The Science of Cool

| January 31, 2019

Analysis and Report – “The Science of Cool”

During this lesson, you’ve learned about the variety of research methodologies that a psychologist scientist may choose to use in answering a research question.  Now it’s your turn to think carefully and creatively through a research question and choose an appropriate method.

The research question: 

What is the concept of “Cool”?  Can we identify people who are “cool”?  Are there benefits (or effects) to being a “cool” person (i.e. what might cool people be able to accomplish that others have more trouble with)?  Can you make someone cool?  (If so, how?)  

Suppose you have the whole range of research techniques/methods at your disposal.  You also have all the time and money you might need to test out this question.  You do NOT have superpowers, though, so you’re still constrained by the laws of physics (no invisibility cloaks, super-hearing, or time travel please!).

Your task is the following:

Compare the experimental method with another method of your choosing (case study, naturalistic observation, survey, etc.). In your comparison, address the following questions in a 2-3 page paper (double-spaced, 1-inch margins, 12-point font):

  • How would you go about answering this research question for EACH research method?  Be specific and outline the exact procedure you’d use for each method.
  • Be sure to identify the following:  operational definition you’re using for the variables you identify, independent variable and dependent variable.   
  • Identify at least ONE strength and ONE weakness for each of the two research methods.
  • Discuss the reliability and validity of the actual measurement tools you’d be using for each of the two methods.
  • Finally, discuss whether or not EACH research method would allow for you to make conclusions about causality between aspects of cool/being cool and certain behaviors.

Things to think about to get you started:  

What’s your gut-level definition of this concept?

What types of people do you think exemplify “cool”?

What types of things do you think exhibit “cool”?

What are the key elements?  List as many ideas as you can… then choose the MOST IMPORTANT five(5).

Consider selecting ONE research method to help you define, measure and identify people who are cool.  Then, consider an experiment where you incorporate cool and “uncool” people as your research participants.

* Submit your 2-to-3-page write-up in the Assignments Tool, “Major Assignment – Research Design: Strengths and Limitations”.  Don’t worry about APA formatting for this assignment, but do make sure your writing is clear and well-organized.

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