects. There are different kinds of the samples that psychologists might use in relation to the kind of the study they are carrying out.

These include: representative sample, convenience sample, random sample, and cross culture sample. The cross culture sample is used to have the external validity improved. One major drawback in the use of sampling method by the psychologist is that it tends to be biased at times. The psychologist researcher may lead to what we call experimenter bias when making the use of sampling procedures. The experimenter bias will result in the case where the researcher distorts the results or the procedures of experiment in study in which relation to the outcomes are known.

Blinding procedures conceals the experimental hypothesis when used from the subject and this in most cases is referred to as single blind, while from the experiment and the subject are referred to as double blind (Wolfe, 1992, pp. 187). In their data analysis, psychologist normally uses the following measures to analyze their data. Firstly, the descriptive statistics are the mathematical summaries of the research results. Under descriptive statistics, measures of the central tendencies for a normal distribution are employed. These measures include the mean, median and the mode. Secondly are the measures of variation.

This one determines the variation of the scores around the measures of the central tendencies. The measures of variations include the standard deviation and the range. Thirdly is the inferential statistics. This comes up with a statement about a set of given scores (Porterfield, 1999, pp. 82). The use of scientific method by the psychologists has been of great help to the world of business today. The application of research methodology to the world of commerce, business and organisations functions, organisational and industrial psychology looks on various degrees of the customers, workforce, and consumer.

This will involve issues such as psychology of training, recruitment, job satisfaction, appraisal, stress management at work. All these factors assist in improving the performance and productivity of the business or the organisation. Psychological skills are employed to select the best qualified candidate during the interview process. This is of great help to the business since the selected candidate will effectively and efficiently deliver the organisational goals and objectives since he or she has the necessary and the required ability.

For the new recruited staffs, they must undergo some training in relation to the expected duties and responsibility they have to accomplish in the organisation. They must be prepared psychologically how they should approach some of the duties and responsibilities at workplace and also how they can use such skills to meet the customers’ satisfaction. Psychological skills are also of benefit to any organisation in its application to manage stress that may have affected one of the staff members. In any organisation, stress is an expected situation and if not well handled may mess up the business activities, leading to poor performance.

For this reason, organisations have gone ahead and employed psychologists who can effectively handle the matter. Psychologists have also worked on interaction with machines, product designs, software, sales, marketing, and advertisements so as to help in safety, functionality and appeal of the organisation. During the training of the staffs of an organization especially in the department of the sales and the marketing, this really require good impacting of the psychological skills to the staff in this department.

For one to convince consumers to consume products of a given organisation, high level of psychological skills is required. It is in the same department or field where to understand the consumer needs psychological skills which have resulted to the employment of scientific method of research in collecting adequate data about the market and functional parameters of the organisation. By the use of such skills, one will be able to know which product needs to be improved or which has lost it market value. Doing all these help to expand and maintain the market share of the organisation (Wolfe, 1992, pp. 204).


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  • University/College: University of Arkansas System

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 31 October 2016

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