Psychological Investigations

Some revision cards for key terms and some advantages and disadvantages.

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  • Created by: Rebekah
  • Created on: 09-01-13 10:33

Open-ended question

Questions where participants' responses are unrestricted (they can reply how they like)

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Closed-ended question

Questions that have a set number of pre-determined response categories for participants to choose.

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Rating scale

A way of enabling a participants response to a question to be expressed numerically.

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Likert scale

A rating scale where participants indicate the strength by which they agree or disagree with statements by choosing a number e.g. 1-5 (1=strongly agree and 5= strongly disagree)

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Adavantage of self-report method

This  research method is relatively quick and inexpensive and allows access to the way people are thinking and feeling.

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Disadvantage of self-report method

A disadvantage with this research method is that people may be dishonest.

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Independent variable (IV)

The variable that the experimenter controls/ manipulates and predicts will effect another variable as a consequence.

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Dependent variable (DV)

The variable the experimenter measures (and forms the results/ findings of the study). The variable in an experiment that the IV is predicted to effect in some way.

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Extraneous variable (ExV)

Any variable in addition to the IV that could influence the DV (results) but is not intended to be studied and should be eliminated if possible, or controlled so it effects all subjects in the same way.

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Independent measures design (IMD)

A situation where different subjects take part in each/ all conditions of an experiment.

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Repeated measures design (RMD)

A situation where the same subjects take part in each/ all conditions of an experiment.

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Matched subjects design (MSD)

Where the subjects in an experiment have been pre-tested to be as similar as possible in important respects that could otherwise affect the results.

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Advantage of IMD

No carry-over, or order effects. Participants performance in one condition is not influenced by their participation in another.

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Disadvantage of IMD

Individual differences (such as IQ levels) could affect the results obtained. Also, more participants are needed.

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Advantages of RMD

Individual differences between participants (such as in IQ levels) are controlled for. Also fewer participants are needed.

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Disadvantage of RMD

Carry over, and order effects- participants performance in the second condition may be positively (or negatively) affected by having already participated in the first condition.

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Advantage of MSD

Attempts to control subject (or participant) variables that may otherwise influence their findings.

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Disadvantage of MSD

Pre-testing participants can be a lengthy, expensive and subjective process.

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Alternate hypothesis

Predicts there WILL be an effect of some kind (a difference or correlation between things)

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Null hypothesis

Predicts there will NOT be an effect of some kind (a difference or correlation between things)

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One-tailed hypothesis

A hypothesis that makes a prediction about the direction that the results will go in (e.g. claiming young people will recall more words than elderly people)

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Two-tailed hypothesis

A hypothesis that simply states that there will be a difference (or effect), but not the direction of the difference/effect (e.g. there will be a difference in the number of words recalled by young and old people)

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Advantage of the experimental method

An advantage of this method is the high level of control in setting up and monitoring the variables.

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Disadvantage of the experimental method

A disadvantage of this research method is that it can sometimes become artificial and unrepresentative of everyday life situations.

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Naturalistic observation

Watching and recording some aspect of a person/s behaviour (usually in it's natural environment) where people know nothing about it and with no direct intervention/manipulation.

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Structured observation

An observation involving the use of an explicitly defined coding framework for recording data (using a video camera, or training observers to be consistent beforehand)

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Participant observation

An observation in which a member of the research team becomes part of the group that is being observed.

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Inter-rater reliability

A situation where each person in an observation team interprets and records the behaviour the way they are monitoring in the same way as each other.

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Time sampling

Observing behaviour for/at certain peroids. For example, between 8-10am and 4-6pm in a traffic study.

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Event sampling

Observing and recording a specific event every time it occurs. For example, each time a playground fight occurs etc.

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Advantage of the observation method

An advantage of this research method is that people are (usually) unaware they are being weatched, so act naturally.

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Disadvantage of the observation method

One disadvantage of this research method is that it can be difficult to interpret what is going on, things can go un-noticed and it may be an invasion of personal privacy.

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Positive correlation

Where both of the measured variables increase together (although not necessarily at exactly the same rate)

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Negative correlation

As one variable increases, the other decreases (although, not necessarily at exactly the same rate)

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A graph that displays the relationship between two measured variables.

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Advantages of the correlation method

Enables the relationship between two variables to be established (that can then prompt more controlled research)

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Disadvantage of the correlation method

Doesn't inform us about cause-and-effect (and can sometimes be misleading in this respect)

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Whether research is trustworthy, consistent and dependable (can it be replicated) *In observational research- the extent to which the behavioural categories are interpreted consistently.

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Whether the research investigates/studies what it intended to do (or claims to have done)

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Opportunity sampling

Recruiting subjects to take part in research by asking people who are freely and readily available.

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Random sampling

A sampling method where EVERYONE in the target population that the research is aimed at has an equal and independent chance of being selected as a apraticipant.

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Self-selected sampling

A sampling method where subjects volunteer themselves to be participants (e.g. in response to a newspaper ad' or poster etc.)

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Operationalise the variables

Decisions about how exactly variables will be studied. E.g. what criteria will be used to assess 'concentration' (what will be regarded as 'good concentration' and 'bad concentration')

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Research based on generating mainly numberical (number-based) data/findings.

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Research based on generating mainly verbal descriptions/interpretations of behaviour.

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Issues of what is right/wrong, appropriate/inappropriate when conducting research. Five key things should be considered: consent; deciet; harm; withdrawal; and debriefing.

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Descriptive statistices: mean, median and mode

These are different types of measures of central tendency (averages). The mean is the total of all scores divided by the number of entries, the median is the middle value, and the mode is the most frequent.

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