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
test
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
correlation
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
trained
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
people
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
all
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
y
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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