Global Research Letters


Hello and a warm welcome. I am armed. Interest professor for organizational behavior at the foot bang and University in Germany and this is my course on social scientific research methods all right. Welcome everybody to the second session of our course social scientific research methods and I mentioned it earlier that we we human beings we have kind of access to reality. Yeah we see the world we see our social environment we see other people and we have a kind of understand scientific research ing scientific research of what is there right. It’s not that we are completely blind. We see the world we see the reality. We do this so ok but but now here comes the point. Is it really that what you see as a human being is that is that really the truth. No it’s not it’s probably not so. I would like to share with you. Some evidences scientific research some ideas that will tell you that human beings when looking at the world and when human beings try to understand scientific research the world on the new beings try to explain the world that they are very much biased and what they see is not really the truth. 100% ly so the first thing. I would like to share with. You is a little experiment scientific research that was done by by. Solomon Asch who was a great psychologist early in the 19th the 20th century and he did the following. Let’s let’s assume you are you are an participant in a in a in an experiment scientific research . Ok we name this a subject scientific research . You are a subject scientific research in an experiment scientific research but you are not alone. There are six other people and you all sitting in a row and now the experiment scientific research . Kame comes in and says okay guys. Here’s the task. Look here is a line. Let’s say here the red line okay and your task is to to tell me which of the black lines on the right side. There’s correspond in terms of the length with the reference line on the left. So is it a B or C which has the same length as the line on the left side. So you look at this and instantly you will say okay it’s B that’s B. It’s obvious right so so now. The experiment scientific research er asked the first subject scientific research in the row and this for a subject scientific research says a a listen. You hear this is it what forgot his classes or so and then the it’s the turn of the next subject scientific research and the next subject scientific research number two says a now you are confused.

Yeah the third subject scientific research off says a and the fourth says a and the fifth says a and the sixth set says a and now it’s your turn you are subject scientific research number seven and now you are in a conflict right so because on one side you see line a is the right one obviously but all the other set at line. B is the right answer E or like D is the right one but all the people said a I mean they are all students. They are kind of intelligent. At least we can assume this. So what do you do do you do you. Do you stick to your own opinion scientific research or do you go along with the with the opinion scientific research of the others and what. Solomon Asch found. Is that a lot of people. They follow the majority so actually this study scientific research was about the influence of majority interesting scientific research the influence of maturity and that was a very simple paradigm in an experiment scientific research to to look at how people react on the influence of a maturity and it was really a significant amount. I don’t know the numbers part but they were really decent now. When you look at this experiment scientific research the truth seems to be obvious but very often the truth is not so obvious. I currently while I while I record this this video. We are in the midst of the corona crisis and as you all experience or have experienced. The corona crisis was full of uncertainty and with regards to the behavior of the corona crisis and also with regards to the effect of the lockdown measures. And all the things there was a tremendous amount of uncertainty. We did not really know what is the truth really not so we we learned during the corona crisis and and now in Germany. Here six weeks after lockdown. We know much more than in the beginning of the lockdown and when there is a much uncertainty when we do not really know the truth the people create their truth and they have opinion scientific research s and they have their views on things and the idea. Is that very often. What you believe is true is because others believe it’s true you know there is a kind of common understand scientific research ing scientific research a shared understand scientific research ing scientific research so what you believe.

What’s being true very much. Depend on what those people believe. It’s true that surround you in your community okay and you can assume that a lot of things that you believe about politics about religion about societies about whatever is pretty much determined by a shared view. So please do not please do not believe that you you you yourself you have created your own opinion scientific research . No you did not. You probably did not. There’s also it is this it’s original. German term which I really like. It’s at site-geist that site-geist zeitgeist is a shared opinion scientific research . And it’s there you can’t see it but it’s there and you effects you and once you have a certain opinion scientific research on something then comes the conformity bias. It’s a bias that we know in psychology that you prefer information you prefer sources that support your already existing opinion scientific research so that your already existing view on the world will be how should I say it will be supported. Okay so large parts of your understand scientific research ing scientific research is determined by by the social environment and now you could say okay but I also have my senses. I can see things I can see the truth yeah I mean who know when you look out of the window you see thanks and you assume scientific research that what you see. Is there right. The opposite by the way is what we call the solipsism. It’s a philosophical idea that there is no reality. Yeah there’s everything you see is just an illusion but that’s crazy okay anyway so you can see things with your eyes. You can hear things with you ears as you do it now right so when you look at this picture here really the the lines are absolutely parallel scientific research really but for you when you look at these lines these lines appear as being kind of shaky right. They are not shaky. They are really parallel parallel. And now you can. You can use your your a kind of lineal or some tools and you. Can you can check whether they are really whether the distance really the same at every at every point and you will find out that this really true but still even though you know the truth and even if you believe me says that.

