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Research Ideas, Critiquing Research, and Hypotheses
Experimental Psychology
Lecture, Chapter 2

The Research Idea
A good research idea incorporates an identifiable gap in literature.

    Likelihood of success



Surveying the Psychological Literature
Developing a good research question involves the process of articulating a measurable, “operational” question reflecting an overlay of variables performing within the boundaries of specific, defined circumstances encompassed in an identified context.

Selection of index terms
Use synonyms and related concepts to your concepts of interest
    APA’s Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms (2001)
    Computerized search
    Psychological abstracts


Obtaining relevant publications
    Use what is available in the ORU library.
    Submit Interlibrary Loan (ILL) request.
    Contact author directly.
Integrating the results of the search
    State purpose
    Describe methods used
    State results.
    Summarize discussion and evaluation

Research Hypotheses
Formulate the research or experimental hypotheses based on what prior research and intuition tells you the outcome will be.
    Should be stated in a general implication (if…then) form.
    Important characteristics
        Must adhere to the principle of falsifiability.
        Cannot be “proven” absolutely, due to the synthetic nature of the statement.
        Must incorporate either of the following types of reasoning:

Directionality in Research Hypotheses
A nondirectional hypothesis states that there will be a difference between the control and experimental groups but does not state which group will be higher or lower.

A directional hypotheses states which of the experimental and control groups will be higher.

Critiquing Research
Literature review – comprehensive enough? Related to research question?
Research question – clear?
Hypotheses – appropriate form?
Key variables – operationally defined?
IV and DV – appropriate?
Did you detect the influence of extraneous variables?
Design – adequate?
Methods – could they be replicated easily?
Sampling method – appropriate?
Group equivalence?
Enough participants?
Problems with data collection methods?
Statistical tests – correct?
Means, SD’s, and effect sizes given?
Tables and figures clear and appropriate?
Interpretation – logical?
Conclusions – justified?
References in order?
Were standards of ethics adhered to?