py3- sections a and b...

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  • Created by: Lucy
  • Created on: 11-12-10 14:33

Research Methods- LAB EXPS

  • Controlled experiment
  • Not necessarily in a laboratory
  • Includes IV and DV
  • IV- what is manipulated
  • DV- what is measured


  • It is easy to replicate because of the amount of control.
  • Cause and effect relationships can be established.


  • Lack of ecological validity as many findings cannot be generalised to life outside the lab.
  • High chance of demand characteristics as ppts know they are being tested for something (due to the high amount of control).
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Research Methods- FIELD EXPS

  • Conducted in normal social situations. e.g. workplace, classroom, street etc
  • Manipulate IV and measure DV
  • Still has control, but behaviour is more natural as the environment has not changed


  • No demand characteristics as ppts do not know they are being studied.
  • High validity (because of the natural setting)- actions reflect behaviour of TP.


  • Difficult to replicate becaus of the lack of control.
  • Time Consuming
  • Expensive (e.g. equipment like .video cameras could be used).
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Research Methods- NATURAL EXPS

  • Studies effects of naturally occurring events
  • Researcher has no control over changing situation
  • IV- difference in the situation before and after the event has taken place
  • DV- the effect on behaviour


  • No demand characteristics as the ppts are unaware that they are being studied.
  • Ethically sound- the event would happen anyway, its not the researcher's fault.


  • Lack of control.
  • Impossible to replicate as events are one off's (therefore making it difficult to generalise results).
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  • Used to test the strength of a relationship between 2 variables
  • Can be positive or negative or have no correlation betwen the 2 variables
  • ALWAYS represented on a scatter graph


  • Correlation Co-efficient can determine the strength of a relationship between 2 variables.


  • Even though the strebgth of a relationship can be determined, the cause cannot.
  • There may be different reasons for results other than the IV causing the DV.
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Research Methods- OBSERVATIONS

  • All psychological research involves observation
  • Looking at the behaviour of individuals or groups


  • Naturalistic
  • Systematic
  • Participant
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... NATURALISTIC observations

  • Looking at naturally occurring behaviour
  • Researcher has no influence on those being watched
  • People and non-human animals observed
  • Normal, everyday setting, natural behaviour
  • Researcher makes notes on behaviour as it happens
  • No predetermined categories/actions to look out for


  • Real life setting, so ppts act normally.
  • Low chances of demand charateristics.


  • Researchers have no control over variables- 'cause and effect' can't be established.
  • Observer Bias- could be selective in whta the see/record.
  • Ethical issues- ppts don't know they are being tested.
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... SYSTEMATIC observations

  • Researcher observes ppts, but they have certain categories of behaviour they wish to record
  • Can use a one-way mirror and record data on a checklist as it occurrs
  • can be recorded on a video camera


  • Researcher can observe naturally occurring behaviour in a real life setting, so ppts act normally.


  • Intervention might be a part of a study, so a natural setting would be disturbed and behaviour may no longer be natural.
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... PARTICIPANT observations

  • Researcher becomes part of the group being investigated
  • Can observe behaviour first hand, close to ppts
  • Researcher must penetrate group through 'SNOWBALL SAMPLING' (i.e. being introduced one by one)


  • Researcher can gain valuable insights into group behaviour if they are with the ppts all the time.


  • Hard to replicate as there are no fixed procedures.
  • Relies heavily on interpretive skills and personal qualities of the observer.
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Research Methods- QUESTIONNAIRES

  • Used to ask questions quickly to a target group
  • 2 types
  • OPEN (qualitative)
  • CLOSED (quantitative)
  • Either hand delivered or posted to ppts


  • Fast, efficient, easy to use.
  • Can reach large numbers of people cheaply, and is quicker than other methods.


  • Postal questionnaires have a very low response rate.
  • Ppts may not give honest answers.
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Research Methods- INTERVIEWS

  • Involves the researcher/confederate asking questions face to face to the ppts
  • UNSTRUCTURED- like an informal chat
  • STRUCTURED- like a job interview


  • Most are carried out quickly and are inexpensive.
  • UNSTRUCTURED- can uncover sensitive views/issues (relationship is built on trust).
  • STRUCTURED- easy to replicate (same questions).


  • Face to face with client, so intimate info is discussed- could lead to researcher's views influencing results (researcher bias).
  • UNSTRUCTURED- lack of quantitative data- difficult to categorise.
  • STRUCTURED- lack of flexibility.
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