Observation experiment Discussion Paper
In this week’s discussion, you will visit a public place to make observations with your senses, document them, formulate hypotheses, and begin to explore independent variables that may impact your variable of interest (THE DEPENDENT VARIABLE). Please choose a public place where you feel comfortable and begin watching people around you. Please answer the questions below in complete sentences and please number your answers.
1) Who are you curious about? This will be your population. Please SPECIFICALLY define a population you find interesting. For example, mothers at the supermarket who have crying children with them.
2) What are you curious about? This will be your variable. Please give your variable a name, such as crying behavior, and define it operationally. Operationally means define HOW it will be measured. For example, crying behavior can be measured by the length of time in minutes a child cries.
3) Make some observations of what you are curious about (your variable) for 10 minutes. Write down your observations – what you see (visual), hear (auditory), smell (olfactory), feel (touch- somatosensory), or taste (gustatory).
4) Write one hypothesis (strong belief based on observations) that explains WHY your observed behavior is occurring. For example, let’s say you observe parents buying their children things they do not need. After observing this over time and giving this behavior the name, Parental Unnecessary Buying behavior, you form the following strong belief (HYPOTHESIS): Parental Unnecessary Buying behavior occurs BECAUSE they feel that this will indicate that they are good parents. (HYPOTHESIS)
5) Develop ten alternate hypotheses (ten different potential explanations for the same behavior). For example, 1) Parental Unnecessary Buying behavior occurs BECAUSE they believe this will increase the childrens’ self-esteem. 2) Parental Unnecessary Buying behavior occurs BECAUSE they want their children to have things they did not have. 3)Parental Unnecessary Buying behavior occurs BECAUSE they do not want the grandparents to have to feel obligated to buy those things………10)
You have just formulated 10 DIFFERENT potential explanations for a behavior. These are called alternate hypotheses. Every one of them can be tested with an experiment or controlled field observations.
6) Of the five steps of the scientific method, which steps of the scientific method (research) have you just completed in this discussion ?
7) Your variable of interest, the one you listed in #3 is your dependent variable. List ten INDEPENDENT variables that you believe may have an effect on your dependent variable.For example, the DEPENDENT variable is hyperactivity. Some of the INDEPENDENT variables that may affect it are 1) sugar intake 2) structure of the environment 3) monitoring by a caretaker ………10)
8) Choose one of your independent variables in # 7 and break it down into THREE levels. For example, low sugar, moderate sugar and high sugar.
9) Develop one hypothesis stating HOW you believe the INDEPENDENT variable affects (changes) the DEPENDENT variable. For example, An increase in sugar causes an increase in hyperactivity.
10) Identify ONE modulating factor that may be operating BETWEEN the INDEPENDENT and the DEPENDENT variable. For example, Increases in sugar may cause adrenalin to increase which may cause hyperactivity to increase.
Post your discussion and label it with the name of the DEPENDENT variable you used.
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