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Foundations of Behavior

The science of psychology is maintaining a database of information wherein we can refer the wisdom of our behavior in varying circumstances that we have experienced and will experience in the future. This information made it possible to predict ones behavior in relation to future stimulus and implement corrective measures if we so desired. Reliable psychological experiments and observations made possible the existence of these databases. It can be hypothesized that psychologists based their generalizations and correlations from sound experiments and research methods so that the databases will be

reliable at all times. This paper aims to elucidate two research methods in psychology in order to provide an insight as to the process by how studies are being conducted in order to achieve a valid and reliable conclusion. Research Method Using Naturalistic Observation The Naturalistic Observation is a method used in correlational studies to seek for the relationship of variables under a natural environment situation (Van Wagner, 2009). Being under the natural environment scenario, the variables can be observed without interference and manipulation from the experimenter.

An example of the Naturalistic Observation is documenting the restlessness of a kid in school in relation to suspected Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD that he posses. The experimenter will observe the subject kid in school in his everyday activities without the knowledge of the kid and record all his activities and actuations in order to find the positive or negative correlation of his actions to ADD disorder. Van Wagner (2009) added that the Naturalistic Observation can result to a reliable conclusion in as much as bias can be eliminated from the experimental setting and the experimenter.

It can be considered as the only option if laboratory experimentation is not feasible. The author further cautioned that the naturalistic observation can be expensive as it is time consuming. In addition, the author said that this method does not allow scientific control of variables and the subject may act differently in cases that he noticed he is being closely observed thus affecting the reliability of the finding. 2 Research Method Using the Survey Research The conduct of surveys using questionnaire is a research method under the correlational study. Wagner (2009) reported that under this method, a random sample of participants

answer questionnaire, complete a survey form or accomplish a test incorporating the variables of interest. Under this method, Sturgis (2006) emphasized that random sampling is an important consideration to ensure generalizability of the result (p. 114). This method is fast, easy and cheaper as researchers can collect voluminous data in relatively shorter amount of time (Van Wagner, 2009). The author added that the method is also very flexible compared to other methods. However, the author cautioned that the result can be affected by unrepresentative sample and poor understanding of survey questions.

Moreover, according to the author, the sample can greatly affect the outcome as there were cases wherein participants make an effort to please or displease the researcher by lying to make themselves appear better or worst. Research Techniques The manner by which a research method is to be carried out determines the validity of the research technique as well as the reliability and generalizability of the result. The validity of the research technique and result can be viewed in four different ways. The first is statistical conclusion validity (Woolf, 2009). This validity is based on statistical

significance of the variability either under 5% or 10% confidence level and is further related to the appropriateness of sample size in relation to the population size. The author reported that it is difficult to find meaningful relationship from a small sample which does not represent the population. The second is Internal validity. According to the author, if the two variables are related, the two must be causal in nature. Internal validity indicates the degree to which test scores accurately estimate the subject’s current state in relation to criterion established.

The author further pointed out that a test achieved the third kind of validity or construct validity if it demonstrate an association between the test scores and the 3 predicted trait. Intelligence tests are example of measurement indicators that possess construct validity. The fourth kind of validity is the external validity or generalizability property. The author reported that if the result is applicable to other people regardless of sex, age, places and time, then it has generalizability. A study result of heart disease in men which can be duplicable with women posses external validity.

Another measure of quality of result from a research method is reliability. Van Wagner (2009), declared that a test is considered reliable if consistently same result is achieved. If a test is designed to measure extroversion trait, then each time the test is administered to a subject the result should be approximately the same. The author reported that it is extremely hard to achieve exact reliability calculation but there are different ways available to estimate it. The first is test-retest reliability. The test is administered twice at different times and at close interval to determine its consistency in time.

This test is well suited for rating things that are stable over time in the likes of intelligence test. The other reliability test is inter-rater reliability. Van Wagner (2009) said that this is done with two or more independent judges scoring the test separately. If the raters agree in 8 out of 10 times, then it is said that the test has 80% inter-rater reliability test. The third test according to the author is parallel-forms reliability. The author declared that this is done by pooling large number of test items and randomly dividing the items in two separate tests. The result of

the two tests should be closely similar. Internal consistency is the fourth kind of reliability test. This is done according to the author by inserting separately two very similar to another test questions. If the answer for the two questions were similar, this would indicate that the test has internal consistency reliability. Summary and Conclusion It is now an accepted fact that the research methods in psychology is being done in strictly professional manner. The validity of the method and the reliability of the result contained in the data bases can therefore be regarded as of the highest quality.

It can be regarded therefore that our foundations of behavior in the pool of knowledge as reliable. 4 References Sturgis, P. (2006). Surveys and Sampling. In G. Breakwell, et. al (3rd ed. ), Research Methods in Psychology (pp. 104-122). London: Sage. Van Wagner, K. (2009). Psychology Research with Correlational Studies. In Correlational Studies, About. com Retrieved July 26, 2009 from http://psychology. about. com/od/researchmethods/a/correlational. htm Woolf, L. M. (2009). Developmental Research Methods. Retrieved July 26, 2009 from http://www. webster. edu/~woolflm/methods/devresearchmethods. html

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