What is the scientific method, as used in Psychology?

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Danielle Joynson Profile
The scientific method is a method of critical thinking that is interested in establishing objective truths, and eliminating subjective bias.

The scientific method is employed in all branches of science - not just in psychology - and the approach employed across all fields is fundamentally the same.

An Outline of the Scientific Method
The process begins with making direct observations of whatever it is that is being studied. This stage can be subjective, since it often involves observing phenomena in the field, without proper scientific rigour. An hypothesis (a proposed explanation) is then put forward to explain what's been observed.

This hypothesis is then tested in laboratory conditions, where all variables are controlled (independent variables), and their effects upon the dependent variable (the outcome being measured) is observed.

As data is accumulated, this will feed into the development of new hypotheses, which will also in turn be tested. This continual loop of hypothesis proposal and testing will hopefully be used to construct a theory, once enough data has been collected. This approach is known as the Inductive Model.
The Deductive Model begins with constructing a theory at the beginning of the research, after the initial observations have been made. Testing is then employed to disprove the theory, or the results are reincorporated into an improved theory.

The purpose of the approach used by the scientific method to gain knowledge is to establish a causal link between the presence of certain factors, and a particular outcome. The hypothesis might state that 'A' causes 'B', and the experiments subsequently conducted will then attempt to disprove this claim.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
The Scientific Method is a form of critical thinking based upon careful controlled observation and measurement. It contains six key elements:

  1. Observations
  2. Define problem
  3. Proposing hypothesis
  4. Collecting evidence/testing hypothesis
  5. Publishing results
  6. Theory building

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Anonymous