Generalization and interpretation of the results of psychological research
As a result of mastering the material of the chapter, students should:
• regulatory requirements for the development, adaptation and use of techniques, the structure of the research process, the principles of psychological research and interpretation of data;
• the main sources and opportunities for the appearance of errors and distortions inherent in the methods of researching the personality, activity, group, organization, management system, ways and ways of preventing and compensating them;
be able to
• Orient in the modern scientific concepts of descriptive and experimental psychology, personality and group, independently analyze their methodological and theoretical foundations in order to identify and select adequate methods for a specific psychological study of the problem;
• when planning and psychological study of the individual and the group to observe the necessary organizational, methodological and moral and ethical requirements and norms;
• take into account the influence of factors affecting the variability of empirical data and their interpretation;
• Planning, organizing and conducting a psychological experiment;
• Evaluation of the degree of applicability of specific techniques, the choice of the most appropriate methods of analysis and resolution of psychological problems;
• Developing psychologically sound recommendations to staff and team leaders and organizations.
Organization of psychological research
As a rule, three main types of psychological research are distinguished: theoretical, empirical and applied.
Recall that under the term experiment (from Latin experimentum - test, experience) is understood exactly scientific experience, i.e. observation of the event under study in precisely taken into account conditions that allow monitoring its progress and reproducing it repeatedly when these conditions are repeated. Its synonym is the concept of empiric (from Greek empeiria - experience). However, unlike the experiment, the concept of "empiric" two meanings are embedded: firstly, human experience as perception of the external world, and secondly observation in the natural environment.
In psychology, empiricism is understood as any combination of facts and not only those that provide sensory experience. Empirical is called research, of which part is the acquisition of data in various ways, including methods of observation, self-observation, laboratory, natural experiment, modeling, etc.
The division of research into theoretical and empirical is to a large extent conditional. When the procedural aspect is brought to the fore in the research, its definition as theoretical or empirical is carried out by the criterion of the presence or absence of the process of collecting empirical data. If these actions are carried out in the course of research work, then we can talk about the empirical nature of the work. In isolating the productive side of research in the first place, in the majority of cases its definition as theoretical or empirical is possible with even greater conventionality, since in any research the psychologist always comes to the collection and analysis of facts on the basis of any research theory. However, we must remember that any theoretical work relies on a certain array of empirical facts and, in its conclusions, is oriented both to a certain direction of scientific research and to the methods of obtaining these data.
The organization of psychological research consists of at least six consecutive stages : the formulation of a working hypothesis, the choice of a measuring instrument of research, "design" experiment or selection of an experimental plan (study design), sampling of subjects, preparation and conduct of the study, summarizing the results of the experiment, which includes the interpretation of the results, determining conclusions about the confirmation or rejection of the hypothesis and publication on the topic.
Psychological research is built in accordance with a certain algorithm, which is schematically depicted in Fig. 6.1.
Fig. 6.1. Schematic diagram of the experiment
The formulation of a working hypothesis is carried out within a specific subject, topic, or primary statement of the research problem. After working with information sources (scientific literature, reports, reports, articles, audio and video recordings, films, etc.), the researcher clarifies the content of the working hypothesis and determines the experimental variables.
This stage includes working with literature; the definition of the problem, the object and the subject of the study; formation of the concept of the experiment itself; definition of goals and objectives.
Working with Literature begins with the mastering of the basic concepts related to the topic under consideration. For this, dictionaries, reference books and encyclopedias are used. Particular attention should be paid to references to the most popular works in this field of knowledge and to the creativity of scientists who have made the main contribution to the study of the phenomena under study. A bibliography on the topic (database) is then compiled. For this, first of all, preliminary acquaintance with the subject of research is carried out by studying abstract journals in which ordered bibliographic records are published including bibliographic descriptions, abstracts and annotations for articles from periodicals, books, deposited scientific works, etc. It is necessary to pay due attention to to reference bibliographic publications on psychology and social sciences. As a result, the researcher should have an exhaustive idea of the number of publications on the topic, the time frame of publications, the interest of scientists in this issue, and the like.
