Research Methods In Psychology, 9th Edition
With this 9th edition we mark more than twenty-fi ve years of introducing research methods to students through this textbook. We have benefited across the previous eight editions from numerous helpful comments made by both instructors and students so that sometimes it is hard to know what remain of our “original” ideas. Changes in this edition, too, reflect suggestions made by users of our textbook and we are, as always, greatly appreciative. We continue to strive to provide an introduction to research methods in psychology that both excites students about the research process and helps them to become competent practitioners of research methods.
Users of the previous editions have witnessed stylistic changes as well as the addition of pedagogical aids (for example, margin icons to identify key concepts and boxed “Stat Tips” to better link the method and analysis). These changes were well received and we continue them in the present edition. For those who are new to this textbook, let us fi rst review our basic organization and approach. Those who have used the previous edition may want to go directly to “Changes in This Edition” to see what is new.
ORGANIZATION AND APPROACH
Our approach is based on our years of teaching experience. As instructors of research methods, we recognize that most students in our classes will be consumers of research and not producers of research. Students who choose to take on either role will benefi t from developing critical thinking skills. We believe that we can best help our students think critically by taking a problem-solving approach to the study of research methods. As Sharon Begley, writer for Newsweek, commented in a recent essay critiquing science education: “Science is not a collection of facts but a way of interrogating the world.” Moreover, “The most useful skill we could teach is the habit of asking oneself and others, how do you know?” (Newsweek, November 8, 2010, p. 26).
Researchers begin with a good question and then select a research method that can best help them answer their question. The sometimes painstaking task of gathering evidence is only the beginning of the research process. Analyzing and interpreting the evidence are equally important in making claims about psychological processes. Researchers (and students) must analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the method they have chosen in order to be able to evaluate critically the nature of the evidence they have obtained.
Another feature that we continue from our last edition is the website designed for our book. There are interactive exercises and quizzes for students to test their knowledge of text material, as well as links to other important psychology websites. Instructors will fi nd the instructor’s manual and lecture/ discussion aids helpful. Both students and instructors may easily contact the authors via this site. Please come see us at www.mhhe.com/shaughnessy9e.
As has been our approach for each edition, students learn that a multimethod approach to answering questions will best advance the science of psychology and that one goal of this book is to “fi ll their toolbox” with strategies for conducting research. Thus, our organization following the introductory chapters is in terms of “methods,” moving from the simplest of observational techniques to complex experimental designs.
We remain sensitive to ethical issues in psychological research and to the dilemmas researchers face when they study animal or human behavior. To emphasize our concern we give “ethics” its own chapter (Chapter 3) but also discuss specifi c ethical issues in other chapters as they relate to particular methodologies. The increase in Internet-based research, for example, raises new ethical questions and we identify some of them for our readers. Finally, we believe that research methods are best taught in the context of published psychological research. Thus, we continue to use the rich psychology literature to provide examples of ways in which researchers actually use the methods we discuss. It is always fun for us to update the research examples, while continuing to include important “classic” fi ndings and studies that have proved effective in helping students learn research methods. We believe that one way to motivate students to join us on this exciting path of pursuing knowledge is to show the “payoff” that psychological research provides.
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