AS Psychology - Research Methods: Operationalisation

So, you want to know about Operationalisation, eh? Well, roll on up..!

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Operationalisation

The Hypothesis of an experiment must be written in a testable form.

ie. A way that makes clear the specific way the experiment tests the hypothesis.

In order to test the hypothesis, we need to specify a set of behaviors- or operations- that can be measured or manipulated for the Independentant Variable (IV) or Dependnt Variable (DV)

Independent Variable = The variable that I change. The situation that is altered for the experiment.

Dependent Variable = The variable you measure. I have no way of helping you remember this one, but It's just the thing that is measurable - whether that be in secconds, centimeters, or observations!

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Operationalisation : An Example!

"People remember more when studying in short bursts rather than when studying for longer sessions."


Operationalising the IV:

  • Short Bursts = Can be operationalised to 10 minute study sessions 3 times over a period of 3 hours.
  • Longer Sessions = Can Be operationalised as one 30 minute session.

A key thing with Operationalising Independent Variables is that it has to be exact. What one person sees as a 'Short Burst' somebody else might see as something longer. It needs to be exact so that the test can be Valid, and repeatable.

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Operationalisation: An Example!

"People remember more when studying in short bursts rather than when studying for longer sessions."


Operationalising the Dependent Variable

  • 'Remember More' = Can be Operationalised by deciding who can remember more on a test of recall - whether that be a written test, a spoken-word test, or whatever...

The thing about Operationalising the DV is that you've got to think about how you will measure it. It's all very well and good saying you will test this, that or the other, but how will you test it?

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Operationalisation: H-awesome Hypotheses

Hypotheses come in two forms. Confusing, I know, but it's not too tricky, I promise.

Firstly, there is Directional Hypothesis, which states exactly what the result might be, based on the Independent Variables. Generally, it will be "Situation A will be preffered over Situation B" sort of thing. It states there will be either a positive or negative correlation between the IV's.

The other type is Non-Directional Hypothesis, in which the way the results goes doesn't matter so much, more it is the fact that there will be a difference. In this case, it will be "Either Situation A or Situation B will be preffered." So you get the same sort of thing, it just states there will be a difference, but the 'victor' will not be evident. It does not a predict a positive or negative correlation, more that there will be a correlation.

Still confused? Head over here (http://www.psychexchange.co.uk/glossary/directional-hypothesis-343/) for a more precise way of explaining it, or just Google it!

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Operationalisation: Back to Our Example!

"People remember more when they study in short bursts rather than when studying for longer sessions."

From this...

  • People remember more when they study in short bursts rather than when studying for longer sessions.

To This...

  • People get more questions correct on a test of recall when they study in short bursts (10 minutes at a time, repeated 3 times) than when they study for one longer session (one 30 minute session.)

[[ And there you go! That's all I have on Operationalisation and writing up Hypotheses! Good luck with your exams! Hope my revision cards were helpful, and i'd love to hear some feedback if you have any!

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