Experimental Methods in Psychology (Research Methods)

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  • Created on: 26-11-19 18:03
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  • Experimental Methods in Psychology (Research Methods)
    • Laboratory Experiment (True Experiment)
      • A highly objective and systematic experiment carried out in an artificial setting under controlled conditions. The participants are assigned by the researcher using a random allocation. Examples of Laboratory experiments might be Asch's line experiment or Peterson and Peterson's Trigram study.
        • High internal Validity as the researcher has a high level of control due to the operationalisation of the variables therefore the study is reliable as it can be easily replicated and similar results should be found. Due to this it is easy to establish a cause and effect.
        • Low ecological Validity as they do not represent a real-life situation and therefore cannot be applied to real -life.  The mundane realism of the study might affect the participants so that they would not take the the experiment seriously and might alter their behaviour due to social desirability trying to make themselves look better.
    • Field Experiment  (True Experiment)
      • The experiment takes place in a natural setting. therefore not a laboratory room The participant are randomly allocated by the researcher. The IV is directly manipulated by the researcher. Participant are unaware that they are being watched.
        • It presents a real-life situations so the behaviour of participants will be less artificial than in a laboratory experiment while still having control over the IV therefore it has a high ecological validity while causing a cause and effect relationship Ppts are not aware that they are being watched therefore there are low demand characteristics.
        • Ethical Issues as the ppts did not give consent to take part in the study. They did not benefit of a brief and de-brief of the experiment so they do not know what the purpose was. They might suffer from distress. This type of experiments have a lower internal validity as it is hard to eliminate extraneous variables which could prevent the establishment of the cause and effect.
    • Natural  Experiment
      • The situation happens by itself and the researcher has no control over it, the researcher uses the situation to look into it but it would be unethical for him to set it up. There is no IV manipulated by the researcher. However the effect, DV, it's still measured. Examples of this might be thins such as the effect of institutionalisation on adulthood.
        • High validity as it allows the representation of individual differences in a real life situation and setting. Even though the ppts are aware that they are being watched they do not know that they are taking part in an experiment so they would present low demand characteristics.
        • The ppts are not randomly allocated to conditions. There is no control over extraneous variables and the IV is not manipulated therefore it is difficult to identify what specific variable has caused the effect and this results in a low internal validity.
    • Quasi Experiment
      • NO random allocation by the researcher as it studies the effect between individual with the IV represented by naturally occurring differences (gender, age, locus of control). Apart from random allocation the experiment will have all the other factors controlled as if it was a laboratory experiment so therefore variables will be controlled as well as extraneous variables.
        • Offers researchers the ability to study social sensitive areas. They are high in internal validity as the situation happens in a real-life setting.
        • Ppts are not randomly allocated to conditions and the IV is not controlled therefore it is hard to establish a cause and effect which means the study has low internal validity.


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