Research Methods - Revision

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  • Created on: 27-11-10 17:21
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Psychology Revision
Research method
Research Methods
Observation Method ­ Watch people's natural behaviour. Coding Schemes are usually used.
(Behaviour Categories)
Experiment method ­ Change/Manipulate Variables. Independent & Dependent Variable. Control
Cause and effect.
Case Study ­ Follow one person/Group of people Closely / in detail. Longitudinal. Takes advantage
of all research methods.
Selfreport ­ Surveys,Interviews, Questionnaires. Person is reporting/revealing info about
themselves Different types of questions used.
Correlations ­ Analysing relationships between two variables ( NO CAUSE & EFFECT) Positive
& Negative
The Experimental Method
IV (Independent variables)= A variable that is changed by the experimenter.
DV (Dependent variables)= The effects of the IV on another variable are observed/measured.
EV (Extraneous variables)= Variables that are difficult to control and cause an effect on the
Stressful experiences increase the likelihood of headaches
IV = Stressful experiences.
DV = Headaches.
A psychologist gave one group of ppt's a cup of coffee containing 10mg of caffeine, the other 2mg of
caffeine. Ppt's had to then click on a moving target on a computer screen the psychologist measured how
many seconds it took each ppt to click. The first group was tested at 9am on a bright sunny morning the
second group was tested at 3pm on the same day with the rain hammering on the windows of the testing
IV = Amount of coffee
DV= ppt's reaction time
EV = Weather, Time of day
Laboratory experiment _ field experiment Natural/Quasi exper.
Special Environment Natural environment Environment is natural.
Variables carefully controlledControl is more of an issue IV is natural
Ppt's are aware they are taking part Ethical issues EV not controlled
Lacks realism As with lab ex. The IV is still High Ecological validity.
deliberately manipulated.

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Ppt's often unaware they are involved.
Laboratory experiment ­ Strengths Laboratory experiment Weakness
·· Control the IV + EV X Lacks realism
·· Allocate Ppt's to groups X Aware of aims
·· Replicable X Low eco. Val.
·· Equipment X Expensive and time consuming
X Demanded characteristics
Natural experiment Strength Natural experiment Weakness
·· Realism X Hard to control the IV + EV
·· High eco val.…read more

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Allocation to groups.
Independent groups : Each Ppt. Is tested in only ONE condition.
E.g. In an investigation into the effect of noise on ability to learn:
One group with loud music in one room, Another group with no music in another room.
Repeated measures: Each ppt. Is tested in ALL conditions.
E.g. In an investigation into the effect of noise on ability to learn:
A group tries in a noisy condition then again in none noisy condition.…read more

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Participant variables ­ Any characteristic of individual participant
Order effects ­ Participants doing a test in the morning and then again in afternoon. Doing the
second test, they may have practise or become bored and their results will be worse.
Practice effects ­ Having practice
Fatigue effects ­ Being tired
Counterbalance ­ ensures each condition is tested first or second in equal amounts.
Single blind ­ The participant doesn't know the aim.…read more

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Aims and Hypothesises
Aim ­ A general statement about the purpose of an investigation
Hypothesis ­ A precise, testable statement about the expected outcome of the experiment.
e.g. To investigate the relationship between food additives and hyperactive behaviour = Aim
Boys who spend at least 2 hours a week playing Grand theft auto will score significantly higher on the
"aggressive attitude" rating scale than boys who have never played GTA = Hypothesis.
Null hypothesis ­ Nothing will happen. e.g.…read more

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Case Studies
Using case studies.
Injury/Illness suffered ­ Operation to get rid of his epilepsy.
Effect on STM/LTM ­ Could remember LTM before operation, STM was bad and he couldn't form
any new LTM.
Strengths of using case studies to research this subject ­ Shows how an operation removing the
hippocampus effects memory stores. Provides evidence on separate stores.
Weaknesses of using case studies to research this subject ­ Can't compare what HM was like before
operation. Trauma can cause changed in behaviour.…read more

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Closed Questions e.g. Which of the following factors make you stressed at work? (tick all that apply)
Noise at work? Too much to do? Lack of control? Workmates?
Open question e.g. What do you enjoy most about your job?
Likert scale question e.g. Work is stressful. 1.strongly agree 2.agree 3.not sure 4. disagree 5.strongly
To assess the validity of a questionnaire ­ Compare with another questionnaire. Face validity
To assess to reliability of a questionnaire ­ Repeat it.…read more

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Observation methods
Observation types
Naturalistic observation ­ Setting isn't interfered by the observer
Controlled Observation ­ Controlled/manipulating something reduces the naturalness of behaviour. ppt like
to know they being studied. Establish cause and effect.
Structured/Unstructured ­ Structured is using a coding scheme + only record what they need to. Sampling
procedures (Event + time)
Participant Vs nonparticipant ­ nonparticipant are merely the observer.…read more

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Correlation (non experimental)
Correlation studies are used to asses the strength of the relationship between variables i.e. how strong is
the link between two variables such as smoking and lung cancer? In this kind of psychological study, there
is no direct manipulation of the IV by the experimenter.
A correlation is not really a research method it is really a tool of analysis as it makes use of statistics to test
this relationship between variables.…read more

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Sampling methods
Random sample ­ Sample of ppts by using random technique so that every member of the target
population being tested has an equal chance of participating. E.g. drawing a name out of a hat.
Systematic sample ­ Selecting every fifth or tenth person. (Start with the random sampling method then
from that person, every nth person.…read more


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