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Meaninig of Research

Webster international dictionary proposes a very inclusive definition of research as

"A careful critical inquiry or examination in seeking facts or principals and investigation in order to ascertain something".
"The activities that go by the name of research involves mainly a "Re-search".

i-e activities undertaken to repeat a search.It may be stated that research refers to " a critical and exhaustive investigations or experimentation having its aim the revision of accepted conclusions in the light of newly discovered facts".

Oxford English Dictionary

"A search again and repeatedly".
D Sleswinger and Stephenson in the encyclopedia of social sciences defines research as
"The manipulation of things, concepts or symbols for the purpose of generalizing to extend, correct or verify knowledge, whether that knowledge uses in construction of theory or in the practice of an art".

Types of Research

There are two major types

1.Pure
2.Applied

1. Pure_____ Research that is motivated by the desire to know or understand for the sake of knowing is called Pure or Basic research".

2. Applied_____By the desire to know in order to use this knowledge for practical concerns is called applied research"

Qualities of Researcher

Sir Michael Foster identifies in the main two qualities of a researcher.

1. This nature must be one that vibrate in unison with that of which he is in search, the seeker after truth must himself be truthful, truthful with truthfulness of nature.Truthfulness corresponds to the desire for accuracy of observation and precision of statement.

First to make sure of facts is a fundamental precept in science.But this is no easy matter.The difficulty here may be due to the untrained eye, which sees only that which it has the power of seeing___sometimes little indeed .It may be due to preconception which often make men see what is not to be seen.It also may be due to lack of discipline in the method of science.
The unscientific man is often content with proximately "nearly" etc, but nature never is .It is not her way to call the same two things which differ however minutely.

2. He must be alert mind nature is ever making signs to us, she is ever whispering to us the beginnings of her secrets.The scientific must be ever on the watch, ready at once to lay hold nature's hint, however small to listen to her whisper however low.Receptivity to the hints and gestures of nature is something that has to be cultivated slowly and patiently.It is not given to ignorant and the common to see unusual behind the routine.It demands a systematic immersion into the subject matter to be able to catch the slightest hint that may give birth to significant research problem.

Cohen and Nagol points out the ability to Percival in some bute experience the occasion for a research problem is not a common talent among men...........it is a mark of scientific genious to be sensitive to difficulties where less gifted people pass by in-troubled by doubt.

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Research Methodology

Research________Any honest attempt to study a problem systematically OR to add to man's knowledge of a problem may be regarded as research. (Theodorsem 1969 New york)

Methodology______Broadly the formulation of systematic and logically coherent methods for the search for knowledge.It is strictly speaking not concerned directly with the accumulation of knowledge or understanding but rather with the methods and procedures by which such knowledge and understanding are achieved.

What is science?

Science is a process or method for generating a body of knowledge.

In daily routine we use the word "science" in three ways or meanings.

Science as Knowledge
Science as Behavior
Science as Investigation

Scientific Method of Research

Psychology as a science uses the scientific method which is a set of procedures designed to establish general laws.Through evaluating theories that attempt to describe explain and predict phenomena.The scientific method involves explicitly stated theories.Hypothesis are made from such theories and their systematic critical evaluation through objective, controlled, empirical investigations and conclusions that are open to public scrutiny, analysis and replication is the scientific method.

Conclusions about reality can be made in at least four different ways.

On Faith
On Common Sense or Intuition
On Logic
Analysis of Empirical Data

Scientific method can be broken down into a series of five steps.

1. Identifying the Problem and Hypothesis Formation

The beginning point of any scientific method involves identifying a problem , which is actually a simple process.All one has to do look at the events taking place and numerous problems that need solutions.Child abuse, Cancer, Alcoholism and crime are just a few of the more apparent problems.Once the problem has been stated researchable hypothesis are formulated.

2. Designing the Experiment

Designing the experiment is very crucial stage.Proper controls over extraneous variables have to be established and the experimental variables as well as the response variable must be specified.

3. Conducting the Experiment

After the experiment has been designed the researcher must make a number of very important decisions regarding the actual conduct of experiment.What subjects are to be used , what instructions are necessary and what equipment and materials are needed.

4. Hypothesis Testing

After the data have been collected the experimenters must analyze and interpret the data to determine if the stated hypothesis have been sported.The investigators must decide on the appropriate statistical analysis.

5. Communicating the Research Results

After the data have been analyzed the scientist want to communicate the results to others.Communication most frequently takes place through the professional journals in a field.Consequently the scientist must write a research report that states how the research was conducted and what was found.

Unscientific / Nonscientific Methods of Knowing

1. Tenacity

It means the "quality or state of holding fast".This is based on superstitions because superstitions represents beliefs that are reacted to as if they were fact.

2. Intuition

It is defined as "the act or process of coming to direct knowledge or certainty without reasoning.

3. Authority

As a method of acquiring knowledge represents an acceptance of information or facts stated by another because that person is a highly respected source.

4. Rationalism

It means that knowledge acquired through reasoning.This approach uses reasoning to arrive at knowledge and assumes that valid knowledge is acquired if the correct reasoning process is used the following........
All men are mortal: Socrates is a man therefore Socrates is mortal.

5. Empiricism

The final method of gaining knowledge is empiricism.Some one says that "I would not believe until I see it". This statement illustrates the empirical approach and indicates that we tend to believe the information through our senses.
What is wrong with this approach? Although this approach is very appealing but there are so many dangers if it is alone used.Our perceptions are affected by a number of variables.Research has demonstrated that variables such as past experiences and our motives at the time of perceiving can drastically alter what we see.Research has also revealed that our memory for events does not remain constant.
Not only do we tend to forget things but at that times an actual distortion may take place.The situations we experiences may represent biased sample which could lead to an inaccurate conclusion.If for example you have contact only ten females all of whom were tall, you would probably conclude that all women were extremely tall.The bias in your sample of women would lead you to an inaccurate conclusion.

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Research Problem and Hypothesis

Hypothesis

McGuigan

"Hypothesis is testable statement of a potential relationship between two or more variables".
"A strategy adopted in order to solve some problem".

Kinds of Hypothesis

1. Scientific Hypothesis

Scientific hypothesis represents the predicted relationship among the variables being investigated.

2. Null Hypothesis

The null hypothesis represents a statement of no relationship among the two or more variables being investigated.
For example____Someone wanted to explore the nature of the memory deficits that occur through the influence of alcohol.In scientific hypothesis the relationship between alcohol and memory is a factual event.When intoxicated individual would fail to recall meaningful content during the taking of alcohol.But in same circumstances the null hypothesis insist that it makes no difference at all.The meaningful content recall even who have approached alcohol or who did not do so.Null hypothesis rejects that there is relationship between alcohol and memory recall.

Sources of Hypothesis
OR
Sources of Research Topic
OR
Sources of Research-able Problem

With the above reference of the headings first of all the question is this that where do ideas or problems originate?
Where should we look for a researchable problem?
In all fields of life there are a number of common sources of problems such as

A. Existing Theories
B. Past Research

Being a student of psychology or being a social scientist or psychologist, we are formulated that we draw so much from everyday life .The things we___________Read about, See about, Hear about.
If you ask the question "why" you will find many researchable topics.

There are only four sources.

1. Theory
2. Everyday Life
3. Practical Issues
4. Past Research

Now we will discuss the four sources in detail.

1. Theory

A theory defined as "A group of logically organized laws"(Marx)

Theory is of two type functions.According to Marx

1. Tool Function Theory
2. Goal Function Theory

The tool function is evidenced by the proportions that theories guide research.
The goal function is that laws are ordered and integrated by theories; Theories summarizes and integrate existing knowledge.

2. Everyday Life

As we proceed through the daily routine dictated by our current point in life, we come into contact with many phenomena that pose questions in need of solution.
Parents want to know how to handle their children , students want to know how to learn material faster.When we interact with others or see others react, we note many individual differences.When one is observing children on a play ground, these differences are readily apparent, one child may be very aggressive, while an other is much more reserved, waiting for others to encourage interaction.The response of a particular person also vary according to the situation.A child who is very aggressive in one situation may be very passive in another.why do these differences exist not only among children but also within the same child.

