Research methods - psychology

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  • Research methods - psychology
    • Aims - general statements that describe purpose of investigation e.g. to investigate whether room temp affects performance in maths test
    • Hypothesis - precise, testable statements that predict what will happen in research e.g. ppts in cool condition will score higher in maths test than those in hot condition
      • Directional hypothesis - makes clear difference that is predicted - ppts in cool condition will score higher in maths test than those in hot
      • Non-directional hypothesis - states there will be difference between conditions, unlike directional hypothesis the direction of dif is not specified e.g. room temp will affect ppts scores on maths test
      • Operationalisation of variables - clearly specifying how variables are being measured - hypothesis should always be operationalised
      • Null hypothesis - predicts there will be no difference e.g. temp will not affect scores on maths test
    • IV = Variables the experimenter manipulates assumed to have direct effect on DV
      • DV = Variable experimenter measures, after making changes to IV, assumed to effect DV
        • If all variables controlled you can conclude cause and effect
        • EV = other variables apart from Iv that may affect DV - might be important enough to provide alt explanations for effects seen - important that researcher controls EV - if not may impact results and become confounding variables
          • EV can be divided into ppt variables and situational variables, may affect DV and should be controlled - if EV are not controlled they impact on internal validity of research - internal validity whether the test measures what its supposed to
            • Ppt variable - math, ability, sleep, conc, illness, mental state
            • Situational variables - noise, temp, light intensity, furniture, environment in general, same instructions given, same task and if possible researcher
    • Demand characteristics - ppts may guess what study is about an act in ways they feel research demands
      • Please you - act how researcher wants
      • Screw you - may deliberately try to mess up results
      • Social desirability bias - try and act in socially desirable ways or withhold info
    • Investigator effects can effect results, rather than result being down to IV - refers to any unwanted influence of investigator on research outcome e.g. smiling, eye-contact, physical characteristics, accent - include selection of ppts, materials used and instructions given - may also be biased in interp of results - can reduce with double blind
    • Randomisation -refers to use of chance to reduce researchers influence on design on investigation - so attempting to control investigator effects e.g list of words to be used in experiment should be randomly generated and not chosen by researcher - ppts should also be randomly allocated to conditions and not chosen by researcher
      • Standardisation - all ppts should have same experience whilst in study - environment should be same for all e.g. same instructors - variation would lead to EVs which may affect results
  • Experimental method - involves manipulation of Iv to measure effect on DV - may be lab, field, natural or quasi


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