•Differentiate types of research (e.g., experiments, correlational studies, survey research, naturalistic observations, case studies) with regard to purpose, strengths, and weaknesses.
•Describe how research design drives the reasonable conclusions that can be drawn (e.g., experiments are useful for determining cause and effect; the use of experimental controls reduces alternative explanations).
•Identify independent, dependent, confounding, and control variables in experimental designs.
•Distinguish between random assignment of participants to conditions in experiments and random selection of participants, primarily in correlational studies and surveys.
•Predict the validity of behavioral explanations based on the quality of research design (e.g., confounding variables limit confidence in research conclusions).
•Distinguish the purposes of descriptive statistics and inferential statistics.
•Apply basic descriptive statistical concepts, including interpreting and constructing graphs and calculating simple descriptive statistics (e.g., measures of central tendency, standard deviation).
•Discuss the value of reliance on operational definitions and measurement in behavioral research.
•Identify how ethical issues inform and constrain research practices.
•Describe how ethical and legal guidelines (e.g., those provided by the American Psychological Association, federal regulations, local institutional review boards) protect research participants and promote sound ethical practice

Essential Questions:
  • How do psychologists use the scientific method to study behavior and mental processes?
  • Which methods of research are appropriate for the study of different behaviors?
  • How do psychologists draw appropriate conclusions about behavior from research?
  • How do psychologists make ethical decisions about researching behavior with human and animal subjects?
Key Terms and Key People: