interpreting and generalizing your results

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Interpreting and Generalizing your Results. Psych 231: Research Methods in Psychology. Announcements. This week in labs: POSTER SESSIONS Jen has final papers available at her office hours (not in class today) Amanda’s may be done by labs this week. Research Results. Goal of Research - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • Interpreting and Generalizing your ResultsPsych 231: Research Methods in Psychology

  • AnnouncementsThis week in labs: POSTER SESSIONSJen has final papers available at her office hours (not in class today)Amandas may be done by labs this week

  • Research ResultsGoal of ResearchExperiments:To establish a cause and effect relationship between independent and dependent variablesCorrelational studiesTo determine potential relationships between different variables

  • Interpretation of your resultsStatistical significanceTell us if differences or (relationships with correlations) go beyond what wed expect by chanceDont tell us anything about what the result really means in theoretical terms

  • Interpretation of your resultsTheoretical SignificanceReturn to your theory(ies)Reject them? Support (not prove) them?Revise them?What are the limitations of your interpretations?Are there alternative theories still to test?Yes, there are always going to be alternatives (not always good ones)Do your results generalize well?

  • Generalizing resultsExternal validity revisitedWhat limits/constraints were imposed because of:the use of experimental controlavailability of resourcesParticipant factors (who did you test?)Volunteers College studentsSexCultureLocation/setting factors (where did you test?)CollegeRegionLaboratory

  • Generalizing resultsExperimenter factorsPersonality, sex, experience as experiementerExperimental itemsDo the results only apply to the stimuli that you used, or would they extend to othersE.g., memory for: cat, dog, truck, car, all concrete objectsWould the same pattern of results be seen for:call, dig, truth, cut, more abstract concepts cath, dob, trush, caf, all non words

  • Threats to external validity as interactionsGeneralization as interactionsDoes your theory (or anyone elses) predict an interaction?If you collect the appropriate data/controls, you can do some statistical tests

  • In defense of college studentsConvenient? Yes, but not because researchers are lazyResearchers do have limited resourcesCriticisms about generalizability need to be backed up with theory and/or dataCollege students are after all humansReplications with other samples provide a safegaurd against limited generalizability

  • ReplicationsImportance of replicationsDemonstrate that the results werent a one time thingSingle failure to replicate - dont panicRepeated failure to replicate - original results probably wrong (maybe a Type I error)

  • ReplicationsTypes of replicationsExact replicationsReplication of the research as precisely as possibleConceptual replicationsSame independent variables, but measured in a different waySame conceptual variables, different operational variables

  • Increasing External ValidityAggregationGrouping together dataOver participantsOver stimuli or situationsOver trials or occasionsOver measures (converging operations)

  • Increasing External ValidityNon-reactive measurementsUnobtrusive measuresObservation without participant awarenessNaturalistic observationTo validate experimental findings Field experimentsExperimentation outside of the lab

  • ExampleResults from Lab studiesSelf awareness reduces likelihood of people engaging in socially undersirable behaviors (e.g., cheating or lying)

  • Beaman, Klentz, Diener, & Sanum (1979)

  • Hi, whats your name?Hi, what are you dressed as?

  • Please take only one piece of candy

  • The big pictureGeneralizing your to the outside worldThe bottom of the hourglassHow do these results impact Not always stated in the reportBut, should always be in the back of your mind.why are you doing the research? why is it important? who will benefit from this research?

  • Next timeReview of course


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