Read the “Research Areas of Emphasis in Professional Psychology” article and select a topic of psychological research discussed in the article (e.g., evidence-based treatments, veterans/active military, multicultural issues, ethical issues, natural disasters, forensic, health, child psychology, suicide, chronic pain, rural practice, interpersonal violence, graduate/internship training and education, managed care issues, or professional roles). This topic will be used as the focus of the literature review you will be creating as part of your Final Project, as well as for aspects of other assignments within this course, so select a topic that is of personal interest to you.
In your post, discuss some of the methodological issues unique to this psychological research.
- State the topic you selected and then write two potential research questions that could be explored on the topic you selected.
- Identify at least one potential research design to answer each of the research questions you wrote (you will identify a total of two designs).
- Each question will require a different research design to be selected to investigate the topic.
After reading and studying this chapter, students should be able to:
• describe the scientific method and the assumptions and values of science.
• articulate the characteristics of critical thinking and exhibit critical thinking behavior.
• understand the dimensions upon which theories are evaluated.
• generate ideas and locate information relevant to an applied project in psychology.
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Do you like roller coasters? Do you like the twists, turns, unexpected outcomes, loops, G-forces, anticipation of the climb to the top, and all the complexity of a 2-minute roller coaster ride? So much planning and detail goes into the experi- ence—there is the slow climb to the top, the rapid acceleration, the mutual joy and fear of coming up off your seat but being held in by the harness. In many ways, the tools of psychology can give you the ability to tell compelling stories, by setting the stage care- fully, revealing the action with its own twists and turns, and then the inevitable compari- son to prior stories (and roller coasters). If you are seriously interested in understanding the mysteries of human behavior from an objective and systematic perspective, then the ability to apply research methods in psychology is an essential tool for you to acquire and master. Like any complex tool, it will take time and practice to master, and the ultimate goal of this book is to help you start (or continue) your journey on this exciting path.
Fundamentally, psychology is an empirical (research-based) science, and if you want to have any understanding of psychology and what psychologists do, you should under- stand research and apply research methods. It’s our set of principles—principles that transcend different specialty areas and training approaches across psychology. Even if you have no desire to be a researcher in the future, you’re going to need to understand research and be a good consumer of psychological research. Some students will say that they only want to “help people” and that they do not want so much background and training in research. However, the cutting-edge areas of clinical and counseling psychol- ogy formulate new therapeutic approaches on evidence-based treatment (Kazdin, 2008). Think of it this way: If you want to help people, it would be nice to have both confidence and evidence that you are helping. Having a chance to demonstrate your knowledge and skills prior to graduation is an important opportunity for both you and your institution.
Voices from the Workplace
Your name: Courtnee R.
Your age: 29
Your gender: Female
Your primary job title: Special Investigator
Your current employer: Florida Farm Bureau Insurance Co.
How long have you been employed in your present position?
3 1/2 years
What year did you graduate with your bachelor’s degree in psychology?
Describe your major job duties and responsibilities.
I investigate suspicious/questionable and fraudulent claims submitted to my company on behalf of the insured party or claimant party. I handle varying forms of issues that range from auto accidents in which someone is claiming an injury that is questionable in nature or potentially pre-existing that they are claiming occurred as a result of the current accident, to home invasions resulting in damage to the property or theft of contents. I also investigate staged auto accident rings, fraudulent or (continued)
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phony billing companies, stolen autos, and catastrophe claims resulting from tornadoes and/or hur- ricanes. I also conduct extensive background investigations and interviews.
What elements of your undergraduate training in psychology do you use in your work?
On a daily basis I am analyzing background data on people, medical documents, police reports, prior interviews, etc. Due to the finite and specific nature of the documents and information I am looking at, I have to have concentrated attention to detail. Many of my undergraduate psychology classes empha- sized training in this—giving me the skills I now utilize on a daily basis. Additionally, I conduct many interviews wherein I have to have a thorough understanding of human nature and behavior in order to obtain the information I need or am trying to uncover.
What do you like most about your job?
I love the independence and flexibility my job allows. My manager trusts and expects that I perform my job well, and without handholding. I’ve earned that privilege over time and now reap the benefits of leaving at noon if I am done for the day.
What do you like least about your job?