Research Methods

Detailed account of research method topic unit 1 AS Psychology

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  • Created on: 09-04-11 15:22
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Research Methods
Internal validity: Whether the study has tested what it set out to test, i.e. the degree to
which the observed effect was due to the experimental manipulation or other extraneous
External validity: The degree to which findings can be generalised. To other settings
(ecological validity), to other groups of people (population validity).
Mundane realism: If the experiment would apply to real-life and everyday behaviours.
Method Description Advantages Disadvantages
Laboratory An experiment Experimenter holds Artificial: may not
Experiments conducted in a high degree of measure real-life
controlled control over behaviour so lack
environment in which extraneous ecological validity
you can manipulate the
experiments. Demand characteristics:
independent variable
Easily replicated PP's may guess the
in order to measure
the effect on the due to high control purpose of the
dependant variable Relationships can be experiment
established Ethics: psychological
harm due to stressful
enviorment and
deception often used
(informed consent)
Field An experiment High ecological Low control over
experiment conducted in a natural validity-less extraneous variables
environment outside artificial Ethics: when studying
the lab in which you Demand people without them
can still manipulate
characteristics knowing, lead to lack of
the independent
avoided if PP's don't informed consent and
know they're in the not carrying out
study debriefing
Naturalistic An experiment Can study Low control over
experiment conducted in a natural behaviours that may extraneous variables
environment in which otherwise be Ethics: deception often
the researcher does unethical in a lab used and lack of
not manipulate the
High ecological informed consent
independent variable.

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Controlled The PP is observed by Can control some Observer's expectations
Observation the researcher, extraneous may affect the results
usually in a lab setting variables and record
where some of the
variables are
Naturalistic Takes place in the PP's High ecological No control over
Observation own environment and validity as real-life extraneous variables
none of the variables setting
are manipulated
Covert observational: Researcher's prescence is unknown os observer effects are avoided
however deception is involved.…read more

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Quantitative data: data measures in numerical values representing how much/how
long/how many ect.
Qualitative data: data that expresses the `quality of things', include descriptions, words,
meanings, pictures ect. Cannot be counted but can be turned into quantitative by creating
Quantitative data analysis: Any means of representing trends from numerical data, such as
measures of central tendency. (mean, median, mode) or measure of dispersion (standard
Content analysis: Observational study in which behaviour is observed indirectly of
written or verbal material such as interviews, conversations.…read more

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Controls/reduc Time-consuming to
variables (age, sex, es individual find PP's who match
personality) differences
Random sample: A sample of PP's produced by using a random technique such that ever
member of the target population being tested has an equal chance of behind selected
Volunteer Sample: Sample of PP's produced by sampling techniques that relies solely on
volunteers to make up the sample.…read more

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Low demand
Self-report Technique: a non-experiment method which involves asking people questions
about their experiences/beliefs.…read more


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