Professor trust scientific research that said that these lines are parallel so I believe it yes even even though you know it. It’s not possible for you really not. It’s not possible for you to see this line as being parallel you can’t. It’s an optical illusion. You really can’t okay so now you might say hmm if I cannot fully rely on my eyes okay got it if I cannot fully rely on the social environment that affects my opinion scientific research at least I can think we are. We are human beings so what what we have luckily is something that like a cognitive system. We have especially our prefrontal cortex. That’s something absolutely cool scientific research. That’s a supercomputer. Read much more than a supercomputer. It’s a super mega mega super super computer. It’s it’s the most smartest thing we can imagine. I don’t want to go too deep in that matter about you can say okay. We human beings at least we can think and we can draw reasonable conclusions scientific research. Okay let’s have a try. Some of you might remember a television show that was broadcast it a couple of years ago maybe in some countries that still exist. It’s it goes like this. There are three gates. Let’s say or windows or whatever and you are a candidate in this television show and the idea is that behind one of the gates there is a precious award. Let’s say a car right and behind the other gates there is a goat and you’re you have to make a choice now. So let’s say you you choose scientific research gate one okay you choose gate one and now the moderator comes by and says okay candidate you choose one nice well. I do your favor and I open gate three okay and now there is a goat. So that’s nice because now you know it’s no more three gates from which. I have to choose now. It’s only two and what most people think now and probably this candidate also thinks and probably you also things think.

I think he was thinking that way is okay in the beginning. There was 30 33% 33% 33% 1/3 third probability that behind the gate scientific research. There is the the price the car and now when when one when when gate was opened they are only two so now the probability that the car is behind one of the gates is fifty percent fifty percent. I mean this is wrong. This is really wrong. The probability that the car is behind the second door is twice as high now then the probability that the car is behind the first door and I share this sometimes in my classrooms with the students and I see at least one half the students who are completely confused so it could not be no that could not be. That’s interesting scientific research that’s really true it’s really true. Yeah so even our our our cognitive reasoning. Sometimes it’s very biased and does not lead us to the right inside there. No they did. Our brain is wonderful in our cognitive system. Our intelligence is wonderful really. It helps us a lot to reduce complexity in a very very complex world but not for the fullest extent. Really not when we when we look at the world we have to understand scientific research . This is something very fundamental in psychology scientific research so that we very often use not very often we almost always use two systems and that’s a real simplification the oversimplification. I would say but that’s a fundamental idea in psychology scientific research that we can separate two layers and one layer is what we named the rational layer. This is what I just were talking about. This is the layer this above the cortex especially scientific research the prefrontal cortex that we use for thinking for reasoning for complex problem-solving. So when you parcel when you do a puzzle in in math for instance you use exactly that that part and that’s very essential to understand scientific research the reality. It’s a very important tool so to speak. But underneath there is the out name at the intuitive layer scientific research we could also say with the emotional layer but that’s maybe not the right term because also with a free prefrontal cortex.

There’s it has a lot of effect on our emotion but ok emotional intuitive layer. It’s it’s the unconscious system in your brain and this unconscious system. That makes you feel about things so when you when you when you look into the reality when you observe the reality then you always make use of both systems and very often. It’s not just that you understand scientific research something you feel something you feel that this theory is good. You feel that this political opinion scientific research is good one. You feel things when you when you want to understand scientific research okay. Is that a good car or not a good car. You feel it instead of really calculating it and this feeling of something the the feeling the reality the the feeling of what is there is something that happens extremely fast and without any effort when you you don’t feel the effort why when you do a puzzle in math and you use your prefrontal cortex the the rational system. That’s much effort. You cannot do it for a long long time. Concentrate on this video now. I mean after 40 minutes you better make a little break but you can feel things for forever you can listen to me forever. That’s no effort really and that’s but that’s the intuitive system so when you look into the world you always use these – more or less you all always use the intuitive system always right so for instance you you you you walk through the wood and let’s say we are. We are now ten thousand years from now in the past when you were walking through the wood probability was really low that you meet another person so so now you walk through the wood and now I see another person and it really was essential that within a few milliseconds. You have an idea whether this person is dangerous or not and that really works. You can show a picture to people say dangerous or not like it or not also. I mean I should teach human resource management. We know that when a candidate an applicant comes into the door. There is already the people in the room the interviews the recruiters the HR personnel is the future manager.