What produces these varying responses?
Why are some people leader and other followers?
Why do we like some people and not others?

These are many researchable questions that can be identified from the interactions and personal experiences that every one has.

3. Practical Issues

Many experimental problems arise from practical issues that require solutions.
Private industry faces problems such as employee moral, absenteeism, turnover, selection and placement to name only a few. Counseling and clinical psychology is the need of a great deal of research to identify more efficient modes of dealing with mental disturbances. Units of the federal and provincial governments also support experimentation designed to solve practical problems. The government is spending large sum of money to find a cure for Cancer, Hepatitis, TB, Drug-addiction and so many such an other problems. Large expenditures are also being directed toward finding better ways to conduct the educational process.
Grievous crimes such as Kidnapping, Murder, Rape, Smuggling the young children for Camel Race are required such a measure that if not these have been stopped but should be minimized in any situation.
Above mention all are practical concerns required solution.

4. Past Research

Previously conducted research/experiments are an excellent source of research ideas.Each well-designed study does provide additional knowledge, phenomena are multi-determined.In any experiment only a limited number of variables can be studied.Investigation of certain variables may lead to hypothesis about the effects of other variables.

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What is Problem

When we have already collected some knowledge and that knowledge indicates that there is something we do not know.It may be that we simply do not have enough information to answer a question, it may be that the knowledge that we have in such a state of disorder that it cannot be adequately related to the question.In either case we have a problem .

Making Problem Research-able
Formulation of Research Problem

What is research problem?

An interrogation sentence or statement that asks;
"What relation exists between two or more variables".?

Kerlinger 1973 presents three criteria that good problems must meet.

1. The variables in the problem should express a relation.This was contained in the definition of problem.
2. The second criteria is that "the problem should be stated in question form...the statement should begin with what".
3. The third criteria one that most frequently distinguishes a research-able from a non-researchable problem states that "the problem statement should be such as to imply possibilities of empirical testing".

Specificity of the Question

In formulating a problem specificity of the research question is an important consideration.Think of the difficulties facing the experimenter asking the following question."What effect dose the environment have on learning ability? This question meets all the criteria of a problem and yet it is stated in such a vague way that the investigator could not pinpoint what was to be investigated.The concept of environment and learning ability are vague (What environmental characteristics? Learning of what?)
The experimenter must specify what is meant by environment and by learning ability to be able to conduct the experiment contrast this question which the following:

"What effect does the amount of exposure to words have on the speed with which they are learned?"

This question specifies exactly what the problem is.
A specific statement helps to ensure that the experimenters understand the problem.If the problem is vaguely stated the experimenters probably do not know exactly what they want to study and therefore may design a study that will not provide a solution to the problem. A specific problem statement also assists in the decisions that must be made about such factors as subjects, apparatus, instruments and measures.

Formulation of the Hypothesis

After the completing of four sources of hypothesis i-e Theory, Everyday life, Practical issues and Past research, then someone should record the statement of problem.The problem should be stated in question form.These someone should begin formulating the hypothesis.Hypothesis serve a valuable function.Always hypothesis derived from knowledge obtained from the theory, everyday life experiences, practical issues and past research.Such prior knowledge serves as the basis for the hypothesis.If the experiment confirms the hypothesis then in addition to providing an answer to the question asked, it gives to the additional support to the literature that suggested the hypothesis.
But what if the hypothesis is not confirmed by the experiment then either the hypothesis false or some error exists in the conception of the hypothesis.Failure to support a hypothesis may indicate that something is wrong and its up to the experimenter to discover what it is.Once the experimenter uncovers what he thinks is wrong, a new hypothesis is made to be tested experimentally. Even if the hypothesis is false, knowledge has been advanced we must formulate another hypothesis to test in order to reach a solution to the problem.

Characteristics of the Hypothesis
  • Must be testable.
  • Should be in general harmony with other hypothesis in the field of investigation.
  • Should be parsimonious.
  • Should answer (be relevant to) the particular problem dressed and not some other one.
  • Should have logical simplicity.
  • Should be expressed in quantified form.
  • Should have a large number of consequences and should be general in scope.
  • Hypothesis are never absolutely true or false but have a determine-able degree of probability.
  • Hypothesis are basically stated as general implications.

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Selecting the Survey Method

Selecting the type of survey you are going to use is one of the most critical decisions in many social research contexts. You'll see that there are very few simple rules that will make the decision for you -- you have to use your judgment to balance the advantages and disadvantages of different survey types. Here, all I want to do is give you a number of questions you might ask that can help guide your decision.

Population Issues

The first set of considerations have to do with the population and its accessibility.

Can the population be enumerated?

For some populations, you have a complete listing of the units that will be sampled. For others, such a list is difficult or impossible to compile. For instance, there are complete listings of registered voters or person with active drivers licenses. But no one keeps a complete list of homeless people. If you are doing a study that requires input from homeless persons, you are very likely going to need to go and find the respondents personally. In such contexts, you can pretty much rule out the idea of mail surveys or telephone interviews.

Is the population literate?

Questionnaires require that your respondents can read. While this might seem initially like a reasonable assumption for many adult populations, we know from recent research that the instance of adult illiteracy is alarmingly high. And, even if your respondents can read to some degree, your questionnaire may contain difficult or technical vocabulary. Clearly, there are some populations that you would expect to be illiterate. Young children would not be good targets for questionnaires.

Are there language issues?

We live in a multilingual world. Virtually every society has members who speak other than the predominant language. Some countries (like Canada) are officially multilingual. And, our increasingly global economy requires us to do research that spans countries and language groups. Can you produce multiple versions of your questionnaire? For mail instruments, can you know in advance the language your respondent speaks, or do you send multiple translations of your instrument? Can you be confident that important connotations in your instrument are not culturally specific? Could some of the important nuances get lost in the process of translating your questions?

Will the population cooperate?

People who do research on immigration issues have a difficult methodological problem. They often need to speak with undocumented immigrants or people who may be able to identify others who are. Why would we expect those respondents to cooperate? Although the researcher may mean no harm, the respondents are at considerable risk legally if information they divulge should get into the hand of the authorities. The same can be said for any target group that is engaging in illegal or unpopular activities.

What are the geographic restrictions?

Is your population of interest dispersed over too broad a geographic range for you to study feasibly with a personal interview? It may be possible for you to send a mail instrument to a nationwide sample. You may be able to conduct phone interviews with them. But it will almost certainly be less feasible to do research that requires interviewers to visit directly with respondents if they are widely dispersed.

Sampling Issues

The sample is the actual group you will have to contact in some way. There are several important sampling issues you need to consider when doing survey research.

What data is available?

What information do you have about your sample? Do you know their current addresses? Their current phone numbers? Are your contact lists up to date?

Can respondents be found?

Can your respondents be located? Some people are very busy. Some travel a lot. Some work the night shift. Even if you have an accurate phone or address, you may not be able to locate or make contact with your sample.

Who is the respondent?

Who is the respondent in your study? Let's say you draw a sample of households in a small city. A household is not a respondent. Do you want to interview a specific individual? Do you want to talk only to the "head of household" (and how is that person defined)? Are you willing to talk to any member of the household? Do you state that you will speak to the first adult member of the household who opens the door? What if that person is unwilling to be interviewed but someone else in the house is willing? How do you deal with multi-family households? Similar problems arise when you sample groups, agencies, or companies. Can you survey any member of the organization? Or, do you only want to speak to the Director of Human Resources? What if the person you would like to interview is unwilling or unable to participate? Do you use another member of the organization?

Can all members of population be sampled?

If you have an incomplete list of the population (i.e., sampling frame) you may not be able to sample every member of the population. Lists of various groups are extremely hard to keep up to date. People move or change their names. Even though they are on your sampling frame listing, you may not be able to get to them. And, it's possible they are not even on the list.

Are response rates likely to be a problem?

