types of investigation

notes on the main types of investigation for reasearch methods topic, with pros and cons, and examples.

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Types of investigation
Key
Black= description, Red= example, Orange= strengths, Green= weaknesses
Laboratory experiment
2 groups of participants are compared to see if there is a difference
between the 2 groups. The independent variable is altered directly by the
experimenter (to form 2 groups). All other extraneous variables are tightly
controlled. Participants are randomly allocated to the 2 conditions or
groups
A study into memory. Participants were asked to remember three letter
trigame (e.g. HYL) after different times.
High internal validity as all extraneous variables are controlled therefore
cause and effect relationships can be determined.
They can be replicated to check reliability of findings.
It's too artificial, therefore it has low ecological validity as you're unable
to generalise to real life.
Demand characteristics are likely as the situation is so artificial and the
participants know that they are been experimented on and this can reduce
the internal validity of the conclusions.
Field experiment
2 groups of participants are compared to see if there is a difference
between the 2 groups. The independent variable is altered directly by the
experimenter (to form 2 groups). Some extraneous variables are controlled.
Participants are randomly allocated to the 2 conditions or groups. The
study occurs outside, in a more real life setting.
A study investigated personal space in a mental hospital. When a patient sat
down on a bench in the gardens or in hospital a researcher would sit down
inside the patient's intimate zone. The time taken for the patient to move
away and any other behaviour the patient displayed was recorded.
Demand characteristics are less likely to affect the behaviour of the
subjects. This removes a possible confounding variable.
Results will have greater ecological validity as the experiment is conducted
in a less artificial setting.
Less control which means that there is lower internal validity as the results
may be caused by a different variable.
They can't be replicated as easily as a lab experiment. This means that we
can't check the reliability of findings

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Natural experiment
2 groups of participants are compared to see if there is a difference
between the 2 groups. The independent variable is NOT altered directly by
the experimenter (to form 2 groups). Some extraneous variables are
already allocated to the 2 groups. The experimenter does not decide who
does into each group.
A study was conducted into the effects of early privation. Children who
were in institutional care were either adopted or restored to the biological
parents.…read more

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There is little control of extraneous variables in naturalistic observations
therefore we can't establish cause and effect relationships.
There may be ethical issues connected to when it's appropriate to watch
people, especially covert observations.
Self report techniques-questionnaires
Information about ideas and opinions can be collected from 4 main types of
questions: open, closed, likert, filler.
A study conducted to see how far people believed they would go in a
situation which involved giving electric shocks to other participants.…read more

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Allows investigation of areas that in which an experiment would be
unethical.
They normally have high levels of ecological validity because they actually
happened.
Low population validity and so we can't generalise finding to other cases.
Often it's hard to establish what the cause of behaviour is as there is no
way to control what is happening at the time.
Meta analysis
A way to analyse the results of a selection of studies usually via the
internet or library.…read more

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