Introduction to Research: Scientific Understanding of Behavior - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

About This Presentation

Introduction to Research: Scientific Understanding of Behavior


Introduction to Research: Scientific Understanding of Behavior RCS 6740 5/9/05 – PowerPoint PPT presentation

Number of Views:90
Avg rating:3.0/5.0
Slides: 27
Provided by: DanPe6


Transcript and Presenter's Notes

Title: Introduction to Research: Scientific Understanding of Behavior

Introduction to Research Scientific
Understanding of Behavior
  • RCS 6740
  • 5/9/05

What is Research?
  • Main Entry 1research Pronunciation
    ri-'srch, 'rE-"Function nounEtymology Middle
    French recerche, from recerchier to investigate
    thoroughly, from Old French, from re- cerchier
    to search -- Date
  • 1 careful or diligent search2 studious
    inquiry or examination especially
    investigation or experimentation aimed at the
    discovery and interpretation of facts, revision
    of accepted theories or laws in the light of new
    facts, or practical application of such new or
    revised theories or laws3 the collecting of
    information about a particular subject

What is Scientific Research?
  • Kerlinger (1986), Scientific research is
    systematic, controlled, empirical, and critical
    investigation of natural phenomena guided by
    theory and hypotheses about the presumed
    relations among such phenomena (p. 10).
  • Or is it?
  • committed to understanding social phenomena
    from the actors own perspective (Taylor
    Bogdan, 1984, p. 1).

  • Magazines Cosmo Quizzes and Studies
  • Newspapers Gainesville Sun Polls, (Do
    you believe that a dog could care for a baby?)
  • Internet Keyword Cancer on Google came up with
    114,000,000 hits!!!

Why is Scientific Research Important?
  • Helps us decide what is bull and what is valid
  • Provides us a means of addressing and answering
    important questions
  • Helps practitioners with treatment, therapy, and
    medication choices
  • Assists public policy decisions

Why is Scientific Research Important Cont.
  • Influences judicial decisions (Study by Clark
    Clark, 1947, influenced the landmark Brown vs.
    Board of Education case)
  • Determines whether or not programs (public and
    private) are successfully meeting their goals

The Scientific Approach vs. Intuition
  • Intuition Unquestionably accepting what your own
    personal judgment or experience tells you about
    the world.
  • Example Since Dr. Saxon liked it, my client
    will enjoy working at the chicken factory.
  • Scientists understand that numerous cognitive
    and motivational factors (that affect our
    perceptions) lead to erroneous conclusions.

The Scientific Approach vs. Intuition Cont.
  • Illusionary Correlation A cognitive bias that
    occurs when we focus on two events that stand out
    and occur together.
  • The scientific approach requires much more
    evidence before any conclusion can be drawn.

The Scientific Approach vs. Authority
  • People too often accept information from books,
    media, government figures, and friends as being
  • Persuasion is achieved by the speakers personal
    character when the speech is so spoken as to make
    him credible. We believe good men (people) more
    fully and readily than others. (Aristotle)

The Scientific Approach vs. Authority Cont.
  • The scientific approach rejects the notion that
    one can accept on faith the statements of any
  • Once again, more evidence is needed!

Skepticism and Science
  • Scientists do recognize that intuition and
    authority are sources of ideas about behavior,
    but they never blindly accept either without
    being skeptical.
  • How then, do scientists learn about the world?

The Scientific Method and the Empirical Approach
  • The fundamental characteristic of the scientific
    method is empiricism (knowledge based on
  • Most importantly, the scientific method embodies
    a number of rules for collecting, evaluating, and
    reporting data (observations put into measurable
    form). These rules will be discussed in greater
    detail as the course progresses.

The Scientific Method and the Empirical Approach
  • Elements of Goodsteins evolved theory of
  • 1. Observations accurately reported to others
  • A. So that others can replicate the study
  • B. So that others can see that the data has
    not been fabricated.

The Scientific Method and the Empirical Approach
  • 2. Search for discovery and verification of
  • A. Scientists search for observations that will
    verify their ideas about the world.
  • B. Scientists develop theories, argue that
    existing data supports their theories, and
    conduct research to further support their

The Scientific Method and the Empirical Approach
  • 3. Open exchange and competition among ideas
  • A. Research flourishes when there is an open
    exchange of ideas.
  • B. Others should report findings not supporting
    an ideas.
  • C. Even good ideas are not supported by
    research. However, this leads to new and more
    innovative ideas.

The Scientific Method and the Empirical Approach
  • 4. Peer Review of Research
  • A. Ensures that only the best research is
  • B. Ensures that research with major flaws is
    not integrated into the scientific community.
  • C. Allows others to build upon and advance

Incorporating Intuition, Authority, and
  • Acceptable use of beliefs or opinions from a
    scientific perspective
  • They are presented as only opinions or beliefs
    and not as fact
  • They are scientifically testable
  • There is scientific evidence that supports the
    opinion or belief

Goals of Scientific Research
  1. To Describe Behavior
  2. To Predict Behavior
  3. To Determine the Causes of Behavior
  4. To Understand or Explain Behavior

Describing Behavior
  • Researchers must first make careful observations
    before they can accurately describe behavior
  • Examples of Describing Behavior
  • Client can lift up to 10 pounds, repeatedly, for
    one hour.
  • Mr. Smith becomes irritable when discussing his
    previous employer.

Predicting Behavior
  • Once it has been observed (in a scientific
    manner) that two events are related to one
    another, predictions can be generated.
  • Examples of predicting behavior
  • The more attractive interviewee will get the job.
  • Cats who eat Fancy Feast will become extremely

Determining the Causes of Behavior
  • Predicting behavior does not mean that a cause
    can be determined.
  • In order to determine how to change behavior, we
    must first determine the cause of the behavior.
  • Identification of the cause of behavior requires
    three types of evidence

Determining the Causes of Behavior Cont.
  1. Temporal Precedence Temporal order of events
    where the cause precedes the effect
  2. Covariation of the Cause and effect When the
    cause is present, the effect occurs, when the
    cause is not present, the effect does not occur
  3. Alternative Explanations There should be no
    other plausible alternative explanation for the

Explanation of Behavior
  • Researchers seek to understand and explain why
    behavior occurs (Caregivers of people with stroke
    may become depressed due to the burden of
  • Causes and Explanations are closely related but
    as new causes are determined, new explanations
    are necessary.

Basic and Applied Research
  • Basic Research
  • Answers fundamental questions about the nature of
  • Studies are often designed to address theoretical
    issues such as cognition, emotion, social
    behavior, and learning
  • Does not focus on immediate or practical concerns
    as it seeks to gain knowledge that may be of some
    value at a later time

Basic and Applied Research Cont.
  • Applied Research
  • Main focus is to address practical problems and
    to find potential solutions to such problems.
  • A major area of applied research is called
    Program Evaluation where research is used to
    evaluate social reforms, government, the criminal
    justice system, industry, schools, and health
    care (FITE Program evaluation example).

Basic vs. Applied Research
  • Neither one is superior to the other
  • The progress of science depends on the synergy
    between the two
  • Both may cause the other to be modified
  • Both use the scientific method of research
Write a Comment
User Comments (0)