It is recommended to start reading from the works of the most famous, often quoted authors, who made the greatest contribution to the development of the problem under study. Particular attention should be paid to monographs that have an index that helps to familiarize themselves with the most important fragments of the book.
The book's summary usually starts with recording its full output. It is desirable to rewrite the conclusions of the author, in the form in which they are stated in the work. With abbreviations, it is necessary to observe a certain system of notations, which will allow us to distinguish between quoted passages, a brief summary of thoughts, comments and remarks by the author. It is advisable to indicate to which pages of publication each fragment or quote applies. The review accelerates the system of reductions. In the abstract of the article describing the experimental study, it is necessary to indicate the list of methods used, the description of the original (author's) methods, the research procedure, the volume of the experimental sample, socio-demographic parameters, age, gender, education level, occupation, membership in a particular social group and other significant parameters of the sample of subjects.
The collected information materials can be arranged according to a chronological, objective or logical principle. In particular, L. V. Kulikov offers a description of the structure of the logical principle of ordering the theoretical information collected by researchers.
1. Phenomenological description, i. description of the manifestation of events, which may include: the area of manifestations, frequency, time, intensity, modal characteristics.
2. The place of this phenomenon among other psychic phenomena, i.e. its interrelations, mutual influences, the factors that determine it, and the phenomenon-effects on which it affects.
3. Consideration of the text with support on the system, holistic, integrated, environmental, etc. approaches. With any approach, attention must be paid to the composition of the elements of the phenomenon under study, to its structure. In psychology, the structure is most often understood as the functional aspect (stable relationships between individual functions). Sometimes individual functions are combined into functional blocks and consider interrelationships between blocks.
4. The essence or nature of the phenomenon is the definitions of the given psychological phenomenon available in the literature, as well as the characteristics of various points of view on its understanding.
5. Patterns, trends or rules to which the phenomenon under investigation is subject.
6. Applied, practical use of the phenomenon, properties or functions.
The problem, object and subject of research should be one of the main aspects of the literary review. In it, it is necessary to note the degree of study of the problem being developed (to determine how much it has been studied as a whole, its individual aspects, to identify poorly studied aspects, the existence of theoretical and empirical contradictions).
The lack of knowledge, the contradictory nature of scientific concepts creates the conditions for the formulation of a research problem, which implies: the identification of a shortage of scientific knowledge in this field (topic); the existence of a need to resolve this problem; an indication of the problem situation and its definition in scientific terms.
The object of inquiry (knowledge) is a fragment of the ideal world, existing independently of the researcher and from the psychological science, and reflecting the real phenomenon. Specific object of psychological research can not be an individual, group or community of people, etc. Psychology, like any other social science, is studying an ideal world. And therefore in psychology, a specific object is the psyche, which is a known function, i.e. ideal. A psychic as a reflection of the objective world by man is an individual reflection, a group is a group reflection, a people, a nation, a social society, etc. A person or group (an experimental sample as part of a population) is the bearer of a psychological object.
Specific psychological subject of research (cognition) - these are the properties, sides, relationships of mental objects, considered in certain historical and objective conditions. For each science in any subject of inquiry (general scientific, interdisciplinary, special) there is a private, private side of the study. It is formulated differently in theoretical, empirical and applied research. The list of phenomena that can be taken as a subject of psychological research is much broader than the list of objects. As a subject of psychological research can be taken a large number of facets of mental phenomena: mental properties, states, processes, functions, types of behavior, actions, activities and communication, spatial, temporal and strength characteristics of individual phenomena, mutual influences, interrelations between mental and physiological phenomena, etc. The object and subject of psychological research should be called the author of scientific research in order to make it easier to understand the purpose and purpose of the work, to determine its correspondence to research interests and goals.
In the beginning and in the process of research, the concept of the psychological problem in the form of a set of hypotheses, , consciously and unconsciously, which can form a chain of related assumptions stemming from the initial scientific problem. This concept can be a so-called working hypothesis - the "guess that serves to pre-explain certain facts".