Even if you are able to solve all of the other population and sampling problems, you still have to deal with the issue of response rates. Some members of your sample will simply refuse to respond. Others have the best of intentions, but can't seem to find the time to send in your questionnaire by the due date. Still others misplace the instrument or forget about the appointment for an interview. Low response rates are among the most difficult of problems in survey research. They can ruin an otherwise well-designed survey effort.

Question Issues

Sometimes the nature of what you want to ask respondents will determine the type of survey you select.

What types of questions can be asked?

Are you going to be asking personal questions? Are you going to need to get lots of detail in the responses? Can you anticipate the most frequent or important types of responses and develop reasonable closed-ended questions?

How complex will the questions be?

Sometimes you are dealing with a complex subject or topic. The questions you want to ask are going to have multiple parts. You may need to branch to sub-questions.

Will screening questions be needed?

A screening question may be needed to determine whether the respondent is qualified to answer your question of interest. For instance, you wouldn't want to ask someone their opinions about a specific computer program without first "screening" them to find out whether they have any experience using the program. Sometimes you have to screen on several variables (e.g., age, gender, experience). The more complicated the screening, the less likely it is that you can rely on paper-and-pencil instruments without confusing the respondent.

Can question sequence be controlled?

Is your survey one where you can construct in advance a reasonable sequence of questions? Or, are you doing an initial exploratory study where you may need to ask lots of follow-up questions that you can't easily anticipate?

Will lengthy questions be asked?

If your subject matter is complicated, you may need to give the respondent some detailed background for a question. Can you reasonably expect your respondent to sit still long enough in a phone interview to ask your question?

Will long response scales be used?

If you are asking people about the different computer equipment they use, you may have to have a lengthy response list (CD-ROM drive, floppy drive, mouse, touch pad, modem, network connection, external speakers, etc.). Clearly, it may be difficult to ask about each of these in a short phone interview.

Content Issues

The content of your study can also pose challenges for the different survey types you might utilize.

Can the respondents be expected to know about the issue?

If the respondent does not keep up with the news (e.g., by reading the newspaper, watching television news, or talking with others), they may not even know about the news issue you want to ask them about. Or, if you want to do a study of family finances and you are talking to the spouse who doesn't pay the bills on a regular basis, they may not have the information to answer your questions.

Will respondent need to consult records?

Even if the respondent understands what you're asking about, you may need to allow them to consult their records in order to get an accurate answer. For instance, if you ask them how much money they spent on food in the past month, they may need to look up their personal check and credit card records. In this case, you don't want to be involved in an interview where they would have to go look things up while they keep you waiting (they wouldn't be comfortable with that).

Bias Issues

People come to the research endeavor with their own sets of biases and prejudices. Sometimes, these biases will be less of a problem with certain types of survey approaches.

Can social desirability be avoided?

Respondents generally want to "look good" in the eyes of others. None of us likes to look like we don't know an answer. We don't want to say anything that would be embarrassing. If you ask people about information that may put them in this kind of position, they may not tell you the truth, or they may "spin" the response so that it makes them look better. This may be more of a problem in an interview situation where they are face-to face or on the phone with a live interviewer.

Can interviewer distortion and subversion be controlled?

Interviewers may distort an interview as well. They may not ask questions that make them uncomfortable. They may not listen carefully to respondents on topics for which they have strong opinions. They may make the judgment that they already know what the respondent would say to a question based on their prior responses, even though that may not be true.

Can false respondents be avoided?

With mail surveys it may be difficult to know who actually responded. Did the head of household complete the survey or someone else? Did the CEO actually give the responses or instead pass the task off to a subordinate? Is the person you're speaking with on the phone actually who they say they are? At least with personal interviews, you have a reasonable chance of knowing who you are speaking with. In mail surveys or phone interviews, this may not be the case.

Administrative Issues

Last, but certainly not least, you have to consider the feasibility of the survey method for your study.

Costs

Cost is often the major determining factor in selecting survey type. You might prefer to do personal interviews, but can't justify the high cost of training and paying for the interviewers. You may prefer to send out an extensive mailing but can't afford the postage to do so.

Facilities

Do you have the facilities (or access to them) to process and manage your study? In phone interviews, do you have well-equipped phone surveying facilities? For focus groups, do you have a comfortable and accessible room to host the group? Do you have the equipment needed to record and transcribe responses?

Time

Some types of surveys take longer than others. Do you need responses immediately (as in an overnight public opinion poll)? Have you budgeted enough time for your study to send out mail surveys and follow-up reminders, and to get the responses back by mail? Have you allowed for enough time to get enough personal interviews to justify that approach?

Personnel

Different types of surveys make different demands of personnel. Interviews require interviewers who are motivated and well-trained. Group administered surveys require people who are trained in group facilitation. Some studies may be in a technical area that requires some degree of expertise in the interviewer.

Clearly, there are lots of issues to consider when you are selecting which type of survey you wish to use in your study. And there is no clear and easy way to make this decision in many contexts. There may not be one approach which is clearly the best. You may have to make trade offs of advantages and disadvantages. There is judgment involved. Two expert researchers may, for the very same problem or issue, select entirely different survey methods. But, if you select a method that isn't appropriate or doesn't fit the context, you can doom a study before you even begin designing the instruments or questions themselves.

For More Detail Check This Link

WWW.socialresearchmethods.net

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SURVEY Research

Asking People about Themselves.
Definitions

"A general evaluation an inspection".
"An examination or inspection carried out with specific aims in mind a search for particular kinds of information.This sense is carried in a number of specific kinds of research designs in which questionnaire inventories or interviews may be employed to gather information about attitudes, and opinions or preferences in a society or some segment of it".

Survey is a method of scientific investigation in which a large sample of people answer questions about their attitudes or behavior.
Everyone has probably heard of this and many of you have been involved in research involving surveys. They are often used in the news, especially to gather viewer opinions such as during a race for president.

Advantages:

Can gather large amounts of information in a relatively short time, especially now with many surveys being conducted on the internet.

Limitations:

Survey data is based solely on subjects’ responses which can be inaccurate due to outright lying, misunderstanding of the question, placebo effect, and even the manner in which the question is asked.

Uses of Surveys
  • Surveys are used in research by social scientists such as political scientists, psychologists and sociologists for a variety of reasons.
  • Surveys are also used to meet the more needs of political candidates, public health officials, advertising and marketing directors.
  • Surveys generally involve sampling.
  • Surveys are also characterized by their use of a set of predetermined questions for all respondents.Oral or written responses to these questions constitute the principal data obtained in a survey.By using the some phrasing and ordering of questions, it is possible to summarize the views of all respondents succinctly (briefly).
  • Another advantage of asking questions systematically is that doing so makes it possible to describe relationship among variables.
The survey is a non-experimental, descriptive research method. Surveys can be useful when a researcher wants to collect data on phenomena that cannot be directly observed (such as opinions on library services). Surveys are used extensively in library and information science to assess attitudes and characteristics of a wide range of subjects, from the quality of user-system interfaces to library user reading habits. In a survey, researchers sample a population. Basha and Harter (1980) state that "a population is any set of persons or objects that possesses at least one common characteristic." Examples of populations that might be studied are 1) all 1999 graduates of GSLIS at the University of Texas, or 2) all the users of UT General Libraries. Since populations can be quite large, researchers directly question only a sample (i.e. a small proportion) of the population.

Types of Surveys

Data are usually collected through the use of questionnaires, although sometimes researchers directly interview subjects. Surveys can use qualitative (e.g. ask open-ended questions) or quantitative (e.g. use forced-choice questions) measures. There are two basic types of surveys: cross-sectional surveys and longitudinal surveys. Much of the following information was taken from an excellent book on the subject, called Survey Research Methods, by Earl R. Babbie.

1. Cross-Sectional Surveys

Cross-sectional surveys are used to gather information on a population at a single point in time. An example of a cross sectional survey would be a questionnaire that collects data on how parents feel about Internet filtering, as of March of 1999. A different cross-sectional survey questionnaire might try to determine the relationship between two factors, like religiousness of parents and views on Internet filtering.

