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Laura Snodgrass, Ph.D.
Sensation & Perception Sensation & Perception
Statistics Statistics
Experimental Experimental
Cognitive Cognitive


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Experimental Psychology
Study Guide

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Study Guide for Experimental Psychology

The first 26 questions come from the text and are in the order in which the information appears.

  1. How are intuition, skepticism, and authority integrated into the scientific approach?
  2. Discuss the four goals of science.
  3. How are basic and applied research related?
  4. How might a cost/benefit analysis influence ethical decisions in research?
  5. How are informed consent and debriefing related to deception in research? What are some alternatives to deception?
  6. What are the four categories of variables described in the text?
  7. Explain the four types of relationships between variables described in the text.
  8. How is the third variable problem related to issues of causality in non-experimental methods? What other issues are there in understanding causality?
  9. Why do experiments give a better case for casuality? Must the relationship be "necessary and sufficient"? What can an experimenter do to increase the probability of finding a clear causal relationship?
  10. Discuss the issues presented in the text about choosing a method.
  11. How are the concept of a true score and measurement error related to reliability?
  12. What are the advantages and disadvantages of a case study?
  13. What is meant by archival research? What "data" is used? How are the data analyzed?
  14. What do confidence intervals have to do with surveys?
  15. Why don't researchers who want to test hypotheses about the relationships between variables worry too much about random sampling?
  16. Explain the pitfalls of a one-group design.
  17. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the post-test only and pre-test/post-test designs? On what basis would you choose between them?
  18. What is analysis of co-variance and why would you use this?
  19. Distinguish between random sampling and random assignment.
  20. Be able to explain main effects and interactions - how to interpret and how to find them.
  21. Do review questions 1,5,6,7, and 9 on pp192-193.
  22. The book describes three basic ways of describing results - why would you NOT do all three on the same data?
  23. What is meant by "effect size"?
  24. Distinguish between the null and research hypotheses.
  25. What factors should you consider when interpreting non-significant results?
  26. Do review questions 1 - 6 on page 252.

Class notes questions:

  1. What qualities distinguish science as a way of knowing?
  2. What are the three key aspects of a good hypothesis?
  3. What are the two types of operational definitions? What are the problems with operational definitions?
  4. Define the different types of variable classifications. Be able to identify how a variable is being used or how a variable might be used.
  5. Be prepared to identify confounds in an experiment.
  6. What are the strengths, weaknesses, and/or issues to think about concerning the main research methods we discussed. When and why might you use each type? (Use both lecture and text)
  7. How do quasi-experimental designs differ from experimental designs and under what circumstances would you use them? Discuss the concerns about validity in quasi-experimental methods.
  8. Define and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the following designs: between groups, within groups, bivalent, functional, baseline, factorial, converging series. Be able to identify each of these.
  9. How do matching and counterbalancing make up for some of the disadvantages of other designs? What are the adv. and disadv of each of these? Know the different methods of counterbalancing.
  10. Discuss the relationship between the sample and the population. Why use samples? Discuss problems of generalization in psychology.
  11. Describe and discuss the adv and disadv. of the different sampling techniques.
  12. Discuss the issues involved in the following types of sampling: experimenter, stimulus, condition, and response.
  13. What factors determine the size of the sample you need?
  14. Discuss the pitfalls in experimentation.
  15. What is the difference between etic and emic? How does culture influence your choice of problem, hypothesis, and variables?

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