Brief Summary of Chapter 4

In Chapter 4, we talk about an issue that was addressed in Chapter 3 --generating research ideas from reading research. We begin by introducing you to the basic parts of an article (abstract, introduction, method, results, discussion).

The abstract summarizes the article.

The introduction explains what the hypothesis was, why the researchers made that hypothesis (the logic behind it), and why the researchers thought that testing the hypothesis was important.

The method section explains what the researchers did--who the participants were, how the participants were selected, and how the participants were treated.

The results section provides a score card for the hypotheses. It tells which hypotheses were supported and which weren't.

The discussion section tries to let you see the results in terms of the "big picture"--what the results mean for psychology, for future research, and (sometimes) for the world.

If you don't believe that the study's results would hold today, do a direct replication. Direct replications protect science from fraud (and help protect psychology from the inevitable Type 1 and Type 2 errors).

If you think a small methodological wrinkle would improve the study's validity, you might do a systematic replication. For example, you might repeat a lab experiment as a field experiment to improve external validity. Or, you might repeat a within-subjects design as a between-subjects experiment to improve construct validity. Or, you might try to improve construct validity by adding a control group or using double-blind procedures.

If you think a major modification is needed to improve construct validity, you may decide to do a conceptual replication. In such a study, you might use different measures and/or manipulations than the original study. But what if the study reported in the article that you are reading seems perfect? If you don't think a study can be improved, take a break from reading the article. Then, go back over the article, and address the questions in Appendix C: A Checklist for Evaluating a Study's Validity(pp. 665-673). If you still can't find a weakness, then maybe you can build on that study (see Table 4-6, p. 139).

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