The method demonstrated in the work of researchers in the field of Natural Science follows the rigorous testing of hypotheses by quantitative measurements.
In the 19th century, researchers of Human Science strayed away from established rules of science and introduced a more appropriate paradigm for understanding human subjectivity and intersubjectivity—thus, come the qualitative research paradigm (Guba & Lincoln, 2005). This paradigm rapidly emerged from a field in which individual phenomena were studied using qualitative criteria (e.g., reliability, validity) into a field that was far from traditional science , embracing epistemological beliefs. However, during the third methodological wave, which gained momentum during the 1960s, researchers from various fields in the social and behavioral sciences as well as natural science began to combine quantitative and qualitative approaches, most seen in psychology and biology. Whether mixing methods in 2 disciplinaries provides superior research findings and outcomes or only confusion is a largely debated topic within the scientific field.
Although interdisciplinary approaches to the production of knowledge may lead to the confusion and may confound results, and therefore make it difficult to arrive at any sort of “definitive” knowledge, to a certain extent, they also can minimize the weakness of a one dimensional single method. Researchers in the field of psychology have been applying the scientific method. A specific aspect of the scientific method in natural sciences is that studies must be replicated in order to increase validity and reliability. However most experiments done in the field of psychology can’t be replicated, thus are invalid in the field of natural science, specifically biology.Often in psychology, case studies cannot be replicated due to the numerous variables being studied; thus there is low generalizability as well as validity, going against the rules of scientific method in biology. The scientific method stresses on control and tries to study one variable in isolation. For example, in the specific field of biological psychology, professionals conduct detailed investigations into the private lives of their participants in an attempt to understand and discover correlations between physiology and human behavior.
Case study HM (1957) by Milner found profound effects on memory functioning, following an operation which removed the areas around hippocampus in HM’s brain. The aim was to give insight into the localization of memory. HM participated in research for more than 50 years, taking different extensive tests, such as cognitive tests, observations, interviews and neuroimaging studies. When they got a precise picture of the brain damage, they discovered that parts of the temporal lobe, including the amygdala and hippocampus were missing, suggesting that areas around hippocampus play a critical role in converting short term memory to long term memory; however, there could have been other factors that may have caused his memory functioning, showing how different variables were not taken into account. This goes against the scientific method as it stresses on the investigation of a single variable. Additionally, because this research is deeply focused on the account of one person, replication is difficult due to specific individual differences, which causes confusion and uncertainty in production of knowledge. Replicability is important in validity, reliability and credibility of the research.
Ways of knowing Perception suggests why adopting the biological scientific method to psychology leads to confusion. Professionals can’t observe the brain at all times and determine the role of each brain structure that affects human behavior. Different factors must be taken into consideration. However, testing a research hypothesis involves turning the conceptual variables into measured variables, which are variables consisting of numbers that represent the conceptual variables. Psychologists use the term operational definition to refer to a precise statement of how a conceptual variable is turned into a measured variable. Specific definitions will enable future researchers to replicate the research.In the specific biological field of zoology, exploration of animals depends heavily on the scientific method. Zoologists and wildlife biologists perform a variety of scientific tests and experiments.
An important aspect in their method is testing on animals, specifically dissecting in order to further understand internal anatomy, and cover basic digestive, reproductive, and urinary systems, along with notable muscle groups in some animals. For example, wild frogs are dissected in animal physiology to understand their behavior, estimate the quantity of proteins, glycogen and cholesterol present in various tissues. If this particular method in zoology is applied to biological psychology, confusion arises simply because humans cannot be treated equivalent to animals. A moral confusion would arise because people employ two distinct frameworks for understanding moral status: if an individual is a human being, then it has full moral status, and it has that status independently of anyone else’s attitudes or intentions regarding it, but if an individual is a non-human animal, then it does not have full moral status.
Which set of biomedical research protections would apply, the relatively weak constraints on animal research or the comparatively strong constraints on human subjects research? There is an ethical consideration of participant protection that psychologists must abide by before conducting an experiment. With these two interdisciplinary studies come a moral confusion. Way of knowing emotion interferes as the scientific method presents us with a moral problem. This specific aspect of the scientific method in zoology cannot be applied to the field of psychology.
However, to counter this issue of ethical and moral confusion, there are many cases in the field of biological psychology, where animals are studied and experimented on. A principle in the biological level of analysis is that Animal research can provide insight into human behavior. Thus, it can be argued that the interdisciplinary study can be helpful. Psychologists use animals to study physiological because it is assumed that most biological processes in non humans are the same as in humans. Martinez and Kessner’s aimed discover the role of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine on memory through studying rats.
Rats were trained to go through a maze and get to the end. One group was injected with scopolamine (decreasing the available acetylcholine), a second group was injected with physostigmine ( clean up of acetylcholine) The rats went through the maze again and results on their performance were recorded. The independent variable is the injection given to the rats or level of acetylcholine, and the dependent variable is the speed and accuracy to get through the maze. Rats that were injected with scopolamine were slower at finding their way around the maze and made more errors than the control group and physostigmine group. However, with this knowledge, there is still a degree of uncertainty because animal behavior cannot be directly correlated to human behavior. An essential aspect of the scientific method in zoology is observations. Zoologists study animals and their interactions with ecosystems.
They study their physical characteristics, diets, behaviors, and the impacts humans have on them. Zoologists also use geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems (GPS) to track the movements of animals and map their habitat ranges. To connect, One research method often used in the sociocultural level of analysis of psychology is covert participant observations. Psychologists from the SCLOA study how people interact with each other and how the individual’s thinking and behavior is influenced by social factors, involving culture, social norms. Observations is used when studying behavior through first-hand information in a natural situation. Covert observations, a type of participant observation, is when participants are not aware they are being studied.
This ensures high validity as behavior is natural and not subject to demand characteristics. Observations generate detailed qualitative data that may provide new insights for research and theories.Festinger et al (1956) uses covert observation. Members of a cult believed that the world would end on a specific date. Because they were isolated from non believers, researchers pretended to be members when observing.
The theory of cognitive dissonance predicted that they would modify their beliefs to restore balance in their cognitions, or change their behavior to fit their beliefs. When their prophecies failed, some said their prayers had saved the world. Others left the cult. This indicated that they had changed their beliefs, supporting cognitive dissonance theory.The researchers aimed to see how they would cope when their prophecies failed. This covert participant observation was the best method to investigate a religious cult; it was set in a real environment where they observed their natural behaviors and gain a deep insight into the cult’s faith and their lives.
– this shows high ecological validity. When researcher became part of the cult , they acquired rich data which allowed them to thoroughly study the way they reacted to the situation and confirm their theories. They were able to understand social processes from the perspective of the participants. Majority of SCLOA research today is more qualitative in nature. Observations ensure that behavior of the participants is as realistic and natural as possible.
They generate detailed information of a topic, which cannot be studied by other methods.