Psychology - Research Methods Revision

AS Level Psychology Research Methods AQA Spec

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  • Created on: 08-12-12 17:23
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Research Methods
1. Aims, Hypotheses and Variables
Aim ­ What you're setting out to research
Hypothesis ­ A precise and testable statement of the relationship between two variables
Dependent Variable ­ The thing we measure
Independent Variable ­ The thing that will be changed
Extraneous Variables ­ Something that might affect the results that you try to control before the
Confounding Variables ­ Something that does affect the test that you may not have thought would
affect it
Research Method ­ The technique used to test your hypothesis
Non Directional (Two-Tailed) Hypothesis ­ Saying there will be a difference between two
variables: height affects shoe size
Directional (One-Tailed) Hypothesis ­ Saying what the difference will be between two variables:
the taller you get the higher shoe size you'll have
Operationalisation is developing the hypothesis: distractions affect memory quality would be
participants will recall fewer trigrams when required to perform a simultaneous interference task of
counting backwards in threes from a given number.
2. Research Methods
Research Method Advantages Disadvantages
Laboratory Experiments ­ Don't + More reliable results ­ no - Lacks ecological validity
have to take place in a lab. Tightly extraneous variables - Prone to demand
controlled in an artificial setting, + Can show cause and effect characteristics
with randomly selected participants
Field Experiments ­ Research + Can show cause and effect - Less reliable results ­ prone
conducted in natural settings with + High in ecological validity to extraneous variables
uncontrolled extraneous variables - Consent issues if PPs don't
know their being studied
Natural Experiments ­ The + Makes it possible to study - Hard to show cause and
independent variable can't be some things that may be effect
manipulated for ethical reasons. The otherwise unethical to
researcher takes advantage of a design
naturally occurring event using data
from people who've experienced
trauma in real life
Correlational Research ­ Trying to + Makes it possible to study - You can't show cause and
find the relationship between two some things that may be effect
variables, like the correlation otherwise unethical to
between age and intelligence design
+Indicates whether two
things have a connection or
Observations ­ A researcher + Less likely to suffer from - Raises ethical concerns
observes a situation, participants demand characteristics - PPs may become aware
unaware of this, and observations they're being observed
are recorded using behavioural - Observer can be prone to
categories subject bias

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Research Methods
- Observers may not be
Questionnaires ­ A written set of + Less social desirability bias - Leading questions are a
questions that can be open, closed, + Practical ­ large amounts of problem
structured or structured data in a short time can be - PPs may not answer
collected honestly
- PPs may not know answers
Interviews ­ The researcher + Allows you to gain more - Can be affected by social
speaking directly to the participant, detailed information desirability bias…read more

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Research Methods
Volunteer Sampling ­ + Gives you access to a wide - The sample is bias because
Advertising and asking for variety of participants your participants are all going
volunteers to be eager
Random Sampling ­ Putting + More chance of getting a - It could still be biased
the names of people in a hat representable group because you use a small
and picking out a number of starting sample
5.…read more

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Research Methods
Median ­ Putting the scores in It's not misleading even with
ascending order and finding anomalous results
the middle number
Mode ­ The most common It's not misleading, even with It can be useless if there are
anomalous results several modes or no modes at
Measure of Dispersion Advantages Disadvantages
Range ­ Take away the lowest + Easy to calculate - Affected by anomalous
score from the highest + Provides direct information results
that could be more useful than - Doesn't take…read more

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Research Methods
Lack of Researchers won't record the real Sometimes situations can be so unique
Confidentialit names of the participants that the person is identifiable anyway
Lack of Do not observe anyone unless you have Not everyone agrees on what a public
Privacy consent or they're in a public place place is
9.…read more

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Research Methods
12. Correlation
A starting point of being able to show cause and effect between two variables like age and height
Positive Correlation ­ As one increases, so does the other
Negative Correlation ­ As one increases, the other decreases
No Correlation ­ No patterns seen
Correlation Co-Efficients are number between -1 and +1. The closer the number is to 1 the stronger
the relationship, so +1 is a perfect positive correlation and -0.5 is a weaker negative correlation.…read more


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