Study Guide for Exam 1

PSY 201: Basic Research Methods

Fall 2005


Exam 1 covers lectures 1-6, labs 1-3, and the following Chapters in the Ray text: Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3 (up to page 60), and Chapter 4.


Key Concepts/Terms:You should understand the concepts to which each term refers

Experimental and Control Groups

Treatment Effect

Hypothetical Construct

Independent Variable

Dependent Variable


Operational Definitions (both experimental and measurement)

Understand the ways in which the validity of an experiment can be assessed

      Internal validity

      External validity

When we discuss the validity of a measure, what is

      Convergent validity

      Divergent validity

Understand how to assess the quality (both reliability and validity) of an operationalized (or measured) variable


Inductive Reasoning

Deductive Reasoning


Understand the logical conclusions that can be reached from various major premises (or assumptions) and minor premise combinations, as well as the logic errors that people frequently make

      Confirmatory Reasoning

      Disconfirmatory Reasoning

      Affirming the Consequent

      Denying the Antecedent



Questions that will help prepare you for the test:


1.     What are the ways of acquiring knowledge about the world other than science?  Define each.


2.     What are the features of scientific thought?


3.     How is science similar to and different from each of the other ways of acquiring knowledge?


4.     What is science?


5.     How do the various scientific methods differ?



6.     When we place the different scientific methods on a continuum, what are the features that define the end points of the continuum and how do the three scientific methods differ along the continuum?


7.     Which kinds of research questions are associated with the different research methods?


8.     What is an independent variable? And why is it called the independent variable?


9.     What is a dependent variable? And why is it called the dependent variable?


10.  What do we mean when we say that independent and dependent variables have an abstract (or conceptual) side and a concrete side?  Stated differently, what is a hypothetical construct and what are operational definitions?


11.  How are hypothetical constructs studied?  Hint: Think about the distinction between naďve empiricism and sophisticated empiricism.


12.  Consider the following hypotheses. For each, identify the independent and dependent variable and give an example of how you might operationally define each.

a.      Stress causes memory decrements


b.     Students’ participation in class discussions may be enhanced if students are rewarded for participation


c.      If one is depressed, then one is more likely to be socially isolated.


d.     Participation in high risk social behavior increases with level of alcohol consumption.


e.      Intergroup contact reduces prejudice


f.       Helping behavior decreases as the number of bystanders (or others who can offer help) increases.


13.  Describe Newton’s four rules of reason.


14.  What is inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning?


15.  What is a correlation and what sorts of causal inferences can you make on the basis of a correlation? 


16.  Consider each of the below correlations and describe what it means (in a single sentence).

a.      There is a positive correlation between authoritarian (or strict) parenting styles and depression in children.



b.     There is a negative correlation between stress and REM sleep (or deep sleep)


c.      There is a positive correlation between students’ participation in class discussions and exam performance.


d.     There is a negative correlation between physical well-being and stress


17.  What is internal validity? What is external validity? Given your definitions, when are causal inferences strongest? When are experimental findings most generalizable to other settings/populations?  How are internal validity and external validity related?



18.  Give an example of a measurement that is reliable, but not valid. Explain why this is the case.




19.  Operationally define the independent and dependent variable in the following hypothesis and restate the hypothesis in a testable “if  . . . then” statement form: Practice makes perfect.


20.  Which of the following four arguments could be labeled logical and which would be considered logic errors. Hint: it might help if you translate p and q into meaningful items (e.g., p=it is a crow; q=it is black; or any other that is informative)


If p, then q


Therefore q



If p, then q


Therefore p


If p, then q

Not q

Therefore not p not



If p, then q

Not p

Therefore not q

What are the names of each kind of reasoning (in each square)?



21. Repeat the task for the following example (assuming cheating isn’t a viable option), which are mixed up.





If a student attends lecture, then he/she does well on the exam


Betsy doesn’t attend lecture


Therefore, Betsy doesn’t do well on the exam


If a student attends lecture, then he/she does well on the exam


Betsy attends lecture


Therefore, Betsy does well on the exam



If a student attends lecture, then he/she does well on the exam


Betsy doesn’t do well on the exam


Therefore, Betsy doesn’t attend lecture



If a student attends lecture, then he/she does well on the exam


Betsy does well on the exam


Therefore, Betsy attends lecture




22. Imagine that you have four cards. Each card has a letter on one side and a number on the other. Some cards are letter side-up, and some are number side-up, as below.


First Card

Second Card

Third Card

Fourth Card











Which two cards do you need to turn over to test the hypothesis that “if a card has an H on one side it has an even number on the other side”?  Explain why turning over these two cards test the hypothesis.


23. If you turn over the other two cards (which don’t test the hypothesis), what kind of reasoning does this exhibit. Explain why turning those other cards over follows from a logic error and name the kind of logic error. 


24. A researcher was interested in the following hypothesis: People feel irritable in crowded spaces. She tested this hypothesis by asking her 6th grade students to sit in a crowded room and her 4th grade students to sit alone in a room while they waited 10 minutes prior to reporting their mood. In this example, what are the independent and dependent variables? Would such a design have strong or weak internal validity? Explain why.


25. A researcher was interested in the following hypothesis: people are less likely to help others when they are preoccupied. To test this prediction Dr. Batson asked seminary students to rehearse a speech as they walked across campus to deliver a lecture, while other seminary students were simply asked to walk across campus for the second part of a study (i.e., were not asked to rehearse a speech). On the route to the other building a man was laying on the ground in need of help. Observers then recorded whether the passing seminary student stopped to assist the fallen man.

In this example,

            What is the conceptual independent variable?

            What is the conceptual dependent variable?



            What is the experimental operationalization, or the operational definition of the independent variable?



            What is the measurement operationalization (or operational definition of dependent variable)?



What pattern of behaviors would you expect to find when you compared the experimental and the control group if your findings were consistent with the hypothesis?


26. Consider the following hypothesis: if people are stressed, then they become irritable. Assume you create an experiment where the participants are stressed (due to repeated exposure to mild shock). In the control group participants experience no stress (i.e., no shock). Given these two conditions, you are interested in whether participants in each condition display irritability or not (the only two possible outcomes). The below table depicts the two possible outcomes for each condition.


Experimental Group

Antecedent Present


Control Group

Antecedent Absent


Consequent Present

DV: Behave Irritably



Outcome 1


Outcome 2

Consequent Absence

DV: Do not behave irritably



Outcome 3


Outcome 4


a) Which outcome would you expect to find among the experimental group (outcome 1 or 3) compared to the control group (outcome 2 or 4) if your findings are consistent with the hypothesis?   Would these findings prove the hypothesis?


b) How would the opposite pattern of findings falsify the hypothesis? Which outcome is critical to disproving the hypothesis? Explain why. 


27. Consider the following frequency distribution:

How many participants are there in the sample?

What is the mean?

What is the mode?



28. Consider the following distribution:

What is the mean?

What is the median?

What is the mode?


29. What is the mean, median and mode of the data set depicted in the following frequency distribution?




30. Consider the following scores: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

What is the range?

What is the standard deviation?



31. Consider the following scores; 2, 6, 3, 5, 1, 8, 2, 3

            What is the range?

            What is the standard deviation?


Note: You will need to be able to compute the standard deviation on the exam.




32.  Wallas (1920) describe the scientific process in four stages. Explain each and formulate examples.