The scientific method has long been the dominant process used in mainstream psychological research. This specific series of steps, borrowed from other sciences such as biology and chemistry, allows people to observe natural phenomena in a systematic way, in an attempt to describe, explain, predict, and control aspects of the world around us.

For example, suppose researchers want to know what factors contribute to aggressive behavior in children. They can observe children informally on the playground, but there are particular ways by which they can structure their observations to produce results in which they can have more confidence—observations that are reliable and valid. In other words, researchers want to be sure that their observations would be consistent across time and observers (among other dimensions) and ...

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