Research Methods

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  • Research Methods
    • Key features of science
      • Theory Construction
        • Using facts to construct theories, help us to predict and understand world around us                should explain much of the data and create a testable hypothesis
      • Replicability
        • Way to demonstrate validity of research. Same result found more than once - a repeat
      • Empiricism
        • Information gained from direct observation or experiment rather than arguments or beliefs
      • Objectivity
        • Removal of ones own thoughts or beliefs. Avoidance of expectations affecting observations and results - demand characteristic experimenter bias
      • Control
        • The manipulation of the IV, DV and all other variables in order to find causal relationships
      • Deduction
        • Theory first and then looking for results that prove this
    • Experimental Methods
      • Natural Experiments
        • Variables are not manipulated - causal relationships cannot be drawn
        • Strong mundane realism but lacks validity
        • Ethics are less of a problem because the study is observational - everything seen would happen anyway
      • Lab Experiments
        • Strong internal validity - variables controlled and easily replicated
        • Lacks external validity as it has less realism - PPs know they are being studied
        • Experimenter effects and demand characteristic may reduce internal validity
      • Field Experiment
        • Conducted in a natural setting - higher mundane realism than lab
        • More control than natural but less than lab
        • Experimenter effects reduced because PPs are usually unaware they are being studied
      • Experimental Designs
        • Repeated measures: same groups in all conditions
        • Independent groups; different groups in each condition
        • Matched pairs: different groups in different conditions but matched based on similar characteristic
    • Peer Review
      • 1) Allocation of research funding: research paid for by government and charities. Need to know which to fund, which is worthwhile
      • 2)Publication of research: gives scientists chance to share results. Prevent false research being circulated
      • 3) Assessing the research rating of universities: science departments conduct research and get rated, further funding relies on good ratings
      • Assessment from others in the same field, ensures research conducted and published is of quality
      • Problems with: finding an expert, anonymity and peer competition, publication bias of positive results, preserving current status quo, published research remains published
    • Validating New Knowledge
      • Ethics Committee
        • Studied by an expert in the area of research. Ascertain's that research follows ethical guidelines of BPS Code of Conduct
      • Publishing review
        • Conducted by experts in same field. Makes sure research has been carefully conducted and found something worthwhile (is valid). Is what is found worth of being published, 3 peer review experts decide
      • Funding Reviews
        • Conducted by peers. Committees allocate to worthwhile researchers from government and charity money
    • Hypothesis Testing
      • 1) Researcher has an idea after reading previous research
        • 2) Formulate an aim and construct a hypothesis
          • 3) Researcher runs a piece of evidence to test the hypothesis
            • 4) If research supports the hypothesis then it is publlished
              • 5) If research does not support the hypothesis then an experiment is conducted to find out why or  the hypothesis is changed as it is wrong
      • Lab experiments provide most control because IV and DV can be controlled and operationalis-ed = reliable testing
        • Hypotheses are used to help create controlled research  where the aims have been carefully stated and variables carefully controlled
    • Psychological Report
      • Abstract
        • A summary of the study covering the aims, hypothesis, the method (procedures), results and conclusions.
      • Introduction/aim
        • Begins with review of previous research which should lead to a study  with a hypothesis.
      • Method
        • A detailed description of what the researcher did with enough info for replication
          • Design: 'repeated measures', 'matched pairs', 'independent groups'. Design decisicions must be justified.
          • Participants: sampling methods, how many participants and details about them.
          • Materials: descriptions of any materials used
          • Procedures: standardised instructions, testing environment, order of events etc.
          • Ethics: ethical issues and how they were dealt with. 'Harm', 'consent', 'privacy', 'confidentialit-y', 'debrief', 'perception'
      • Results
        • What the researcher found
          • Descriptive statistics: tables and graphs with frequencies and measures of central tendency and dispersion.
          • Inferential tests: observed value and significance level reported. Statement about null hypothesis rejected or accepted
      • Discussion
        • The researcher aims to interpret the results and consider their implications for future research and suggest RWAs.
          • Summary of results
          • Relationship to other research is discussed
          • Considerations of methodology:improvement and criticisms of methods
          • Suggestions for future research
      • References
        • The full details of any journal articles or books that are mentioned.

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