Archive for October, 2011

homework for my TA week 4/5

Friday, October 28th, 2011

1. http://psyalo.wordpress.com/2011/10/28/are-ethics-important-in-psychological-research/#comments

2. http://anythingforadegree.wordpress.com/2011/10/28/the-importance-of-reliability-and-validity/

3. http://frasersstatsblog.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/y-so-many-ethics/#comments

4. http://thought3.wordpress.com/2011/10/28/psychology-a-science-or-not/#comments

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Are ethics that important?

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Do we really need ethics or do they get in the way?  Before even considering creating a study to research a certain topic the researcher needs to take into account if they will be going against the laws of ethics and if they are able to even start the study if they follow them. These laws are set up by the ‘British psychology society’ (BPS) following the devastating research conflicted in the second world war in the concentration camps this was to make sure the researchers are being honest and respectful towards the results of each individual taking part.

There are five ethical principles; consent, debrief, the right to withdrawal, no harm and no deception. If we look closely at these principles it would be very difficult to follow these and create a study worth doing. We have to deceive so the research shows a realistic result, is this only way to create a study? Milgram’s study of obedience is the perfect example to prove this as if the participants were told what the study entailed the results would be invalid as they would of know the shocks were fake so they would defiantly continue to the maximum voltage so does this make it okay to go against the principles?  Similarly Zimbardo (1971)study  the Stanford prison experiment was extremely unethical however participants admitted they learnt values about themselves so was the study successful? So would these studies be as successful if they followed the laws of ethics?  

Who stays? Who goes? You decide 🙂

Do you need statistics to understand your data?

Friday, October 7th, 2011

The joys of having to discuss another statistical question: when I was thinking about this question I was like what data? Who was more likely to win the grand final St Helens or Leeds Rhinos? Which mascara would make my eyes lashes longer or which aftershave is more likely to help the boys get laid? We receive data every minute of every day with any action I take. However in these situations I don’t actually have time to make a statistical analysis on what best course of action to take except when I’m in the bookies. So in everyday life we don’t really need stats to understand what is best to do and somehow we seem to cope and my eyelashes still look good.       

However, when we spend hours doing our research and collecting our data, stats are a good tool to use when trying to understand our data and can be used to represent our findings in a single line of a statistical statement and with the help of the beautiful invention of SPSS which does this all for us we can easily analyze our data.  With the help of graphs and tables we can discuss our findings. If one relies purely on stats, they may miss something crucial and glaringly obvious about the data being analyzed. An experimenter can analyze the data in the wrong way or choose accidentally not to take into account something that has controlled the course of the data because they may not believe its important data with data such as age or gender.

We do stats to help us to understand our data in a manageable concept however we do need to take into account other aspects of our research to gain a representative conclusion of our study.