The working research hypothesis of the empirical part of the study on the scale of generalizations and constructions may not be similar to the theory. Moreover, the more specific the assumption made, the more clearly defined the scope of its action, the more effective the work will be and the clearer its results will be. A probabilistic assumption about the existence of a psychological phenomenon, the interconnection of phenomena, their properties, the features of development, the conditions of occurrence or manifestation, may well be sufficient as a working hypothesis. If the conducted experiment provides convincing confirmation or refutation of a hypothetical statement, then the path of studying other areas of psychic science will be more clear.
In a theoretical study, it is advisable to adhere to a different orientation. In comprehending the theoretical bases of research in the course of reasoning, the problem is considered from concrete assumptions to the most general views on the nature of the psyche in order to understand more clearly which research paradigm should be adhered to. Remembering scientific objectivity, the researcher should be aware of the extent to which authorities influence him in choosing the path of scientific research.
After identifying the problem, determining the object and the subject of the study, its relevance, i.e. it becomes clear that it is necessary to supplement the theoretical constructs related to the psychological phenomenon under study, the need for new experimental facts that will help to reinforce the theory and the scope of its application. There is a need for effective psychological methods, new measuring tools, in supplementing or reworking psychological theories, concepts, developing recommendations for more complete use by representatives of science and practice.
The purpose of the study is the desired end result. It can be both theoretical and practical.
The main objectives of psychological research can be: the identification of the characteristics of the subject; determining the nature of the relationship between mental phenomena; studying the dynamics and development of the phenomenon; a description of the new psychological effect; the discovery of a new psychological phenomenon; generalization; identification of typology; development or adaptation of psychological methods.
There is no clear distinction between goals, and all of them can be more or less present in the study.
Identifying the characteristics of the object under investigation. The reason for setting such a goal may be the characterization of the mental phenomenon reflected in the literature incompleteness , the study of which is relevant, as well as the presence of contradictions between the various empirical data. When determining the research tasks, it is necessary to find out which characteristics of the subject of the study are to be studied.Determining the nature of the relationship of mental phenomena. This goal of psychological research is quite common, because virtually all facts and phenomena related to one or close mental areas, directly or are indirectly interconnected. The paradigm of the unity of the psyche, adopted in psychology, does not require additional evidence. The establishment of the very existence of communication is not enough. In the study of interrelations, it is necessary to include the tasks of determining the main parameters of the relationships: closeness, orientation, stability, the integrity of the structure of relationships, hierarchy and the essence of connections.
The study of the dynamics and development of the phenomenon. The study of the processes of growth, maturation and development, the age-related variability of the psyche has always been of great importance. At the same time, it is a relatively complex kind of psychological research. BG Ananiev emphasized that development is realized not only in biological time, but also in historical, social. The development of the human psyche is influenced by life experience, the emerging individuality, environment, learning, activities, profession, etc. Carrying out studies of age variables is of a specific complex nature, involving the use of experiments on schemes of "transverse" or longitudinal slices.
Description of the new psychological effect. A new psychological effect is revealed in the course of an experimental study, hypothesis testing. It can be expected or identified when solving related tasks. An example of a study in which an effect is supposed to be detected is the detection of the "incomplete action effect", i.e. greater strength of remembering interrupted tasks in comparison with completed ones. It was revealed by BF Zeigarnik, who experimentally tested the idea of K. Levin about better memorization of interrupted tasks due to the motivational strain remaining in the subject. The tasks of this kind of research can be: to identify the factors that determine the presence or absence of the effect, to determine the strength of its manifestation, the conditions of existence and the explanation of the phenomenon, the diversity and stability of its manifestation.
The discovery of a new psychological phenomenon. The researcher delineates the range of phenomena that will be the subject of consideration, then notes the inconsistency, lack of explanation of the essence of phenomena, introduces new terms and connects them with each other. It is not difficult to introduce new terms, but it is difficult to ensure that they are accepted by the scientific community, where they could be used as concepts. The relation of new concepts or new relations of known concepts should be indicated in explicit form. Regularities of a high level of generality, presented in the form of concepts, are rarely proved or disproved in one experiment or observation. In this case, a considerable amount of data is required, connected with the proven regularity, and, as pointed out by T. Kuhn, the corresponding scientific and historical situation.