2. Longitudinal Surveys

Longitudinal surveys gather data over a period of time. The researcher may then analyze changes in the population and attempt to describe and/or explain them. The three main types of longitudinal surveys are trend studies, cohort studies, and panel studies.

Trend Studies

Trend studies focus on a particular population, which is sampled and scrutinized repeatedly. While samples are of the same population, they are typically not composed of the same people. Trend studies, since they may be conducted over a long period of time, do not have to be conducted by just one researcher or research project. A researcher may combine data from several studies of the same population in order to show a trend. An example of a trend study would be a yearly survey of librarians asking about the percentage of reference questions answered using the Internet.

Cohort Studies

Cohort studies also focus on a particular population, sampled and studied more than once. But cohort studies have a different focus. For example, a sample of 1999 graduates of GSLIS at the University of Texas could be questioned regarding their attitudes toward paraprofessionals in libraries. Five years later, the researcher could question another sample of 1999 graduates, and study any changes in attitude. A cohort study would sample the same class, every time. If the researcher studied the class of 2004 five years later, it would be a trend study, not a cohort study.

Panel Studies

Panel studies allow the researcher to find out why changes in the population are occurring, since they use the same sample of people every time. That sample is called a panel. A researcher could, for example, select a sample of UT graduate students, and ask them questions on their library usage. Every year thereafter, the researcher would contact the same people, and ask them similar questions, and ask them the reasons for any changes in their habits. Panel studies, while they can yield extremely specific and useful explanations, can be difficult to conduct. They tend to be expensive, they take a lot of time, and they suffer from high attrition rates. Attrition is what occurs when people drop out of the study.


Survey Methods

There are major four methods now we will discuss them.

1. Mail Surveys

Mail surveys represent the most common means of distributing self administered questionnaires.A principal advantage of mail survey is that they can be done quickly.Because they are self administered.Mail surveys are the best for dealing with highly personal topics.

Disadvantages or Demerits

1. Respondent will not be able to ask questions if a portion of the questionnaire is unclear.
2. The researcher has little control over the order in which the respondent proceeds through the questionnaire.
3. The most serious problem with mail surveys is one of RESPONSE BIAS.The major factor is the generally low response rate.Quite often people include in a sample are too busy or not interested enough in the study to return a completed questionnaire.Low response rates produce smaller samples.

2. Personal Interviews

When personal interviews are used to collect survey data respondents are usually contacted in their homes and trained interviewers administers the questionnaire.The personal interview allows much greater flexibility in asking questions than the mail survey.In a personal interview the respondent can obtain classification of unclear questions.The response rate to personal interviews has been much higher than that to mail survey.

Disadvantages or Demerits

1. High cost
High cost results because the use of trained interviewers is expensive in terms of both money and time.
2. Interviewer bias
The interviewer should be a natural medium through which questions and answers are transmitted.Interviewer bias occurs when the interviewer tries to adjust the wording of question to "fit" the respondents or records only selected portions of respondent's answers.In trying to clarify the respondent's answers the interviewer must be careful not to introduce ideas that may then become part of the respondent's subsequent answers.

3. Telephonic Interviews

Prohibitive travel costs and the difficulties involved in supervising interviewers when personal interviews are used have led many survey researchers to turn to telephonic interview.

Disadvantages or Demerits

1. The poor and those in rural areas were unlikely to have a phone.
2. Telephonic interviewing also provides access to dangerous neighborhood, locked buildings and respondents available only during evening hours.
3. Selection bias
When respondents are limited to those people who have telephones and the problem of interviewer bias remains.There is a limit to
how long respondents are willing to stay on the phone.

4. Online Surveys
  • Can use web or e-mail.
  • Web is preferred over e-mail because interactive HTML forms can be used.
  • Often inexpensive to administer.
  • Very fast results.
  • Easy to modify.
  • Response rates can be improved by using Online panels - members of the panel have agreed to participate.
  • If not password-protected, easy to manipulate by completing multiple times to skew results.
  • Data creation, manipulation and reporting can be automated and/or easily exported into a format which can be read by PSPP,DAP or other statistical analysis software.
  • Data sets created in real time.
  • Some are incentive based (such as Survey Vault or You Gov).
  • May skew sample towards a younger demographic compared with CATI.
  • Often difficult to determine/control selection probabilities, hindering quantitative analysis of data.
  • Use in large scale industries.
Who Conducts Surveys

We all know about the public opinion surveys or "polls" that are reported by the press and broadcast media. For example, the Gallup Poll and the Harris Survey issue reports periodically describing national public opinion on a wide range of current issues. State polls and metropolitan area polls, often supported by a local newspaper or TV station, are reported regularly in many localities. The major broadcasting networks and national news magazines also conduct polls and report their findings.

The great majority of surveys, though, are not public opinion polls. Most are directed to a specific administrative, commercial, or scientific purpose. The wide variety of issues with which surveys deal is illustrated by the following listing of actual uses
  • Major TV networks rely on surveys to tell them how many and what types of people are watching their programs.
  • Statistics Canada conducts continuing panel surveys of children (and their families) to study educational and other needs.
  • Auto manufacturers use surveys to find out how satisfied people are with their cars.
  • The U.S. Bureau of the Census conducts a survey each month to obtain information on employment and unemployment in the nation.
  • The U.S. Agency for Health Care Policy and Research sponsors a periodic survey to determine how much money people are spending for different types of medical care.
  • Local transportation authorities conduct surveys to acquire information on commuting and travel habits.
  • Magazine and trade journals use surveys to find out what their subscribers are reading.
  • Surveys are conducted to ascertain who uses our national parks and other recreation facilities.
Surveys provide an important source of basic scientific knowledge. Economists, psychologists, health professionals, political scientists, and sociologists conduct surveys to study such matters as income and expenditure patterns among households, the roots of ethnic or racial prejudice, the implications of health problems on people's lives, comparative voting behavior, and the effects on family life of women working outside the home.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Surveys

Advantages
  • It is an efficient way of collecting information from a large number of respondents.Very large samples are possible. Statistical techniques can be used to determine validity, reliability, and statistical significance.
  • Surveys are flexible in the sense that a wide range of information can be collected.They can be used to study attitudes, values, beliefs, and past behaviors.
  • Because they are standardized, they are relatively free from several types of errors.
  • They are relatively easy to administer.
  • There is an economy in data collection due to the focus provided by standardized questions.Only questions of interest to the researcher are asked, recorded, codified, and analyzed.Time and money is not spent on tangential questions.
  • Cheaper to run.
Disadvantages
  • They depend on subjects’ motivation, honesty, memory, and ability to respond. Subjects may not be aware of their reasons for any given action.They may have forgotten their reasons.They may not be motivated to give accurate answers, in fact, they may be motivated to give answers that present themselves in a favorable light.
  • Structured surveys, particularly those with closed ended questions, may have low validity when researching affective variables.
  • Although the individuals chosen to participate in surveys are often randomly sampled, errors due to non-response may exist.That is, people who choose to respond on the survey may be different from those who do not respond, thus biasing the estimates.For example, polls or surveys that are conducted by calling a random sample of publicly available telephone numbers will not include the responses of people with unlisted telephone numbers, mobile (cell) phone numbers, people who are unable to answer the phone (e.g., because they normally sleep during the time of day the survey is conducted, because they are at work, etc.), people who do not answer calls from unknown or unfamiliar telephone numbers.Likewise, such a survey will include a disproportionate number of respondents who have traditional, land-line telephone service with listed phone numbers, and people who stay home much of the day and are much more likely to be available to participate in the survey (e.g., people who are unemployed, disabled, elderly, etc.).
  • Survey question answer-choices could lead to vague data sets because at times they are relative only to a personal abstract notion concerning "strength of choice".For instance the choice "moderately agree" may mean different things to different subjects, and to anyone interpreting the data for correlation.Even yes or no answers are problematic because subjects may for instance put "no" if the choice "only once" is not available.
Statistical Surveys

Statistical surveys are used to collect quantitative information about items in a population. Surveys of human populations and institutions are common in political polling and government, health, social science and marketing research. A survey may focus on opinions or factual information depending on its purpose, and many surveys involve administering questions to individuals. When the questions are administered by a researcher, the survey is called a structured interview or a researcher-administered survey. When the questions are administered by the respondent, the survey is referred to as a questionnaire or a self-administered survey.

