Research Methods

All the terms and ways of conducting an experiment or a study

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Research Methods
Planning Research
Qualitative research and research methods:
Is usually worded
Can take other forms, e.g. videos, audios etc.
Involves case studies, unstructured interviews, open questionnaires etc
Preferred by ideographic psychology
Quantitative research and research methods:
Involves experiments, contents analysis, quantitative (structured) observation
Preferred by nomological psychologists
Advantages Disadvantages
Quantitativ High in validity Low reliability ( very
e Rich and detailed personal, subjective
Meaningful account)
Difficult to analyse/make
comparisons with or
Researcher could interpret
data due to their biased
view, which skews the
Qualitative Easy to Context of
measure/analyse study/experiment is
Relationship between ignored (les meaningful)
IV and DV studied in Less holistic
detail Low in ecological validity
Researcher more
objective about findings
Can replicate
Formulating aims and hypotheses for different types of study
The aim of the study is to investigate...
Aim: ... what happens in_
Aim: ... the relationship between _and_
Aim: ... the effect of (IV) on (DV)

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Directional: In _ this __ will happen
Non- directional: Something will happen in _
Directional: There will be a __ relationship between _and_
Non-Directional: There will be a relationship between _and_
Directional: (IV) will cause (DV) to_
Non-directional: the (IV) will affect the (DV)
Sampling techniques:
Name What it is College Strengths Limitations
Opportunity Selected due Asking people Quick and easy Unlikely to be
Sampling to availability you bump into representative
or convenience at college due to
Random Everyone…read more

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Experimental Methods:
IV and DV:
The independent variable (IV) is the variable that you change or
The dependant variable (DV) is the variable that you measure
For example in the aim, you would say: To investigate the effect of (IV)
on the (DV)
Experimental Designs:
Independent Groups: where different people take part in each
experimental condition. e.g. "...…read more

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Independent No order effects Introduces
Groups Naïve participants participant variables
(no demand More pps are
characteristics) needed to get the
No need to find two same amount of data
sets of materials
Repeated Removes participant Order effect may
Measures variable occur (where pps
Each participant is performance in the
tested in each 2nd condition may
condition so fewer have been affected
participants needed by already
performing the 1st
characteristics (pps
may figure out aim of
study and try to
perform accordingly)
When to…read more

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Confounding variable: A variable that has not been controlled in an
experiment and hence has influenced the independent variable
Extraneous variable: (see confounding variable) but may not always
affect the results of the experiment if all Pps are exposed to it.…read more

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Field High ecological Less control
validity over variables
Natural Less ethical-
behaviour and participants
environment may not know
they're taking
Quasi Allow for No random
investigation allocation/
using direct
pre-existing manipulation
variables Less confidence
inferring cause
and effect
Non-experimental methods:
Correlational studies including correlation coefficients:
They are a statistical technique for analysing data where two sets of
numerical score can be obtained for each participant. They allow us to
measure the relationship between the two sets of data or variables.…read more

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Involves the measurement
of two variables without the
control of extraneous
Observational studies:
They are especially useful for studying certain types of behaviour and
certain groups of participants, e.g. social behaviours such as crowd
interaction etc.
Natural observation: pps are observed in the setting where the target
behaviour usually occurs. There is no control over extraneous variables,
but there is high validity because the behaviour is real behaviour in a real
setting.…read more

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Natural observations Well organised observation are
produce data that have high difficult and time consuming and it
ecological validity is not usually possible to observe
Observational studies tend large numbers of people
to provide a more holistic Observer bias may occur,
view of a persons behaviour especially in observations where
than the narrowly defined there is a single observer
behaviour tested in If people know they're being
experimental studies observed there is a danger that
the observer effect will occur
Unless the observation involves
some…read more

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No ethical problems because Although the researchers
the people aren't being are trained, their
dealt with directly interpretations of material
may still be subjective
Behaviour may be taken out
of context. It is important to
recognise that any media
communication is most
meaningful in the context in
which it is produced and for
the audience it was originally
Self-report methods:
Any method where the participant reports on their own behaviour or
feeling is known as the self-report measure.…read more

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Often used in conjunction with a questionnaire
Most involve one researcher and one participant
A structured interview is one where the interviewer has a pre-prepared
set of questions that are asked in a fixed order. There is no chance to ask
extra questions and there are fixed option answers for the interviewee
to choose from.
An unstructured interview is where the interviewer starts off with an aim
and the interviewee is invited to discuss a specific topic. There are no
predetermined questions.…read more


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