Psychology: research methods

Research methods

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Research key terms 1

Natural experiment:  IV (e.g. stressor of exams) is naturally occurring, no experimental control, researcher takes advantage of a natural change in this

Sampling technique: A method used to choose a sample of a population. Examples include, random sampling, opportunity sampling, stratified sampling, snow ball sampling and self-selected sampling

Independent measures design: If two groups in an experiment consist of different individuals

Repeated measures design: A longitudinal study, usually a controlled experiment but sometimes an observational study

Quantative data: Numbers, produces numerical data

Qualative data: Language, produces verbatim

Correlational design: A research design that measures two or more naturally varying variables. It does not manipulate any of the variables

Self selecting sample: People who responded to an advertisement

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Research key terms 2

Opportunity sample: Anyone you can get hold of

Selective sample: The researcher selects someone from a pool of people to get the type of person they want

Independent measures design: Participants are split into conditions e.g. exam stress or no exam stress

Repeated measures design: Participants take part in all conditions e.g. exam stress and no exam stress

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Work place stressors 1

6 key areas:

  • Interpersonal conflict
  • Work demands
  • Physical environment
  • Lack of control
  • Role stress
  • Role conflict

Contradictory evidence

Individual differences: Lazurus (1995) came up with a ‘transactional approach’ which emphasises that the degree to which a workplace stressor is perceived as stressful depends on the person’s ability to cope. Therefore lack of control may be stressful to one person, but not to another – particularly those with a hardy personality.

Individual differences: Marmot and Franhenhauser stated that a lack of control was a source of stress in the workplace. However Schaubroeck (2001) found that some workers respond differently to a lack of control – they were less stressed by having no control or responsibility which could imply that something else is moderating whether or not potential work stressors do cause stress.

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Work place stressors 2

Historical validity: The changing world of the work environment with the addition of new technology, virtual offices and the blurring of home/work environments could mean that our current knowledge of workplace stressors rapidly becomes out of date.

Validity of measuring the impact of workplace stressors: Keenen and Newton (1989) found that in a study assessing work stress in engineers, the use of interviews revealed stressors not usually covered by traditional questionnaires. Therefore, interviews instead of questionnaires might be a more valid way of assessing the presence of work place stressors than traditional questionnaires.

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