Serial Surveys

Serial surveys are those which repeat the same questions at different points in time, producing repeated measures data. There are three basic designs for a study with more than one measurement occasion: cross-sectional design, longitudinal design, and time-series design.
  • Cross-sectional surveys use different units (respondents) at each of the measurement occasions, by drawing a new sample each time.The time intervals may be different between measurement occasions, but they are the same for all units (respondents).A study in which a survey is administered once is also considered to be cross-sectional.
  • Longitudinal surveys use the same units (respondents) at each of the measurement occasions, by recontacting the same sample from the initial survey for the following measurement occasion(s), and asking the same questions at every occasion.The time intervals may be different between measurement occasions, but they are the same for all units (respondents).
  • Time-series surveys also use the same units (respondents) at each of the measurement occasions, but the difference with longitudinal study designs is that in time-series designs both the number of measurement occasions and the time intervals between occasions may be different between units (respondents).

For More Detail Check These Links

WWW.socialresearchmethods.net
WWW.whatisasurvey.info

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Sampling Methods

It is incumbent on the researcher to clearly define the target population. There are no strict rules to follow, and the researcher must rely on logic and judgment. The population is defined in keeping with the objectives of the study.

Sometimes, the entire population will be sufficiently small, and the researcher can include the entire population in the study. This type of research is called a census study because data is gathered on every member of the population.

Usually, the population is too large for the researcher to attempt to survey all of its members. A small, but carefully chosen sample can be used to represent the population. The sample reflects the characteristics of the population from which it is drawn.

Sampling methods are classified as either probability or nonprobability. In probability samples, each member of the population has a known non-zero probability of being selected. Probability methods include random sampling, systematic sampling, and stratified sampling. In non-probability sampling, members are selected from the population in some nonrandom manner. These include convenience sampling, judgment sampling, quota sampling, and snowball sampling. The advantage of probability sampling is that sampling error can be calculated. Sampling error is the degree to which a sample might differ from the population. When inferring to the population, results are reported plus or minus the sampling error. In non-probability sampling, the degree to which the sample differs from the population remains unknown.

Random sampling is the purest form of probability sampling. Each member of the population has an equal and known chance of being selected. When there are very large populations, it is often difficult or impossible to identify every member of the population, so the pool of available subjects becomes biased.

Systematic sampling is often used instead of random sampling. It is also called an Nth name selection technique. After the required sample size has been calculated, every Nth record is selected from a list of population members. As long as the list does not contain any hidden order, this sampling method is as good as the random sampling method. Its only advantage over the random sampling technique is simplicity. Systematic sampling is frequently used to select a specified number of records from a computer file.

Stratified sampling is commonly used probability method that is superior to random sampling because it reduces sampling error. A stratum is a subset of the population that share at least one common characteristic. Examples of stratums might be males and females, or managers and non-managers. The researcher first identifies the relevant stratums and their actual representation in the population. Random sampling is then used to select a sufficient number of subjects from each stratum. "Sufficient" refers to a sample size large enough for us to be reasonably confident that the stratum represents the population. Stratified sampling is often used when one or more of the stratums in the population have a low incidence relative to the other stratums.

Convenience sampling is used in exploratory research where the researcher is interested in getting an inexpensive approximation of the truth. As the name implies, the sample is selected because they are convenient. This non-probability method is often used during preliminary research efforts to get a gross estimate of the results, without incurring the cost or time required to select a random sample.

Judgment sampling is a common non-probability method. The researcher selects the sample based on judgment. This is usually and extension of convenience sampling. For example, a researcher may decide to draw the entire sample from one "representative" city, even though the population includes all cities. When using this method, the researcher must be confident that the chosen sample is truly representative of the entire population.

Quota sampling is the non-probability equivalent of stratified sampling. Like stratified sampling, the researcher first identifies the stratum and their proportions as they are represented in the population. Then convenience or judgment sampling is used to select the required number of subjects from each stratums. This differs from stratified sampling, where the stratum are filled by random sampling.

Snowball sampling is a special non-probability method used when the desired sample characteristic is rare. It may be extremely difficult or cost prohibitive to locate respondents in these situations. Snowball sampling relies on referrals from initial subjects to generate additional subjects. While this technique can dramatically lower search costs, it comes at the expense of introducing bias because the technique itself reduces the likelihood that the sample will represent a good cross section from the population.

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Laboratory verses Field Reseach Settings

LABORATORY

Every science has laboratory.The term is usually used to denote a room where psychologist can observe behavior which at the same time maintaining some degree of control over the physical environment which might otherwise effect the behavior of the people being observed.

Laboratory Experiment

The main characteristics of laboratory experiment is the investigator's ability to control and alter the variables being tested.Because of this control the investigator is able to eliminate many of the extraneous variables that might otherwise affect the results of of the experiment.For example.......Heat, Noise, Distraction or the nature of the participants themselves.

Merit or Advantages

1. Great control over conditions of the study can be specified more clearly.

2. Participants can be selected.

3. Participants can be placed in conditions more systematically.

4. Because of the experimenter's ability to control the effect of extraneous variables, Cause and effect relationship can be established.

5. The laboratory offers the experimenter the opportunity to measure behavior with a great precision than would be possible in the natural environment.

6. The laboratory also allows the research scientist to simplify the complex events of the natural world by breaking them down into simpler components parts.We can say it as experimental reductionism.

Demerits or Disadvantages

1. It is claimed that the laboratory lacks relevance to the real life, in that tasks explored in the laboratory may not transfer to the outside world.

2. Participants may react to the laboratory setting either by the acting in the way they feel the experiment requires (Demand Characteristics) OR by displaying artificial behavior because of their concern that they are being judged in same way (evaluation apprehension).

3. Avoiding demand characteristics and evaluation apprehension after involves the use of deception in laboratory research raising serious questions concerning the ETHICS of such investigations.

FIELD RESEARCH

1. "A bounded area especially a region within which a body experience forces resulting from the presence of other bodies not in contact with it".
2. "Any region within which certain specified phenomena occure".

Field Experiment

A field experiment applies the scientific method to experimentally examine an intervention in the real world (or as many experimentalists like to say, naturally-occurring environments) rather than in the laboratory. Field experiments, like lab experiments, generally randomize subjects (or other sampling units) into treatment and control groups and compare outcomes between these groups.Any experiment carried out in natural settings rather than in the artificial environment of a laboratory.
This type of experiment replace the artificial settings of the laboratory with a more natural one.Participants are not aware that they are taking part in an experiment.

Merits or Advantages

1. By focusing on behavior in natural setting the experimenter increase the external validity of the findings.

2. Because participants are unaware of their participation in an experiment, they are less likely to display demand characteristics or evaluation apprehension.

3. The experimenter maintains control over the independent variable.

Demerits or Disadvantages

1. Because many manipulations of the independent variable may be quite subtle, they may pass by unnoticed by the participants.Similarly the reactions of the participants may also be subtle and may pass by unnoticed by the experimenter.

2. In control to the laboratory setting the experimenter has less control over the effect of extraneous variables which might interfere with the purity of the cause-effect relationship.

3. Because participants are not aware of their participation in an experiment , there are ethical concerns such as invasion of privacy and lack of informed consent.

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what is Psychological Testing.

Psychological testing is related to measurement.

There are two types of measurement.

Physical measurement: is related to length, depth, weight, color and temperature etc.

Psychological measurement: is related to human mentally and psychologically state, trait, conditions and characteristics.

Definitions.

"A psychological test is essentially an objective & standard measure of a sample of behavior".
(Anne Anastasi)

"It is the standardized tool by which we measure cognitive behavior".
(Hilgard)

"A psychological test measures individual differences".
(Hilgard)

"Psychological tests are used to make important decisions about individual".
"A psychological test is a standardized measure of a sample of person's behavior".

