Reserach, Statistics, and Psychology
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Research, Statistics, and Psychology
Sharon Mohr
April 4, 2011
Kim Ball
Research, Statistics, and Psychology
Research is a combination of observation and reasoning, and is based on how these two factors relate to what is already known (Ostle & Malone, 1988). Statistics are important in psychology because they provide a way for people to understand the research. Statistics provide a starting point for research, which in turn, produces more accurate statistics. Statistics are useful in forecasting or predicting behaviors or events, and in reviewing measures and outcomes. Research is often performed using scientific method, which is a specific systematic way of gathering information. Once analyzed and interpreted, information assembled from research can be a useful tool in areas such as psychological and medical treatment.

Research is defined in many ways. The term is often used loosely for any process that involves a review of literary material, or to identify a search for an answer to almost anything. A dictionary may use words such as inquiry or investigation to describe research. Research is a way to discover how and why something is the way it is, or works the way it works. Research can involve observation, or experiments, tests, surveys, interviews, questionnaires, and clinical studies. Research can describe, explain, or predict something or some process, or can help researchers to understand the behavior of people or animals.

In the scientific arena, research is a methodical way of gaining insight. The definition of research has many interpretations; not just one specific definition of the term will satisfy everyone. People often think of research as a highly scientific process. A particular process or method that is acceptable to scientific standards does exist. Although science is often at the forefront of research that does not mean that there cannot be mistakes during the process. A responsible researcher will ensure unbiased research and reliable results.

Five basic steps outline the scientific method, keeping the method systematic, providing logical order, and attempting to provide objective results. The five steps include (a) choose a topic to study, (b) compile a guess about the outcome (form a hypotheses), (c) perform experiments or conduct a study to prove or disprove the hypotheses, (d) record and analyze the data, and (e) interpret the results (Cowens, 2006). The researcher must careful not to present his or her results as one-sided; it is more important to find the true answer than to find the researchers idea of what the answer should be (Cowens, 2006).

Primary information or information collected through the firsthand method, that is, information gathered directly by the researcher, generally produces the most reliable results; more so than the use of only secondary research. Additionally, the primary information is more likely to be more current. As the primary researcher, the experimenter knows that the information has been gathered specifically for his

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