AQA Psychology A - Research Methods

Detailed notes on research methods for Unit 1 of AQA Psychology A including examples; hope they help :) x

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Research Methods
3 Types of Experiment -
Lab - controlled experiments that are carried out by a researcher in artificial conditions such
as a lab, so the researcher can control the independent variable.
The procedures can be easily repeated
It is easier to control confounding variables and other variables
Consent - the researcher can gain full consent at beginning of experiment
High levels of control make it less like a real-life situation
Demand characteristics - the people seek cues from environment about how to
behave
Consent - once in a lab setting it might become difficult to withdraw from the
procedure
Field - experiments that are set up but take place in a natural environment, the people don't
know they are being tested.
Has high ecological validity
Reduction of demand characteristics as people may be unaware that they are
taking part in a study
Low control over IV and DV but also surrounding people who might but in
convocations or their presence alone could affect results less control over
confounding variables.
The results can't be generalised to other real-life situations
No consent gained
Natural - things that just occur and the results are recorded i.e. observations. The researcher
has no control over external factors.
Reduction of demand characteristics as people are unaware that they are taking
part in an experiment
The experimenter doesn't intervene directly in the research situation
Loss of control as IV is not directly controlled by investigator
Methods of Investigation -
Correlation - the relationship between two things i.e. strong positive.

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Research Methods
Measures strength of relationships in a precise quantitative way (numerically)
This allows for the measurement of many variables (environmental factors)and the
relationships between them
Not a proper research method - who's to say it is correct or that variables are
connected in some way??
It is impossible to establish cause and effect by using this correlational analysis; it can
only measure the degree of interrelationship between the 2 variables
Naturalistic Observation - these observations take place in the participant's natural
environment, it allows…read more

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Research Methods
It is simple and easy to analyse the quantitative data gained from closed questions
Very quick and large amounts of information can be collected cheaply from lots of
people in a short time
Easy to circulate
Can be very good when combined with interview as you get qualitative information
and quantitative information
Response rates are low
Problems with the wording of the questions - it might be difficult to understand which
may be overcome by carrying out a pilot study where such problems…read more

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Research Methods
variables including temperature, noise and time of day; and experimenter effects including the way
the question is phrased, the way they respond to the person and if they are bias.
Ecological Validity - when the experiment is valid for the whole population outside of the experiment
setting. Ecological validity is usually low in lab, higher in field and highest in natural experiments.…read more

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Research Methods
specific situations where a matching process is highly desirable in order that experimental
success can be achieved
Ways of Collecting Data -
Time Sampling - when behaviour is recorded at fixed time intervals.
Event Sampling - when each separate or new event is recorded as it occurs.
Inter-Observer Reliability - two people observe the same thing and produce correlating records.…read more

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Research Methods
Range: highest value - lowest value Median: the one in the middle when they are put
into chronological order. This doesn't take all the
data into account.
Inter-quartile Range: upper quartile (75%) - Mean: add them all up and divide them by how
lower quartile (25%) many there are. Don't use if there is an outlier.
Standard Deviation: measure of the spread or Mode: the figure that occurs the most.…read more

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