Generalization. The goal of the generalization is to identify more general patterns than those presented in modern psychological literature. This can be done by introducing new concepts or by re-defining existing terms, giving them a status of a higher level of generalization, extending the scope of the concept definition.
The researcher should always strive for generalizations, which are an essential component of research work. Ability to generalize is a rather complicated matter. For generalization in psychology, the erudition of the researcher is especially necessary.
Identify a typology - a research task that requires professional experience and broad knowledge. The development of the typology presupposes, first of all, the search and justification of the central criterion-criterion, the delineation of the field of phenomena, where it is constitutively manifested and can be the basis for grouping the psychological phenomena under study. Classification, clearly correlating with a particular theory or concept, can itself affect it.
The development of a psychological technique. The need for the development of a new psychological method is determined by the researcher's desire to increase the reliability of the psychological measurement, to shorten the examination time of subjects, to increase the amount of experimental sampling, to simplify and algorithmize the processing of results. To recommend a new method for application in psychological practice is possible only if a set of all psychometric checks is carried out. However, for research purposes, the technique can be used after passing an incomplete psychometric testing.
Adaptation of the psychological method - is an adaptation or modification of the technique so that it retains its diagnostic capabilities when used in a new social environment or for new research tasks. The adapted methodology should undergo the same psychometric checks as the new technique. The amount of work on adaptation is commensurate with the creation of a new methodology, and the adaptation process is similar to the development of an original methodology.
Research objectives - is the choice of ways and means to achieve its goal. They are formulated in the form of questions, the answers to which will lead to the goal. The tasks include those that will allow you to define related phenomena, interrelations with them, the internal structure of the phenomenon, etc.
With choosing a research tool , special attention should be paid to the selection or development of an appropriate tool for managing independent (X) and dependent (O) variables, determining statistical processing tools and methods for interpreting the results of the study.
The definition of methods and the choice of techniques are closely interrelated. The method is the main principle and way of collecting, processing or analyzing data. The methodology is a form of method implementation, a set of techniques and operations, as well as formalized rules for collecting, processing, interpreting and analyzing psychological information. The choice of methods of investigation is determined by the features of the object, the subject, and the goals of the research. Limitations associated with the possibility of implementing specific techniques often lead to a different definition of the subject of research and change the experimental objectives. This stage of work is closely related to the concretization of research hypotheses, when the preparation of the research is aimed at choosing the path of studying unobservable and unmeasured psychological phenomena by means of those observable signs of behavior and actions that are accessible to direct measurement. When choosing a method, it is necessary to take into account its capabilities and limitations on the criterion of reliability of the evaluation of the studied qualities. It is advisable to create a set of methods taking into account the complementarity of qualitative data with quantitative data, subjective parameters by objective facts. The analysis of a typical representative of the population under study, which can act as a standard, must be supplemented with group analysis results, and group data should be included in the individual's assessment of the individual subject.
Significantly facilitates the interpretation of the situation when the set contains techniques that allow you to obtain data of both qualitative and quantitative nature. The reliability of the psychological assessment increases if in the measuring arsenal of the psychologist there are techniques based on various methodological and technological approaches. Interpretation of results, thus, will be carried out as if from different points of view. And, if, as a result, when several conceptual planes overlap, identical data are obtained, their objectivity is more than obvious.
It is important to remember that in any psychological phenomenon, directly or indirectly components are presented from the cognitive, emotional-volitional, characterological, motivational and behavioral spheres of the psyche. Therefore, a set of methodological tools should also be a means of their psychological evaluation.
It is desirable that along with known, fairly common methods, new and original methods were presented. The number of methods is determined by considerations of expediency and pragmatism. Measuring tools should cover the whole range of research tasks, strive to evaluate as many parameters as possible, meet the criterion of paradigmatic diversity, but it is necessary to understand that long-term experiments wear out subjects, and remember limitations on the level of reliability and ease of application, processing and interpretation of psychological techniques .
Design Experiment includes the choice of the experimental plan, as well as the identification of external variables to control, which can affect the main experimental variables.
