Chapter 3: Psychological Science

Learning Objectives

After studying this chapter you should be able to:

  • Describe the principles of the scientific method and explain its importance in conducting and interpreting research.
  • Summarize the uses of correlational research and describe why correlational research cannot be used to infer causality.
  • Review the procedures of experimental research and explain how it can be used to draw causal inferences.
  • Outline the four potential threats to the validity of research and discuss how they make it difficult to accurately interpret research findings.
  • Describe how confounding may reduce the internal validity of an experiment.
  • Explain how generalization, replication, and meta-analyses are used to assess the external validity of research findings.
  • Differentiate laws from theories and explain how research hypotheses are developed and tested.Discuss the procedures that researchers use to ensure that their research with humans and with animals is ethical.Differentiate the goals of descriptive, correlational and experimental research designs and explain the advantages and disadvantages of each.
  • Explain the goals of descriptive research and the statistical techniques used to interpret it.


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