Test and Measurement

The term psychological test brings to mind a number of conflicting images. On the 1 hand the term might make one think of the type of test so often described in television, movies and popular literature, wherein a patient answers questions like, "How long have you hated your mother?" and in doing so reveals hidden facts of his or her personality to clinician. On the other hand the psychological test might refer to a long series of multiple-choice questions such as those answered by hundreds of high school students taking college entrance examinations. Another type of psychological test is the self-scored type publish in Reader's Digest which purports to tell you whether your marriage is on the rocks, whether you are as anxious as the next fellow, or whether you should change your job or your life-style.
The 1st question is , "Why is psychological testing important?".
There are several possible answers to this question, but we believe that the best answer lies in the simple statement.

Tests are used to make important decisions about individuals.

College admissions officers consult test score before deciding to admit or reject applicant.
Clinical psychologists use a variety of objective and projective tests in the process of choosing a course of treatment for individual clients.
The military uses test scores as aids in deciding which jobs an individual soldier might be qualified to filled.
Tests are used in the world of work, both in personnel selection and in professional certification and licensure.
Psychological tests are used to measure a wide variety of attributes-intelligence, motivation, mastery of seventh-grade mathematics, vocational preferences, spatial ability, anxiety, form perception and countless other.

In reality no method guarantees complete accuracy. Although psychological tests are far from perfect, they represents the best, fairest and most accurate technology available for making many important decisions about individuals. Psychological testing is not only important and highly controversial , it is a highly specialized and somewhat technical enterprise.

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Characteristics of Psychological Testing

The diversity of psychological tests is staggering. Thousands of different psychological tests are available commercially in English-speaking countries, and doubtlessly hundreds of others are published in other part of the world. These test range from personality inventories to self-scored IQ tests, from scholastic examinations to perceptual tests. Yest despite this diversity several features are common to all psychological tests and taken together serve to define the term test.

A psychological test is a measurement instrument that has three defining characteristics:

  • A psychological test is a sample of behavior.
  • The sample is obtained under standardized conditions.
  • There are established rules for scoring or obtaining quantitative (numeric) information from the behavior sample.
Behavior Sampling

"The representative sample of behavior which is under consideration is known as sample of behavior".

Human sample of behavior is a complex phenomenon.We cant measure the human behavior at any cost, because it starts from birth and remains till death. Incidental behavior is not listed in sample of behavior. it based on specific human behavior.

Every psychological test requires the respondent to do something. The subject's behavior is used to measure some specific attribute(e.g Introversion) or to predict some specific outcome (e.g Success in a job training program).The use of behavior sample in psychological measurement has several implications. First a psychological test is not an exhaustive measurement of all possible behavior that could be used in measuring or defining a particular attribute. For example, You wished to develop a test to measure a person's writing ability. One strategy would be to collect and evaluate everything that person had ever written, from term papers to laundry lists. Such a procedure would be highly accurate, but impractical. A psychological test attempts to proximate this exhaustive procedure by collecting a systematic sample of behavior, In this case writing-test might include a series of short essays, sample letters, memos and the like.

The second implication of is the quality of a test is largely determined by the representativeness of this sample. For example One could construct a driving test in which each examinees was required to drive the circuit of a race track. This test would certainly sample some aspects of driving , but would omit others such as parking, following signals or negotiating in traffic. It would therefore not not represent a very good driving test.

Standardization

"Standardization implies the uniformity of procedure both in administering and scoring the test".

More over a test should be a standardized over representative sample of population to obtain norms.The result of some tests must be comparable within the population.
A psychological test is a sample of behavior collected under standardized conditions. The conditions under which a test is administered are certain to effect the behavior of the person or person taking the test. You would probably give different answers to questions on an intelligence test or a personality inventory administered in a quiet well-lit room than you would if the same test were administered at a baseball stadium during extra innings of a play-off game.A student is likely to do better on a test that is given in a regular classroom environment than he or she would if the same test were given in a hot, noisy auditorium. It is not possible to achieve the same degree of standardization with all psychological logical tests.

Individually administered tests are difficult to standardize because the examiner is an integral part of the test. The same test given to the same subject by two different examiners is certain to elicit a somewhat different set of behaviors. Through specific training a good deal of standardization in the essential features of testing can be achieved. Strict standard procedures for administering various psychological tests helps to minimize the effects of extraneous variables, such as the physical conditions of testing, the characteristics of the examiner or the subject's confusion regarding the demands of the test. A large diversity exist among different psychological test and thousands of different tests in the market.

Scoring Rules

The immediate aim of testing is to measure or to describe in a quantitative way some attribute or set of attributes of the person taking the test. The final defining characteristic of a psychological test is that there must be some set of rules or procedures for describing in quantitative or numeric terms the subject's behavior in response to the test. These rules must be sufficiently comprehensive and well defined that different exminers will assign scores that are at-least similar. For a classroom test these rules may be simple and well defined, the student earn a certain number of points for each item answered correctly and the total score is determined by adding up the points. For other types of tests the scoring rules may not be so simple or definite.

Most mass-produced standardized tests are characterized by objective scoring rules.In this case the term objective should be taken to indicate that two people each applying the same set of scoring rules to an individual's responses will always arrive at the same score for that individual. Thus two teachers who score the same multiple-choice test will always arrive at the same total score. On the other hand many psychological tests are characterized by subjective scoring rules.Subjective scoring rules typically rely on the judgment of the examiner.It is important to note that the term subjective does not necessarily imply inaccurate or unreliable methods of scoring responses to test, but simply that human judgment is an integral part of the scoring of a test. Most psychological tests are designed so that two examiners confronted with the same set of responses will give similar scores. A measure that does not meet this criterion cannot be considered a satisfactory example of a psychological test.

Norms

Scores on psychological tests rarely provide absolute ratio scale measure of psychological attributes.Thus it rarely makes sense to ask in an absolute sense how much intelligence, motivation, depth perception and so on a person has. Scores on psychological tests do however provide useful relative measures.It makes perfect sense to ask whether Scott is more intelligent, is more motivated or has better depth perception than Peter.Psychological tests provide a systematic method of answering such questions.

One of the most useful ways of describing a person's performance on a test is to compare his or her test score to the test scores of some other person or group of people.Many psychological tests base their scores on a comparison between each examinees and some standard population that has already taken the test.When a person's test score is interpreted by comparing that score to the scores of several other people, this is referred to as a norm-based interpretation.The score to which each individual is compared are referred to as norms which provide standards for interpreting test scores.A norm-based score indicates where an individual stands in comparison to the particular normative group that defines the set of standards.

Normative Group

Several different groups might be used in providing normative information for interpreting test scores.First No single population can be regarded as the normative group. Second a wide variety of norm-based interpretations could be made for a given raw score, depending on which normative group is chosen. These two points suggest that careful attention must be given to the definition and development of the particular norms against which a test score will be interpreted.

Types of Norms.

In some cases norms may be developed that are national in scope, as in the case of large achievement test batteries.

1. Percentile Ranks/Norms

The most common form of norms is percentile ranks, which represents the simplest method of presenting test data for comparative purpose. Percentile rank represents the percentage of the norm group that earned a raw score less than or equal to the score of that particular individual.It is possible to compare one's score to several different norm groups.

2. Age Norms

Many psychological characteristics change over time, vocabulary, mathematical ability and moral reasoning are examples.An age norm relates a level of test performance to the age of people who have taken the test.The principle involve in a developing age norms is fairly simple, they can developed for any characteristic that changes systematically with age-at least up to some age level.Second we need to obtain a representative sample at each of several ages and measure the particular age-related characteristics in each of these samples.While age norms tend to emphasize the average level at a given age, it is important to remember that there us considerable variability within the same age, which means that some children at one age will perform on this test similarly to children at other ages.

3. Grade Norms

Another type of norm commonly used in school setting is called a grade norm.Grade norms are very similar to age norms.These norms are most popular when reporting the achievement levels of school children.The interpretation of grade norms is similar to age norms.In areas such as emotional and social growth as well as in other achievement areas the child may not perform at the grade equivalent.

