HIGHLY USEFUL NOTES ON RESEARCH METHODS

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Psychology Revision
Research Methods
Research in Psychology
Research idea (alcohol affecting memory
Aim: (To see if alcohol affects memory)
Hypothesis
Experimental Null
Directional (1 tailed) Non Directional (2 tailed)
Variables
Independent Variable (IV) ­ This is what the psychologist changes/controls.
Manipulates
Dependent Variable (DV) ­ This is what the psychologist measures
Extraneous Variables: These can affect the DV: Situational Variables ­
Temperature, scent, noise Experimenter Bias ­ Looking and hinting that
participants are doing well or doing badly. Participant Variables ­ Age, Gender,
Background, Tolerance
Reliability and Validity
RELIABILITY is if we repeat an experiment would we get the same results?
­ Consistency e.g. bad teacher keeps marking kids c's when they should be a's
­ bad teacher but high in reliability and consistent. VALIDITY is trying to see
if the results show what they were intending to. Are they valid and true e.g.
teacher gives a's when they are deserved ­ true results so high in validity.
Sampling
Opportunity Sampling ­ Simply selecting the people who are available at the time e.g.
confronting people in shopping centres and asking them to be interviewed.
Quick, convenient and economical. A most common type of sampling in practice
Very unrepresentative samples and often biased by the researcher who will
likely choose people who are helpful
Volunteer Sampling ­ Individuals who have chosen to be involved in a study ­ self
selecting e.g. people who respond to an advert looking for participants

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Relatively convenient and ethical if it leads to informed consent
Unrepresentative as it leads to bias on the part of the PP. E.g. a daytime TV
advert would not attract full ­ time workers.
Random Sampling ­ Every member of a population has an equal chance of being
selected e.g. pulling names out of a hat.
For very large samples it provides the best chance of an unbiased
representative sample
For large populations it is timeconsuming to create a list of every individual.…read more

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Pepsi experimenter knows which is which however
participants are asked to try two drinks and say which one they prefer ­
they are blinded from the information they were then told to poll for
their favourite.
Double Blind procedure ­ Whenever both the participants and the
experimenter don't have access to information and don't know what will
happen during research. No one knows what will happen to the control
group or the experimental group. E.g.…read more

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Informal Interviews (Unstructured) ­ Less controlled tend to involve a
discussion about a certain topic. Interview could go in any direction ­
interviewer can explore areas of greater interest. Friendly rapport is a
good way to allow a required level of understanding between
interviewer and PP. Interviewers need considerable training and
expertise to conduct these interviews.…read more

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Pilot Studies
This is a small scaled study that is put in motion usually before a bigger scaled
main study. The pilot study is done to check if all equipment that may be used
works and is in check. It is used as a pretest ­ used to work out kinks before
conducting the main vital study. Smaller than main study so data collected
couldn't be used for research ­ pilot study mainly to check the main one will
work.…read more

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Often subjected to researcher bias because they rely on
subjective interpretation of behaviour.
Observation
Videos can be made covertly or overtly to analyse data ­ on the spot note
taking as well. Information then analysed using behavioural categories. E.g.
watch a study into football violence and fill in a data sheet before hand ­
watch video and results ­ compare data to see if they are closely correlated.…read more

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There are no order effects (practice & fatigue) because the PP's only
do one part of the experiment.…read more

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