Research Methods - AQA (A) Psychology

I've basically tried to include everything off the spec and condense each topic down to a page. Hope this is useful :) 

• Experimental method, including laboratory, field and natural experiments

• Studies using a correlational analysis

• Observational techniques

• Self-report techniques including questionnaire and interview

• Case studies

investigation design:

• Aims

• Hypotheses, including directional and non-directional

• Experimental design (independent groups, repeated measures and matched


• Design of naturalistic observations, including the development and use of

behavioural categories

• Design of questionnaires and interviews

• Operationalisation of variables, including independent and dependent variables

• Pilot studies

• Control of extraneous variables

• Reliability and validity

• Awareness of the British Psychological Society (BPS) Code of Ethics

• Ethical issues and ways in which psychologists deal with them

• Selection of participants and sampling techniques, including random,

opportunity and volunteer sampling

• Demand characteristics and investigator effects

Data analysis and presentation

• Presentation and interpretation of quantitative data including graphs,

scattergrams and tables

• Analysis and interpretation of quantitative data. Measures of central tendency

including median, mean, mode. Measures of dispersion including ranges and

standard deviation

• Analysis and interpretation of correlational data. Positive and negative

correlations and the interpretation of correlation coefficients

• Presentation of qualitative data

• Processes involved in content analysis

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  • Created by: Sophie
  • Created on: 27-04-14 10:45

Pages in this set

Page 1

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Content Analysis and Qualitative Data 08/03/2014 10:06

Allows us to study cause and effect.
It differs from non-experimental methods as it involves the manipulation of one variable, whilst keeping
all other variables constant.
Therefore if the IV is changed, it must be responsible for any change in the DV.


Page 2

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Content Analysis and Qualitative Data 08/03/2014 10:06

Repeated measures design ­ each participant takes part in every condition.
Weaknesses Ways of dealing with it
One condition may be more difficult than the Make sure tests are equivalent.
other (e.g. giving one test in the morning and
another test in the…

Page 3

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Content Analysis and Qualitative Data 08/03/2014 10:06

Naturalistic - carried out in a naturalistic setting where the investigator
doesn't interfere in anyway but just observes.
Controlled ­ behaviour is observed under controlled conditions. E.g. the
Strange Situation

Structured observations ­ the observer uses various `systems' to organise

Page 4

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Content Analysis and Qualitative Data 08/03/2014 10:06

Clear (operationalized) ­ there should be no ambiguity. Operationlise the terms
Unbiased ­ questions should avoid bias as it might lead participant to give a certain answer. Social desirability bias ­
respondents prefer to give answers that portray them in a…

Page 5

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Content Analysis and Qualitative Data 08/03/2014 10:06

Study of a single person, institution or event.

Rich data ­ info that may be overlooked using other methods is likely to be
Used to investigate rare cases of human behaviour that would otherwise
be unethical.

Generalisation ­ difficult to…

Page 6

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Content Analysis and Qualitative Data 08/03/2014 10:06

A correlation is a relationship between two variables.
Scatter gram ­ for each individual we get two scores that are used to plot
one dot for that individual ­ the co-variables determine the x and y position of
the dot. The scatter of…

Page 7

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Content Analysis and Qualitative Data 08/03/2014 10:06

How true or legitimate something is; whether a study measures what it intended to
Determined by control of extraneous variables
If extraneous variables aren't controlled, the experimenter may not have actually tested
what they intended to test. Instead the influence of another…

Page 8

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Content Analysis and Qualitative Data 08/03/2014 10:06

Participant variables ­ any characteristic of individual participants. (only extraneous when independent groups design is used, in
repeated measures all participant variables are controlled.)
Age, intelligence, motivation, experience ­ e.g. in the noise and memory experiment it may have been that one group…

Page 9

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Content Analysis and Qualitative Data 08/03/2014 10:06

Informed consent
Telling the participant what's actually going to happen may cause them to guess the aim of the experiment.
From a participant's point of view, they should be told what they're doing so they can make an informed
decision about participating. This…

Page 10

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Content Analysis and Qualitative Data 08/03/2014 10:06

BPS Ethical guidelines
Gives guidance on how to deal with ethical dilemmas and tells psychologists which
behaviours are acceptable.

Ethics committees
All institutions where research takes place has an ethics committee that must approve any
study before it begins.
They look at all…


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