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Types of Tests

1. Tests of Performance

Cronbach 1970 refers to this type of test as a "test of maximal performance" .
The defining feature of a performance test relates to the state of mind of the person taking the test.Performance tests are designed to assess what a person can do under the conditions represented by the testing situation.Standardized tests of mental ability refers to as intelligence tests are the best examples of this type of test.
Performance Testing covers a broad range of engineering or functional evaluations where a material, product, system, or person is not specified by detailed material or component specifications: rather, emphasis is on the final measurable performance characteristics.Performance testing can refer to the assessment of the performance of a human examinees. For example, a behind-the-wheel driving test is a performance test of whether a person is able to perform the functions of a competent driver of an automobile.

In the computer industry, software performance testing is used to determine the speed or effectiveness of a computer, network, software program or device. This process can involve quantitative tests done in a lab, such as measuring the response time or the number of MIPS (millions of instructions per second) at which a system functions. Qualitative attributes such as reliability, scalability and interoperability may also be evaluated. Performance testing is often done in conjunction with stress testing.The computer systems that have been used by the armed services in testing recruits.

2. Behavioral Observations

Many psychological tests involve observing the subject's behavior and responses in a particular context.Observation of typical performance or behavior are used in measuring a variety of attributes, ranging from social skills and friendship formation to job performance.Interviews including both clinical interviews and employment interviews can be thought of as behavior observation methods.Although an applicant may indeed try to "do his best" in an employment interview the task confronting that applicant is relatively unstructured and useful data may be obtained by observing the applicant's behavior in this potentially stressful .Systematic observations of behavior in naturalistic situations are particularly useful in assessing attributes such as social skills or adjustment.The behavior of a patient of a mental ward might be systematically observed and recorded in an effort to assess his or her responses to specific treatment.

This assignment will help you begin to think as a psychologist and note the ways that we think and write about people differently than does the lay public. Choose a fictional character from a movie or television show. If there is an interview in the segment you observe, use it for your report. If there isn't, you may use your imagination and describe an interview. If you do the latter, make sure that your "client" stays in character from the segment you observe to your interview. Include the following in your "report":

1. Demographic variables.

Include identifications of age, race, sex, marital status, etc. as appropriate. That is, I don't need you to tell me that your "client" is a "4-year-old unmarried female."

2. Referral source and reason.

You may need to use your imagination here. Is your "client" referred by parents, partner, court or self? Following a suicide attempt? because of depression? because of significant fighting with partner?

3. Relevant historical information.

You may deem outside information relevant and important to include, especially descriptions of history of the current problem (including onset and course), previous psychiatric history, and substance use and abuse. If you don't observe it, you should say something like the following, "Ms. Smith reports..." or "Mr. Brown denies..."

4. Brief physical description.

Especially include that which may put the client in some context. For example, your client may be seductively or slovenly dressed, skeletal or grossly obese, attractively groomed or with nails that have been bitten so short they are bleeding.

5. Cognitive functioning.

Include descriptions of intelligence (and the observations for this inference), cognitive preoccupations and delusions. Some of your conclusions may be by client's self-report, others from observations.

6. Affect and mood.

What is your client's mood like? Happy, sad, calm, joyful, excited, nervous? Include behavioral observations supporting this conclusion. Describe affective functioning (broad, restricted, flat, inappropriate) and briefly support your conclusion if you describe anything other than broad affect.

7. Behavior.

What is your client's behavior like during your observation? Comment on anything unusual (absence of eye contact, fidgeting, hair twirling, unusual seating in room). Note, however, strengths as well as problems. Include observations of the nature of the relationship you have with the client: cooperative, uncooperative, good, poor, etc.

8. Any other relevant information.

You may deem other kinds of information relevant and important to include, especially descriptions of history of the current problem (including onset and course), previous psychiatric history, and substance use and abuse. If you don't observe it, you should say something like the following, "Client reports..." or "Client denies..."

A good report is: (a) well-written; (b)brief and succinct (approximately two pages); (c) describes a range of functioning, not just the problem area; (d) describes potential problems accurately without making undocumented inferences; (e) recognizes contextual variables that may influence your observations; (f) empathic and respectful; and (g) includes a brief summary at the end of the paper. This is more difficult to do well the first time than you might think. Do not wait til the night before this paper is due to begin!!!

These are possibilities of interviews that you may use in your case observation. Remember, you don't need a movie with an interview, although it will often make this paper much easier. Possibilities include Agnes of God, Analyze this, Analyze that, Annie Hall, Awakenings, Beautiful mind, Clockwork orange, Couch therapy, Dead man walking, Deconstructing Harry, Don Juan de Marco, Donnie Darko, Don't say a word, Equus, Final analysis, Girl, interrupted, Good Will Hunting, Kiss the girls, Lovesick, Mad love, Made for each other, Miracle on 34th Street, Mumford, Mr. Jones, Nuts, One flew over the cuckoo's nest, Ordinary people, Patch Adams, Primal fear, Prince of tides, Shakespeare in love, Silence of the lambs, Sixth sense, Sybil, What about Bob, Whose life is it anyways?and Wit. There are also interesting (perhaps not good) examples of interviews on TV shows including Allie McBeal, Ellen, Sopranos and Home improvement.

An example of this project can be found here.

Some things to think about:

Use past tense to talk about things that have happened; use present tense to talk about things that are happening or that will continue. That is, "He was dressed casually in clothes appropriate for work," but "He is a 28-year-old male."

Use your clients' names. They are people, not objects. Instead of "The client said..." say "Ms. Jones was..." Refer to adults by a title and last name (e.g., Dr. White or Ms. Brown); this is more respectful and keeps us from forgetting that, although these are people who have run into problems, they are people first and foremost. Refer to children and teens by first name after identifying them by first and last name in your opening paragraph.

You may draw inferences -- in fact, you should -- but support your conclusions with observations. For example, "She was cooperative during the interview, responding to all questions and expanding on these."

Your first sentence in most paragraphs should generally be expanded on in later sentences:

Throughout the session, Ms. Jones' mood was depressed and her affect flat.She maintained little eye contact and, while cooperative in answering questions during the session, was largely unresponsive to emotional stimuli. All replies occurred after a long pause and had a hopeless and helpless feel to them. For example, in response to the question, "What would you like to be different," she said, "I don't know. What's the use?"

Note that the points in this paragraph develop your opening statement and support it. Contradictions and inconsistencies in behavior often make your conclusions richer.
While Mr. Pink was generally cooperative during the interview, when his family was mentioned he stood up and angrily stalked out of the room saying, "It wasn't like you think!"He calmed down rapidly and returned to the therapy room, but avoided questions about his family, as though he had not heard them.

Your conclusions and recommendations at the end of your paper should be well-supported by your observations and inferences within your paper.Do not recommend therapy unless you have identified a problem within your paper.We don't do therapy "just because..."

Guidelines for Behavioral Observations

Behavioral observations of students should:

1. Be systematic and take place in a variety of settings.
2. Be done by different IEP (Individualized Education Program) team members.
3. Provide a clear picture of the behavior using one or more of the following procedures:
  • Narrative recording that describes specific skills the student demonstrates, the types of directions the student responds to best, social interactions, and personal appearance.
  • Time sampling or interval recording that examines whether or not a specific behavior is occurring at predetermined intervals (for example, every 2 minutes).A disadvantage of time sampling is that it does not reflect the frequency of behaviors on an ongoing basis.
  • Event sampling that waits for a specific behavior to occur and then records the frequency and duration of the behavior.A disadvantage may be that the student fails to exhibit the targeted behavior, such as social interaction.
  • Rating scales that provide a more structured technique to observe and record behaviors.
3. Self-Reports

The final class of tests includes a variety of measures that ask the subject to report or describe his or her feelings, attitudes, beliefs, values, opinions or physical or mental state.Many personality inventories can be regarded as self-report tests.This category also includes a variety of surveys, questionnaires and polls.Self-reports are not necessarily taken at face value.
A number of measurement techniques contain features of both behavior observations and self-reports.For example interviews may include questions dealing with the respondent's thoughts. opinions or feelings; this is particularly true for clinical interviews.

