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PSYA1: Notes on research methods

SPEC CHECK: Candidates will be expected to demonstrate knowledge and
understanding of the following research methods, their advantages and
· Experimental method, including laboratory, field and natural experiments
· Studies using a correlational analysis
· Observational techniques
· Self-report techniques including questionnaire and interview…

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Ethical you are not interfering in the way people are living their lives and your

observations do not directly affect them.
Confounding variables hard to control any extra variables that may affect
Ethics deception is sometimes used and sometimes participants are not aware

they are part of a…

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Practical quick to conduct and quite cheap

Bad questions or leading questions can influence the answer
Biased sample some people are more likely to respond to a
Self report some people want to present themselves in a better way
Social desirability bias.

Structured: A set list…

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Operationalisation of variables, including independent and dependent

Aim: This is a statement of what the study's purpose is (what the researcher is
trying to discover)

Directional: Will specifically predict a difference with reference to the real
NonDirectional: Will predict a difference but will not specify


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Repeated measures design:
Where participants take part in all conditions

No participant variables the participants are the same each time so there
will be no differences between individuals that may later affect results.
Fewer participants are needed

Order effects learning effects/fatigue effects

Matched pairs design:
There are different…

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Random Allocation
E.g. by drawing names out of a hat means everyone has an equal chance of
taking part in each condition. Random allocation should ensure groups are not
biased on key variables because they are determined by CHANCE.

Extraneous variables (such as noise, age etc.) can be controlled by:…

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Non Participant observation
The researcher observes the activity without getting involved in it

The researcher can remain objective throughout the study

The researcher loses a sense of the group dynamics by staying separate
from the group.

Structured Observations

This is when the behaviour categories that are going to…

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Time interval sampling if the behaviour occurs over a long time period, you
could choose to measure behaviour after a certain time interval. E.g. every first
10 minutes of the hour.

More convenient for researchers to carry out

If interesting behaviour is recorded outside of the time interval…

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Clear language should be used, if specialist language has to be used then it
should be clearly defined.

The behaviour of the interviewer and appearance should also be
It should be decided whether a structured or unstructured interview should
be used.

· Selection of participants and…


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