Research Method Notes

Here are my notes on research methods in AQA Psychology AS level!

Hope they are of good use!

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  • Created by: Jessica
  • Created on: 21-04-13 19:18
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Psychology Notes Jessica Goodman
Research Methods
Psychological researchers must stick to an ethical guideline set by the
British Psychological Society (BPS)
They deal with ethical issues by:
o Ethical codes ­ legal set of rules
o Ethical Committees ­ group of people who decide whether a study is
ethical or not and will then approve or not
o Socialisation ­ belonging to a professional group and taking on their
ethical guidelines
o Punishment ­ If psychologists break the guidelines they appear in
front of a special committee and are punished accordingly
Ethical Guidelines:
1. Informed Consent
2. Deception
3. Debriefing
4. Right to Withdraw
5. Confidentiality
6. Protection of Participants
7. Privacy/Observational Research
8. Giving Advice
9. Colleagues
The Research Process
Methods and Techniques
Experimental method
Using random Ps and the manipulation of variables to see cause and
The experimenter controls the independent variable to see its effect on the
dependent variable.
IV is the variable that is changed by the researcher
DV is the measured result of the manipulation of the IV
A true experiment has 3 key features:

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Psychology Notes Jessica Goodman
1. The researcher manipulates an IV in order to investigate a change in
the DV.
2. All other variables are controlled, held constant or eliminated.
3. Ps are allocated to the experimental conditions randomly.…read more

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Psychology Notes Jessica Goodman
Advantages Disadvantages
Improved ecological validity Establishing Controls
Reduction of demand Generalising to other situations
Use of technical equipment
Natural Experiments
Where the IV occurs naturally the experimenter doesn't manipulate with
it just records the effect of the IV on the DV.
Can be used when it's unethical to control the IV in a laboratory (e.g.…read more

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Psychology Notes Jessica Goodman
Observational techniques
Simply observing something.
Can be part of a laboratory study.
Two main types:
1. Participant observation
Observers become involved in the behaviour of those being
Overt ­ where people are told they are being observed
Covert ­ where Ps remain unaware of being observed
2.…read more

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Psychology Notes Jessica Goodman
Statistical analysis
Question order
Question formation
Pilot study
Measurement scales
Involve researchers asking questions in face-to-face situations.
3 types:
o Structured ­ questionnaire is read to Ps and interviewer writes
down response and all interviews are identical for each Ps.
Interviews do not need much training
o Unstructured ­ less controlled, involving informal discussion
direction of the interview is not predetermined, only the topics.…read more

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Psychology Notes Jessica Goodman
Other research methods:
Longitudinal studies
Cross-cultural studies
Investigation Design
Key Terminology
Null hypothesis suggests that that difference or effect from the study occurs by
Alternative hypothesis suggests that the hypothesis that sample observations are
influenced by a non-random cause
One tailed hypothesis directional hypothesis (e.g. girls will do better in the exam
than boys)
Two tailed hypothesis non-directional hypothesis (e.g.…read more

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Psychology Notes Jessica Goodman
Demand characteristics Matching is difficult
Time saved Time consuming
Group Differences
The control of extraneous variables
A variable, which is not the IV, which affects the DV, is an extraneous
1. Participant variables ­ age and intelligence should be controlled
2. Situational variables ­ setting and surroundings must be
3.…read more

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Psychology Notes Jessica Goodman
Show data in the form of categories to compare.
Data is discrete
Used for continuous data
No spaces between the bars
Area of each column is proportional to the number of
cases it represents.
Frequency Polygon (Line Graph)
Continuous data
2 or more frequency distributions can be placed
on the same graph for comparison
Measures of Central Tendency
Summarise large amount of data into typical values of averages.
Central score in a list of rank-ordered scores.…read more

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Psychology Notes Jessica Goodman
Sometimes makes more sense to Doesn't take into account exact
use (2 kids, instead of 2.4 kids) distances between scores
Could be more than one mode
Measures of Dispersion
Subtract the lowest value from the highest value.…read more

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Psychology Notes Jessica Goodman
Discrete scales measure data where one item is distinctly separate from
another (children in family you can't have 2.…read more


:) PurpleJaguar (: - Team GR


These notes are just what I needed for my exam tomorrow! Clear and simple

Thanks a lot for this 


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