Beginning Behavioral Research : A Conceptual Primer

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  • Edition: 5th
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 1/1/2008
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall
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This successful introduction to behavioral research methodswritten by two leaders in the fieldprovides step-by-step guidance through the processes of planning an empirical study, analyzing and interpreting data, and reporting findings and conclusions. It encourages readers to be analytical and critical, not only in interpreting research findings, but also in investigating what is behind the claims and conclusions in news reports of scientific results. While the primary emphasis is on behavioral and social research, a strong effort is made to connect these disciplines with the empirical reasoning used in other fields in order to underscore the unity of science.The volume examines behavioral research and scientific method, creative ideas and working hypotheses, ethical considerations and guidelines, observation and measurement, design and implementation, describing data and making inferences, and statistical tests.For those interested in an introduction to research methods.

Table of Contents

Getting Started
Behavioral Research and the Scientific Method
Preview Questions
Why Study Research Methods and Data Analysis?
What Rival Alternatives Are There to the Scientific Method?
What Is Empirical Reasoning?
How Is Empirical Reasoning Used in Psychological Science?
How Do Extra-Empirical Factors Play a Role?
What Does Behavioral Science Encompass?
What Do Methodological Pluralism and Theoretical Ecumenism Connote?
How Does Research Go From Descriptive to Relational to Experimental?
What Are the Characteristics of Good Researchers?
Summary of Ideas
Key Terms
Multiple-Choice Questions for Review
Discussion Questions for Review
Answers to Review Questions
Creative Ideas and Working Hypotheses
Preview Questions
What Is the "Discovery Phase" of Scientific Inquiry?
What Are Hypothesis-Generating Heuristics?
What Belongs in My Research Proposal?
How Can I Do a Literature Search?
How Should I Go About Defining Variables?
What Identifies "Good" Theories and Working Hypotheses?
What Is Meant by Independent Variable and Dependent Variable?
Summary of Ideas
Key Terms
Multiple-Choice Questions for Review
Discussion Questions for Review
Answers to Review Questions
Ethical Considerations and Guidelines
Preview Questions
How Do Ethical Guidelines in Research Function?
What Is Informed Consent, and When Is It Used?
How Are Ethics Reviews Done and Acted Upon?
What Are Obstacles to the Rendering of "Full Justice"?
How Can a "Relationship of Trust" Be Established?
How Do Scientific Quality and Ethical Quality Intertwine?
Is Deception Ever Justified?
What Is the Purpose of Debriefing, and How Do I Do It?
How Is Animal Research Governed By Ethical Rules?
What Are My Ethical Responsibilities When Writing Up My Research?
Summary of Ideas
Key Terms
Multiple-Choice Questions for Review
Discussion Questions for Review
Answers to Review Questions
Observation and Measurement
Strategies of Systematic Observational Research
Preview Questions
What Is Meant By Systematic Observational Research?
How Do Researchers Simultaneously Participate and Observe?
What Can Be Learned By Quantifying Observations?
How Is a Content Analysis Done?
How Are Raters or Coders Chosen For a Judgment Study?
How Are Situations Simulated in Experimental Research?
How Do I Identify Rival Interpretations and Rival Hypotheses?
What Is the Distinction Between Reactive and Nonreactive Observation?
Summary of Ideas
Key Terms
Multiple-Choice Questions for Review
Discussion Questions for Review
Answers to Review Questions
Methods for Looking Within Ourselves
Preview Questions
What Are Uses and Limitations of Self-Report Measures?
What Are Open-Ended and Fixed-Choice Items?
How Are Personality and Projective Tests Used?
What Are Numerical, Forced-Choice, and Graphic Ratings?
What Are Rating Errors, and How Do I Control Them?
What Are Semantic Differentials, Likert Scales, and Thurstone Scales?
How Do I Prepare Items For a Questionnaire or an Interview?
How Are Face-to-Face and Telephone Interviews Done?
How Are Behavioral Diaries Used in Research?
Summary of Ideas
Key Terms
Multiple-Choice Questions for Review
Discussion Questions for Review
Answers to Review Questions
Reliability and Validity in Measureme
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.


Welcome to the fifth edition ofBeginning Behavioral Research.This book was originally conceived as an undergraduate text for students who, as part of an introductory course in research methods, are required to plan an empirical study, to analyze and interpret the data, and to present their findings and conclusions in a written report. It is also intended to encourage students to be analytical and critical not only in interpreting their own research findings, but in seeing and understanding what is behind the research reported in newspaper, TV, and Internet stories of scientific (and pseudoscientific) results and claims. Boyce Rensberger (2000), a prominent science journalist and author of several popular science books, commented on the general public's relative lack of discrimination about science and pseudoscience: Without a grasp of scientific ways of thinking, the average person cannot tell the difference between science based on real data and something that resembles science--at least in their eyes--but is based on uncontrolled experiments, anecdotal evidence, and passionate assertions. They like it all. (p. 61) Our hope is that this book will teach students to understand the difference between real science and pseudoscience and the exacting standards of good scientific research. Thus, although the primary emphasis of this text is on behavioral research, we have tried to connect this approach with the empirical reasoning used in other fields in order to underscore the broad base of scientific thinking. The examples we have chosen give a sense not only of traditional ways of doing, analyzing, and thinking about research, but also of some recent developments that may not be as well known. For example, we introduce students to statistical methods that, while enormously useful, do not yet generally appear in many methods texts: contrast analysis and interpretable indices of effect size, the distinction between intrinsic and nonintrinsic repeated measures, interval estimates of effect sizes, meta-analysis, and so on. The emphasis of these discussions is intended to resonate with the spirit and substance of the guidelines recommended by the American Psychological Association's Task Force on Statistical Inference (Wilkinson et al., 1999), which is reflected in the most recent edition of thePublication Manual of the American Psychological Association(APA, 2001). AlthoughBeginning Behavioral Researchwas conceived as a text for students assigned an empirical research project, we have been pleasantly surprised to learn that it has been successfully used in ways that go far beyond its original purpose. For example, it has been used in courses in which the production of a research project was not a major goal, as well as by master's degree students in several fields as a primary methods text and by doctoral students to slip into our advanced text, Essentials of Behavioral Research (Rosenthal & Rosnow, 1991). Beginning Behavioral Research has also been used to teach research methods and data analysis to several thousand students in distance learning programs. Organization As in earlier editions, the chapters in this edition are presented in a linear sequence corresponding to the steps involved in conducting an empirical research study and in analyzing and reporting the results. The beginning researcher is led step by step through the following process: Crafting a research idea that can be empirically tested.Understanding empirical reasoning, the scientific method, levels of empirical investigation, and the scientific outlook (Chapter 1); creating, shaping, and polishing a research idea, and conducting a search of the relevant literature for the research proposal and the project itself (Chapter 2); weighing and balancing ethical considerations, and preparing for an ethics review (Chapter 3) Choosing meth

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