A self-report inventory is a type of psychological test in which a person fills out a survey or questionnaire with or without the help of an investigator. Self-report inventories often ask direct questions about symptoms, behaviors, and personality traits associated with one or many mental disorders or personality types in order to easily gain insight into a patient's personality or illness. Most self-report inventories can be taken or administered within five to 15 minutes, although some, like the MMPI, can take up to three hours to fully complete.
A self report study is a type of survey, questionnaire, or poll in which respondents read the question and select a response by themselves without researcher interference.

Some problems of self report studies

The biggest problem with self-report inventories is that patients may exaggerate symptoms in order to make their situation seem worse, or they may under-report the severity or frequency of symptoms in order to minimize their problems. For this reason, self-report inventories should be used only for measuring for symptom change and severity and should never be solely used to diagnose a mental disorder. Clinical discretion is advised for all self-report inventories.

Many personality tests, such as the MMPI or the MBTI are designed to make it very difficult for a person to exaggerate traits and symptoms. However, these tests suffer from the inherent problems associated with personality theory and testing, in that personality is a fluid concept that can be difficult to define. Most personality inventories are based on a particular personality theory.

1. Unreliable answers
  • Respondents may exaggerate
  • Respondents may be embarrassed
  • Forgetfulness
2. A biased selection of interviewees
  • Non respondents may distort data

Popular Self-Report Inventories
  • 16 PF
  • Beck Anxiety Inventory
  • Beck Depression Inventory
  • Beck Hopelessness Scale
  • California Psychological Inventory
  • Geriatric Depression Scale
  • Hirschfeld Mood Disorder Questionnaire
  • Kuder Occupational Interest Survey
  • Major Depression Inventory
  • Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory
  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
References

(Anne Anastasi, Psychological Testing)
(Aiken, L.R. (2002) "Psychological Testing and Assessment." New York: Allyn & Bacon)

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Functions and Uses of Psychological testing

1. Detection of specific Behavior

Psychological test is used to measure and to detect the abilities of a person.

2. Individual Differences

A psychological test is used to measure the individual differences, that is different between abilities of different persons and the performance of the same person at different time.

3. To diagnose by the Psychological Test

The psychological tests are usually used in clinical psychology.In clinical psychology a test's function is to diagnose mental disorders.So tests are used in mental hospitals and coaching and guidance centers for the assessment and diagnose of mental disorders.Major tests are
MMPI, (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory)
RISB, (Roter Incomplete Sentences Blank)
Bender Gestalt Test,
and RPM, (Revon Progressive Matrices) etc.

4. Legal Classification

A psychological test helps in classifying a number of people into different categories For example normal and abnormal, criminal and innocent, intellectual and mental retarded, able and disable etc.

Methods of Legal Classification

Selection

The person who express certain level of performance on a test are selected and others are rejected.

Screening

An ordinary test refers to a quick survay to located individuals who may need or be eligible for special treatment.

Certification

At the end of certain training program a test is used to recomended that the objectives of training program has been aciehved and the person has the acquired the desired skill to perform in the relevant field.

Placement

Placement is a sorting process that provides different level of serving for different persons.

5. Promoting Self Understanding

A psychological test provide standardized information about the abilities, capabilities, aptitudes, potential competencies interest, trait and states of a person which helps in understanding one's personality and planing future prospective.

6. Program Evaluation

An effectiveness of a particular program is assessed by the applications of some kind of test.This function is usually perform by an achievement test.

7. Scientific Inquiry or Research

Some experts use tests for research purpose which provide information about the mental level and personality of the subject.

8. Military Selection

A closely related application of psychological testing is to be found in the selection and classification of military personal.From simple beginnings in the World War-I, the scope and variety of psychological tests employed in military situations underwent a phenomenal increase during World War-II. Subsequently research on test development has been containing on a large scale in all brands of the normed services.

9. Industry

In industry and business tests are helpful in selection and classifying personal for placement in jobs that range from the simpler semiskilled to the highly skilled, from the selection of filling clerks and sales-person to top management for any of these position, however test results are only one source of information , though an important one.
Industrial and Organizational Psychology (also known as I-O psychology, industrial-organizational psychology, work psychology, organizational psychology, work and organizational psychology, industrial psychology, occupational psychology, personnel psychology or talent assessment) applies psychology to organizations and the workplace. In January 2010, the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) announced that, as a result of a membership vote, it would retain its name and not change it to the Society for Organizational Psychology (TSOP) to eliminate the word "Industrial". "Industrial-organizational psychologists contribute to an organization's success by improving the performance and well-being of its people. An I-O psychologist researches and identifies how behaviors and attitudes can be improved through hiring practices, training programs, and feedback systems."

I-O psychology is represented by Division 15 of the American Psychological Association.
Common research and practice areas for I-O psychologists include:
  • Job performance
  • Job analysis
  • Personnel recruitment and selection
  • Performance appraisal/management
  • Individual assessment (knowledge, skills, and ability testing, personality assessment, work sample tests, assessment centers)
  • Psychometrics
  • Compensation
  • Training and training evaluation/Development
  • Employment law
  • Work motivation
  • Job attitudes (e.g., job satisfaction, commitment, organizational citizenship, and retaliation)
  • Occupational health and safety
  • Work/life balance
  • Human factors and decision making
  • Organizational culture/climate
  • Organizational surveys
  • Leadership and executive coaching
  • Ethics
  • Diversity
  • Job design
  • Human resources
  • Organizational development (OD)
  • Organizational research methods
  • Technology in the workplace
  • Group/team performance
  • Employ safety and health
I-O psychologists are trained in the “scientist-practitioner” model. The training enables I-O psychologists to employ scientific principles and research-based designs to generate knowledge. They use what they have learned in applied settings to help clients address workplace needs. I-O psychologists are employed as professors, researchers, and consultants. They also work within organizations, often as part of a human resources department where they coordinate hiring and organizational development initiatives from an evidence-based perspective.
Industrial psychology is a relatively new branch of psychology that was created for corporations and organizations that needed more structure. Industrial psychology is able to provide this structure by evaluating employee behavior for the good of the company. It is often referred to as organizational psychology because of its emphasis on analyzing individuals who work for various organizations.

Essentially, industrial psychologists study the behavior of employees in a work setting. Although industrial psychology didn't begin until the 1920's, the discipline has evolved rapidly and revolutionized the workplace within the last century. Because the workplace is a social system, the application of industrial psychology is useful in understanding its complexity.

10. Education

Psychological tests especially those of general intelligence and of specific aptitudes have very extensive use in educational classification, selection and planing from the 1st grade (and sometimes earlier) through the university.Prior to World War-II schools and colleges were the largest user of psychological tests.

"Now at present schools are among the largest test users".

Educational psychology is the study of how humans learn in educational settings, the effectiveness of educational interventions, the psychology of teaching, and the social psychology of schools as organizations. Educational psychology is concerned with how students learn and develop, often focusing on subgroups such as gifted children and those subject to specific disabilities. Although the terms "educational psychology" and "school psychology" are often used interchangeably, researchers and theorists are likely to be identified in the US and Canada as educational psychologists, whereas practitioners in schools or school-related settings are identified as school psychologists. This distinction is however not made in the UK, where the generic term for practitioners is "educational psychologist."
Educational psychology can in part be understood through its relationship with other disciplines. It is informed primarily by psychology, bearing a relationship to that discipline analogous to the relationship between medicine and biology. Educational psychology in turn informs a wide range of specialties within educational studies, including instructional design, educational technology, curriculum development, organizational learning, special education and classroom management. Educational psychology both draws from and contributes to cognitive science and the learning sciences. In universities, departments of educational psychology are usually housed within faculties of education, possibly accounting for the lack of representation of educational psychology content in introductory psychology textbooks.

11. Mental Hospitals

In clinical or mental hospitals psychological tests are used primarily for individual diagnoses of factors associated with personal problems of learning, behavior attitudes or specific interpersonal relations.
Another areas are JAILS, CORRECTIONAL CENTERS and TRAINING INSTITUTIONS etc.

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