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Psychology   >   Issues and Debates – Psychology as a Science

The Goals of Science

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Issues and Debates – Psychology as a Science

In this course, Dr Paterson (University of Glasgow) walks through the method and construction of psychological research, looking to understand psychology as a science. In the first lecture, we focus on hypotheses as an initial step in developing a research study, contextualising them into the three primary goals of science – to make new knowledge, to explain phenomena, and to predict what will happen next. In the second lecture, we take a powerful tool in the hands of researchers – theories, providing a history lesson on the development of memory theories by Ebbinghaus and Bartlett. The importance of understanding theories is highlighted here, demonstrating with this example that seemingly contradictory theories can complement one another and inform the development of a more comprehensive theory. In the third and fourth lectures, we look at the mechanics of the scientific method and how it informs a researcher’s ability to accept or reject their null hypothesis, through finding evidence for their theory. Next, we lead on from the latter part of lecture four’s discussion of replication, by discussing ‘the day science broke’; exploring reasons why classic studies have not been able to be replicated with matching results. In the sixth and final lecture, we expand on this by looking at some other potential failings of the scientific method.

The Goals of Science

In this lecture, we think about the goals of science – the things that researchers are interested in achieving with their science, focusing in particular on: (i) examples of right and left brained people, pre-schooler stimulation, and learning styles as concepts which are based somewhat on fallacy; (ii) the specific goals of science being to make new knowledge, explain why the observed events happen in the way they do, then predict what will happen next; (iii) two powerful tools researchers have in their arsenal – measurement and theories, and how they interact.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Paterson, H. (2021, November 15). Issues and Debates – Psychology as a Science - The Goals of Science [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Paterson, H. "Issues and Debates – Psychology as a Science – The Goals of Science." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 30 Nov 2021,

Image Credits


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Dr Helena Paterson

Glasgow University