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Lesson Two: Researching Psychology

The Basics of Psychology Research

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Lesson Two: Researching Psychology

Welcome to the second lesson in the free Psychology 101 course! Today's lesson is centered on learning more about how researchers investigate the human mind and behavior. Whether you are just taking a psychology course to fulfill a general education credit or planning to earn a degree in the subject, gaining a solid understanding of psychology research methods is essential.

For this lesson, focus on building a solid understanding of the basics psychology research methods, the terminology and the different types of research.

As you have seen, there are many different topics studied by psychologists. But how exactly are these issues studied? In order to fully understand how various psychological theories have formed, you must first learn more the scientific processes that are used to research the human mind and behavior. In today's lesson, we will explore the major steps in psychology research as well as the scientific processes and methods used by psychology researchers.This week's syllabus:

  • Introduction to research methods
  • The scientific method
  • The simple experiment
  • Correlational research
  • Conducting an experiment
  • Research methods quiz

Explore the links below to read the articles related to each topic in this lesson. Don't worry, there are no due dates or homework! This lesson is entirely self-directed, so that means it is up to you to read the material and learn the information. Good luck!

Getting Started

Psychology experiments can vary considerably in terms of complexity. As you begin to learn more about this topic, it is essential to grasp some of the basic terms and concepts. Start by learning more about the different types of research, relationships between variables and the basics of designing an experiment. Get started by reading this introduction to research methods.

The Scientific Method

Psychology research is carried out using the scientific method. This process starts with identifying a hypothesis and continues through the final step of sharing the results with the scientific community. Read this article to learn more about the basic steps in the scientific method .

Finding Cause-and-Effect

While psychology experiments are often quite complex, beginners should start by learning about the simplest form. The simple experiment is fairly basic, but does allow researchers to determine cause-and-effect relationships between variables. Most simple experiments use a control group (those who do not receive a treatment) and an experimental group (those who do receive the treatment). Continue reading to learn more about simple experiments.

Relationships Between Variables

Correlational studies are another commonly used type of psychology research. While they do not allow researchers to determine cause-and-effect, they do make it possible to spot relationships between different variables and to measure the strength of those relationships. Learn more about this type of research in this overview of correlational studies.

Planning an Experiment

Now that you have a better understanding of the research process, you might want to start thinking about how you would conduct a psychology experiment. In fact, many introductory psychology courses require students to design their own experiments. Check out this article for a walk-through of how to conduct a psychology experiment.

Test Your Knowledge

Now that you've learned more about the important terms, the different types of research and the scientific method, it is time to put your knowledge to the test. Remember, there are no grades, due dates or homework in this self-learning course. If you are not satisfied with your score on the quiz, take some time to go back and review the information. If you do well on the quiz, feel free to move on to the next lesson. Click the following link to take the psychology research methods quiz.

Final Thoughts

Congratulations, you have finished lesson two! This lesson contains quite a bit of information, so you might want to spend a few days studying and reviewing. Only move on to the next lesson in the course when you feel that you are ready. I suggest taking a brief break before coming to review the information from lesson two before moving on to lesson three.

If you find it difficult to recall the information, consider checking out our study tips for psychology students. You can also find advice on how to study for a psychology exam and how to take good psychology notes.

Sign-Up for the Psychology 101 E-Course

Would you prefer to receive each lesson by email rather than having to remember to come back to the site each week? If so, you might want to sign up for the Psychology 101 E-course. This course is completely free and a lesson will arrive via email each week. Be sure to check out the Psychology 101 e-course FAQ page to learn answers to some of the most common questions about the class.

For even more psychology articles and resources, don't forget to subscribe to the weekly About.com Psychology Newsletter!

Next: Lesson 3

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