It is advisable to compile a list of variables that are of interest to the researcher, then to isolate in it dependent and independent variables, controlled and uncontrolled factors, to decide on the type of processing of the experimental results.
Based on the actual situation, experimental possibilities and goals, the scheme of the research is chosen. For this, vertical and horizontal "design" is implemented. experiment. Vertical design Is the psychologist's account of the possibility in a real situation to form one or several experimental and control groups. Horizontal design is an analysis of the actual circumstances in which the research object is located, allowing you to perform the required number of measurements over the required period of time. Having studied the real situation, the psychologist, proceeding from the set goals and tasks, develops an optimal scheme of research actions.
When studying a certain mental quality, but in relation to other phenomena, a comparative analysis is necessary. Comparison is the basic technology, the cornerstone of scientific psychological analysis. The most popular ways to compare are:
1) comparison of age, ethnic, corporate groups, interest groups, educational level, marital status and other social entities;
2) comparison of polar groups, i.e. the selection in the study sample of groups of subjects for some indication taken as a basis, so that the expression of this characteristic in the compared groups becomes multidirectional. For example, when studying the characteristics of the cognitive sphere in people with higher and lower anxiety, the entire sample is divided into two parts based on the severity of the level of anxiety. Then the average indices of intellectual qualities are compared among themselves. Another method is also possible, when the groups isolated by the criterion of anxiety are divided into two more - by the criterion of expressiveness of cognitive activity. Comparison should be made between high levels of intelligence in individuals with severe anxiety and high rates in individuals with uncommon anxiety, low levels of intelligence in individuals with severe anxiety and low indices of persons with not expressed anxiety. As research practice shows, the differences between polar (extreme) groups are more obvious;
3) the definition of one part of the sample as an experimental group, and the other - as a control group. It is necessary that the groups be related to each other as equivalent (or homogeneous) before the experiment.
Sampling of subjects is made up of the definition of the population under study (the general population) and the acquisition of a representative sample of the participants in the experiment.
The volume of the experimental sample must be calculated using the methods of mathematical design of the experiment. The determination of the sample size is due to research tasks and, above all, to the requirement of representativeness. The practice of experimental research is guided by a figure of 50 people.
For example, in the study of the scheme with the experimental and control groups, sample formation is carried out subject to the equivalence and minimum volume of each group - 35 subjects. This figure is based on a sufficiently pronounced tightness of connection with a correlation coefficient of approximately 0.35 and higher. It should be remembered that the correlation coefficients can be considered significant at a level of 5% (p & lt; 0.05) for a sample size of more than 35 people. In psychological studies, lower significance levels (for example, 10% - p & lt; 0.10) are usually not considered to be worthy of attention. The most important conclusions, which are especially justified on the basis of the data of the correlation analysis, should be confirmed, referring to the significance level of 1% (p & lt; 0.01).
When using factorial or cluster analysis, in practice, an assumption is made about the optimal number of factors at which a satisfactory meaningful interpretation of the results is possible. Usually, in the process of factor analysis, the following trends are taken into account.
1. The fewer signs in the space of which factors are revealed, the more signs will be found which in none of the factors have a significant load and are removed from the subsequent steps of the factor analysis.
2. The more signs, the more factors are revealed and the more unstable the factor structure, which does not allow making reliable conclusions, if they are based only on the results of factor analysis.
The number of subjects, signs (parameters under study), and factors in mathematical and statistical analysis are interrelated values.
Finally, it is necessary to take into account the experience of practical work of experimental psychologists, which shows the following.
1. During the initial data processing, it is usually found out that some of the research protocols are corrupted (there are no answers to all questions, tasks, as answers there are records not provided by the instruction, the nature of the answers shows that the subject misunderstood the instruction, there are "popping up" variants and others) and can not be admitted to further processing.
2. Acquire the sample size is very difficult, so it is better to immediately examine for 5-10% of the subjects more than the required volume.
3. In the experimental sample, different layers and categories of the studied population should be presented. This can be achieved by randomization.
4. In the study of gender differences, samples of men and women that are close in volume and other parameters are studied. If the goal is different, then it is preferable to have a composition of subjects, either homogeneous by sex, or approximately equal in number of persons male and female io.
