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Research Methods

Research Method Strengths Limitations

Laboratory experiment ­ artificial environment, High control of variables Demand characteristics ­ people may
the experimenter manipulates the IV and the DV Able to choose representative sample change behaviour as they are aware of the
Often cheaper and less time consuming experiment
than other…

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Effect of interviewer ­ participants'
answers may reflect relationship with
Questionnaire Many people can be questioned quickly ­ Social desirability bias ­ people say what
generates lots of data they think looks good
Easy as interviewer does not have to be People may lie, especially with
present sensitive/personal issues…

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A hypothesis states the expected relationship between an independent variable and a dependant variable e.g. doing homework with or without music (IV)
and the results of the homework (DV). It is always written in the future tense.

Directional hypothesis ­ states the expected direction of your results e.g.…

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Repeated measures design ­ one group in Eliminates individual differences Order effects participants may become
both conditions. E.g. a group does a memory test Fewer people are needed than with bored or guess what experiment is about
in the morning and then a similar (but not the independent groups design.…

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Ecological validity ­ the extent to which the task can be applied to the world outside the research situation

Sample validity ­ the extent to which the participants represent people outside the research situation

Temporal (time) validity ­ the extent to which the findings can be applied to any era…

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become physically or mentally harmed as a result of the study, they are able
to leave the study before that happens.


Sampling technique Strengths Weaknesses

Opportunity sample ­ a sample of participants Less time consuming first participants Biased sample is drawn from small part
produced by selecting people who…

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Range ­ the difference between the highest and Easy to calculate Can be easily distorted by extreme scores
lowest scores
Standard deviation ­ measure of dispersion that Takes account of all scores More difficult to calculate compared to
indicates the spread of data around a central Sensitive measure of dispersion…


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