Research methods

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  • Created by: charlotte
  • Created on: 18-02-11 19:52
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Research methods.
Quantitative data: information collected in a course of a
research study that is in a quantified /numerical form.
Qualitative data: information collected in the course of
research study that is non-numerical, someone's opinion.
Experimental methods.
In order to find cause-and-effect relationships we must use
experimental methods.
Experiment research method involving changes to 1
variable (IV) in order to see its effects on other variables
(DV) and to establish the cause and effect variable.
IV = variable manipulated by the experimenter.
DV = variable measured by the experimenter.
There are 2 types of experiments:
1. Lab experiments ­ experiment carried out in lab
allowing researcher to have a high level of control over
IV and to eliminate/control confounding variables.
The procedures can be easily repeated.
It is easier to control EV and other variables.
Consent ­ the researcher can gain full consent at
beginning of experiment.

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High levels of control make it less like a real-life
Demand characteristics ­ the Ps seek cues from
environment about how to behave.
Consent ­ once in a lab setting it might become
difficult to withdraw from the procedure.
2. Field experiments ­ carried out in the real-world
setting rather than the artificial setting of a lab. It is
more costly and time consuming to carry out.
has high ecological validity/realism.…read more

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Researcher exploits naturally occurring
Reduction of demand characteristics as P is
unaware that they are taking part in an
The experimenter doesn't intervene directly in
the research situation.
Loss of control as IV is not directly controlled by
Non-experimental investigations in psychology:-
Investigations using correlational analysis ­ the extent to
which 2 or more variables are associated with one another.
It is a descriptive technique that measures relationships
between variables.…read more

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This allows for the measurement of many variables
(environmental factors)and the relationships between
Not a proper research method ­ who's to say it is
correct or that variables are connected in some way??
It is impossible to establish cause and effect by using
this correlational analysis; it can only measure the
degree of interrelationship between the 2 variables.…read more

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Non-participant observation = observer remains
external form those being observed.
Prevents time form being wasted by conducting
unrealistic experiments.
Has high levels of ecological validity and realism as long
as observer remains undetected.
Demand characteristics reduced.
Level of control over EV is poor.
Presence of an observer may change P behaviour esp.
when studying a small group.
Hard to replicate due to the uniqueness of each
observational situation and it is difficult to generalize
results to other occasions/settings.
Now consent gained at start.…read more

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Closed Qs = are those where the researcher
determines the answer by; ticking boxes, circling
It is simple and easy to analyse the quantitative data
gained from closed Qs.
V quick and large amounts of info can be collected
cheaply from lots of people in a short time.
Easy to circulate.
Can be v good when combined with interview as u get
qualitative info and quantitative info!
Response rates are low.…read more

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Only a certain type of person replies, pensioners who
have spare time.
If in a newspaper then only certain types of people are
prone to buy such a newspaper so not representational.
Respondent could lie.
Interviews ­ common way of carrying out research.
The different types of interview.
(1) Non Directive Interview =least structured, discuss
anything, interviewer guides.
(2) Informal Interview = interviewer focuses on
encouraging certain issues in more depth.…read more

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Interviews can identify aspects of behaviour that is
Face to face.
Demand characteristic may occur.
Interviewees response is limited as they are unable to
articulate thoughts clearly.
Interviewer bias.
Some might lie.
Aim = intended purpose of an investigation.
Hypothesis = a specific statement of what the psychologist
wants to test e.g. alcohol makes people more aggressive.
Null Hypothesis = the IV will not have any effect on the DV
e.g. alcohol will not have an effect on aggressive behaviour.…read more

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Independent design: involves using different Ps in each
condition of the experiment. Ps are chosen randomly
e.g. 1 grp drink alcohol and then are put in room to talk
about a controversial debate, other grp are put in same
condition but are sober no problem with order effect
­ Ps performance is sometimes ruined +vely and ­vely
by having to carry out situation twice i.e.…read more

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Ps is difficult and
time-consuming, complete matching of Ps on all
variables that might affect experimental performance
can rarely be achieved, this design therefore is
uncommon with their use being restricted to specific
situations where a matching process is highly desirable
in order that experimental success can be achieved.…read more


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