5. Age parameters of the sample are of great importance, especially if any age before adulthood is being investigated. However, for some experimental purposes within the adult period, the choice of one or another range may not be of much importance. If the main task is to study age differences, then the choice of the age range is determined on the basis of the research hypothesis concerning the age specificity of the phenomenon being studied.
The organization of conducting research consists of: training, instructing, motivating the subjects and organizing the actual process of the experiment.
The preparation process includes: the availability of premises, incentive and registration materials, debugging of the equipment used for 5-10 subjects, clarifying the instruction text and bringing it to the optimal volume - 11- 15 words (IA Butenko, 1989).
Instructing and motivating subjects - is, first of all, bringing to the participants of the study information on opportunities in the form of compensation for time spent. Before the beginning of the experiment it is desirable to conduct a preliminary test of understanding instructions for tests or experimental tasks. It is conducted selectively with 3-5 subjects. At the beginning of the study, participants are instructed in general about the organization, the rules of conduct and the characteristics of the psychological experiment.
The study begins with elucidating the state and mood of people to participate in the experiment. They should be rested, have a normal state of health and desire to participate in the experiment. Reduction of artifacts due to the actions of the subjects occurs when they have a personal interest in the results of the experiment, but, at the same time, do not consider them as something that determines their life. This level of motivation to participate in the experiment happens when a person has a desire to expand knowledge about himself, to test himself. A successful method of motivation is the promise after processing the empirical data to acquaint the subjects with the results of the study. However, one should not acquaint the subjects with the results of the experiment or psychological examination in writing. By itself, compiling a written psychological characteristic requires the qualification, experience and talent of the researcher. Very often the results are addressed by the most problematic people. In no case should they be denied oral advice, in the course of which it is desirable to be softly and understandably in a benevolent manner, constantly relying on the positive qualities of the counselor, to tell him about the results of the experiment. Incomprehensible and impartial psychological information, issued in writing, conceals the danger of causing a psychotrauma, especially to an anxious person.
Forced participation in the experiment, as J. Campbell pointed out, shifts the research effect. Increasing the internal motivation of the subjects is carried out by external motivation (material interest of the participants in the experiment, competitive moment, enhancement of cultural and aesthetic design of the research, strengthening the role of cognitive, emotional processes and states). As a rule, a psychologist should have an assistant or an assistant who, in the process of research, registers additional behavioral and emotional reactions of the subjects.
At the end of the experiment, participants will be interviewed about their personal observations, emotional state, unpleasant moments in the course of work, disappointments and wishes for the organizers of the experiment. Almost every experiment can cause a test psychotrauma. Therefore after its termination it is necessary to allow the subject to express himself and in such a form to get rid of possible negative emotions. Painfully perceived by people to perform normalized tasks, tests, limited in time. The appearance of errors sometimes leads to some confusion among the subjects, "frustrations", even aggressive behavior, etc. The psychologist should inform the study participants that the admission of errors is an ordinary, normal phenomenon. In the course of the work, the social status of the participants should be taken into account. As a rule, the higher the status of the subject, the higher the motivation to avoid mistakes and the more significant for him the failure. In this case, you need to conduct a psychological examination with a group of subjects who are equal in status. In no event can one pilot sample be introduced to both managers and their subordinates.
After the completion of the study, the subjects are obliged to express their gratitude for participating in the experiment.
The final stage of the psychological experiment consists of interpreting the results of measurement of variables, conclusions about the confirmation of the proposed scientific hypothesis, correlating the results with concepts and theories, assessing the prospects for further development of the problem, and publication of results.
The results of the experiment can be presented in the form of a report at a scientific conference or an article in a scientific journal, a paragraph in a monograph, a study guide, or a report on research. The publication of the results of the experiment is the most important part of the psychologist's scientific work. On the one hand, the publication is a report on the work done by the researcher, and, on the other, a field for discussions and the next stage of one hundred scientific growth.
Sequential passage of the listed stages of research is rather conditional, since periodically there is a necessity to correct earlier stages taking into account the possibilities and limitations of the subsequent ones.
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