Designing Investigations

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  • Designing Investigations
    • Design issues
      • Reliability
        • Experimental research - allows for replication of study.
        • Observations - inter-observer reliability can be improved through training.
        • Self-report - internal reliability (split-half) and external reliability (test-reset).
      • Validity
        • Internal validity - does study test what it was intended to test?
        • External validity - can results be generalised to other situations and people?
        • Laboratory experiments not necessarily low in external validity.
        • If low in mundane realism, reduces generalisability of findings.
        • Self-report techniques, issues of face and concurrent validity.
      • Sampling techniques
        • Opportunity - most easily available participants.
        • Volunteer - e.g. through advert, but subject to bias.
        • Random - all members of target population must have equal chance of selection.
        • Stratified and quota - different subgroups within sample, leads to more representative sample.
        • Snowball - researcher directed to other similar potential participants.
    • Research methods
      • Experiments
        • IV varied to see effect on DV
        • Laboratory experiment - high on internal validity, low on external validity.
        • Field experiment - more natural environment but issues of control than laboratory experiments
        • Natural experiment - uses naturally occurring IVs but cannot conclude causality.
        • Experimental designs
          • Repeated measures
          • Independent groups
          • Matched pairs
      • Self-report methods
        • Questionnaires and interviews
        • Structured interviews - more easily repeated.
        • Unstructured interviews - questions that evolve are dependent on answers given.
        • May involve open (respondent provides own answer) or closed (respondent chooses specific answer) questions.
        • Main problem: social desirability bias.
      • Observational studies
        • Observing behaviour through behavioural categories.
        • Sampling methods - time and event sampling.
        • Open to subjective bias - observations affected by expectations.
      • Correlational analysis
        • Concerned with relationship between two variables.
        • Does not demonstrate causality.
        • Other variables may influence any measures relationship.
      • Case studies
        • Detailed study of individual, institution or event.
        • Generally longitudinal, following individual or group over time.
        • Allows study of complex interaction of many variables.
        • Difficult to generalise from specific cases.
    • Ethics
      • Ethical issues with humans
        • Informed consent and deception
        • Harm - what constitutes too much?
      • Code of conduct
        • Respect for worth and dignity of participant.
        • Right to privacy, confidentiality, informed consent and right to withdraw.
        • Intentional deception only acceptable in some circumstances.
        • Competence - retaining high standards.
        • Protection from harm and debriefing.
        • Integrity - being honest and accurate in reporting.
        • Use of ethical guidelines in conjunction with ethical committees.
        • Socially sensitive research -potential social consequences for participants.
      • Ethical issues with non-humans
        • Reasons for animal use - offers opportunity for greater control and objectivity; can't use humans; physiological similarities.
        • Moral issues - sentience (experience pain and emotions).
        • Specieism - form of discrimination against non-human species.
        • Animal rights - Regan (1984), no animal research is acceptable.
        • Do animals have rights if they have no responsibilities?
        • Animal research subject to strict legislation (Animals Act; BPS guidelines).
        • The 3 R's - reduction, replacement, refinement.

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