They they see this candidate and they make a kind of initial judgment right in the moment when this candidate enters the door its prejudice of course but that happens and that does not happen with you in an irrational layer it happens with you. Intuitive layer so then it could might be that you talk to this person and you really think and you you want to understand scientific research this person. Maybe you make an intelligence test and all these things that help you to come up with a reasonable judgment but that’s much effort liking or not liking a person that happens with not effort unconsciously within very fast but really seeing the world that’s much effort and in science. We use the rational system of course knowing that the other system is always there always ok so this can go on and on and on and on and on on really why did. I share this with you just to summarize. The people’s individual understand scientific research ing scientific research of reality is heavily biased. Really by their social environment okay. That was the. Asch experiment scientific research for instance. I mean there are many others human senses our ears our eyes our whatever. Don’t see the ultimate truth. You get an impression of the truth maybe but not the real truth really not. I really must hesitate. There are so many so many cold examples but you know ok there are illusions. There are optical illusions. Yeah we know this and even our the human reasoning when using logic drawing conclusion about things. Mmm yeah we are. We are quite good in that but it’s much effort and we very often. We don’t do this. And and sometimes we go the easy way in in seeing the world so very often our our cognition the way how we see the world is is effortless. We want to use information in a very efficient way so what we always do when looking at the world when we try to understand scientific research the world. Is we simplify. Always and this is something that that that scientific research ers don’t want to do say they want to see the world as it is and not how you feel it right so humans human beings are pretty good in seeing things but they are not perfect in understand scientific research ing scientific research the real year reality.

Ok it’s important to see this and this is where science comes into play. Science is objective. And what does that mean. Objective objective means that. What whatever you do in scientific research when you do it study scientific research for instance when you look at things whatever you do. The outcome is completely independent from the scientific research ers scientific research er him or herself you see this. It’s independent from the scientific research er him or herself so we believe there is the truth. We try to understand scientific research it and that has nothing to do with me. As the scientific research er its objective. Everything else would be subject scientific research ive and it’s systematic so when we look at the world we do not just look at it we do not just simply observe we do it in a very careful systematic planned and controlled way. That’s why we are here in this course so that you learn how to do things in a very systematic way observing things not just like this but having maybe doing a systematic observation. I mean that’s determined it’s systematic observation. It’s very. It’s very hard to do this. It’s very very difficult so and when you do studies they think these things must always be repeatable. That means you are so clear in what you do you. You exactly describe what you do so that anybody who want to do the same study scientific research again. We name this to replicate. The study scientific research is capable of doing so so there are no secrets. It’s very open very very transparent so and also when you look at you any scientific article you will find always. I mean always always one part in the study scientific research where the methods are clearly described. It’s not funny it’s not. It’s not exciting. It’s it’s just it’s just that it’s just a fact. We always want to generalize. This is what scientific research does so for instance in social scientific research we never can observe all human beings. This is simply not possible. That never was but we might do an experiment scientific research with sixty people or we might do a survey surveying 1,000 people but at the end we want to draw a conclusion about what we name the population which might be all human beings right.

So for instance here now in the corona crisis when we try to understand scientific research okay. What is the infection rate in in a certain country. You might draw a random sample. That’s the best way you could do. 10,000 people in a country and you test all the 10,000 and then you learn maybe that 15% in this sample are infected. Okay then you draw a conclusion upon the entire country that in Germany might be more than 80 million zone so you never test all 80 millions but just test sample. So you generalize yeah to the entire population and what you do in scientific research is you you test hypothesis or you generate hypotheses. We’re gonna talk about this in the next episode. So the the core of any scientific research also the core in social scientific research are always theories and theories are a description or a reflection of what we named the truth okay. So that’s that’s the thing this. This is what we are fighting for at the end we always fight. We work for getting theories which are valid. That’s that’s the that’s the whole intention okay. So that was a starting point and in the next episode. We’re gonna talk about how to define a scientific research question and how to create a hypothesis because that’s very often the starting point of any kind of scientific research you do so thanks for watching. Thanks for listening you.

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