Psychological Research Methods Revision Pack

Revision pack for unit 4 Psychology A level, althougn it could probably be used for any subject that uses research methods, so sociology for example. Includes specification - all the topics and units, as well as break down of all research methods (advantages and disadvantages). Good Luck.

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Psychological Research & Scientific
The application of The major features of science, including replicability,
scientific method in objectivity, theory construction, hypothesis testing, the use
psychology of empirical methods.
Validating new knowledge and the role of peer review.
Designing psychological Selection and application of appropriate research methods.
investigations Implications of…

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Empiricism: Information gained through direct observations/experiments.
Objectivity: Observations & experiments should be unaffected by bias (e.g. researcher expectancy)
Being objective means the findings don't depend on the person doing the research. High levels of
objectivity increases the confidence in the results and show it would make no difference who did…

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Can behaviour be measured objectively? Both experimenter bias and demand characteristics
compromise validity BUT Heisenberg found you can't even measure a subatomic particle without
altering its behaviour (uncertainty principle)
Scientific approach is reductionist, simplifying complex phenomena and theories down to basics.
Science is determinist in its search for causal relationships…

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Designing psychological investigations
Laboratory experiments: Experiment carried out in a controlled environment where the independent
variable is manipulated. All other extraneous variables are controlled and participants are randomly
allocated to conditions.
High levels of control, both of the…

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Problems with internal validity ­ many extraneous variable that can't be controlled, meaning we
can't conclude cause & effect.
No random allocation to conditions.

Correlation study: An investigation into the possible association of two variables.
Positive correlation: as one variable increases, the other variables increases e.g. level of…

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Observer can record
observations as occur
making them more
reliable ­ memory.
Disclosed Participants are aware Reduction of ethical Increase in reactivity as
observation they're being observed issues ­ informed observee may change
­ overt observation consent. behaviour as they know
Increases trust between they're being watched.
researchers & public…

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and raise new lines of
psychological enquiry.

Gathering of detailed info about an individual/group of people.
Typically involves the production of a case history ­ records relevant details about individual e.g.
employment history, family relationships, medical history, and socio-economic status.
Can be longitudinal or retrospective.
Additional info can…

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other of differences Can use the More different
conditions between same stimulus participants conditions.
conditions materials. required.
could be due to
differences in
small samples.
Matched Participants When you've No order Difficult to Monozygotic
pairs are closely got a lot of effects. match twins
matched time, money & Good…

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predetermined by We aren't clear as to how the
the researcher. respondent has understood the

Design of interviews:
Particularly useful for gathering more detailed information and enabling a more natural and flexible
approach to questioning.
Generally involves a conversational exchange.
Interviewer usually has certain topics they want to explore.…

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Participant variables: variables connected with the participants e.g. intelligence, age, gender and
personality. These are controlled through the experimental or participant design, such as the
matched pairs design.

Reliability: means that 2 or more measurements/observations of the same psychological event will
be consistent with each other.

Validity: means that we're…


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