Psychology- Research Methods Key Terms

Key terms for research methods

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  • Created by: Shauni
  • Created on: 22-05-12 09:04

Research Methods:

the means by which explanations are tested

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Investigation Design:

the planning and construction of research methods

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The Experimental Method:

a research method using random assignment of participants and the manipualtion of variables to determine cause and effect

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Independent Variable:

the factor manipulated by researchers in an investigation

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Dependent Variable:

the factor measured by researchers in an investigation

the factor that changes due to the independent variable

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Laboratory Experiment:

experiment conducted in a controlled environment allowing the establishment of casuality

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Field Experiment:

experiment conducted in a naturalistic environment where the researchers manipulate the independent variable

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Natural Experiment:

experiment conducted in a naturalistic environment with a naturally occuring independent variable

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Correlational Analysis:

measuring the relationship between co-variables

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Naturalistic Observation:

surveillance and recording of naturally occurring events

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Self-report Technique:

participants giving information about themselves without researcher interference

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self-report method where participants record their own answers to a pre-set list of questions

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self-report method where participants answer questions in face-to-face situations

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Case Studies:

in-depth, detailed investigations of one individual or a small group

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a precise statement of why a study is taking place

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precice testable research predictions

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Repeated Measures Design:

experimental design where each participant performs all conditions of an experiment

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Independent Groups Design:

experimental design in which each participant performs one condition of an experiment

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Matched Pairs Design:

experimental design where participants are in similar pairs, with one of each pair performing each condition

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Behavioural Categories:

dividing target behaviours into subsets of behaviours through use of coding systems

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the process of defining varibles into measurable factors

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Pilot Studies:

small-scale practice investigations

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the extent to which a test or measure of measurement produces consistent results

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the extent to which results accurately measure what they are supposed to measure

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Ethical Issues:

the rules governing the conduct of researchers in investigations

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the selection of participants to represent a wider population

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Demand Characteristics:

a research effect where participants form impressions of the research purpose and unconsciously alter their behaviour accordingly

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Investigator Effects:

researcher features influence participants' responses

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Quantitive Data:

data occuring in numerical form

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easily understandable, pictorial representations of data

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Measures of Central Tendency:

methods of estimating mid-point scores in sets of data

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Measures of Dispersion:

measurements of the spread of scores within a set of data

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Qualitive Data:

non-numerical data expressing meanings, feelings and descriptions

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Content Analysis:

a method of quantifying qualitive data through the use of coding units

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Extraneous Variables:

any variables other than the independent that might might affect the dependent

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Closed Questions:

require participants to answer yes/no or choose from fixed responses determined by the researcher ( quantitive data )

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Open Questions:

allow the participants to answer in their own words ( qualitive data)

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Structured Interview:

all participants are asked the same questions in the same order.

can provide quantitive data

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Unstructured Interview:

an informal, in-depth conversational exchange between interviewer and interviewee.

some general questions are usually thought about in advance, but the interview follows the interviewee's answers

provides rich, qualitive data

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Observer Bias:

describes the effect on results caused by the fact that an observer can have their own interpretation of a piece of behaviour that is different from others

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Inter-rater Reliability:

is the extent to which two observers agree in their rating of their same behaviour. It is usually measured by taking both sets of ratings and comparing them using correlational analysis

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Response Set:

can be a problem with the design of questionnaires. It is when questions are set out in such a way as to lead participants into a fixed mindset. There is a tendency for people to agree with test items as a habitual response. This can be avoided if about half the items on a questionnaire are positive towards the topic and half are negative, so participants have to think about each item individually

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Prior General Consent:

involves obtaining a general agreement to participate in a study that involves deception at some time in the future. In later studies, where they participate, it is then assumed that they will not object to being deceived

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Presumptive Consent:

involves taking a random sample of the population and introducing them to research, including any deception involved. If they agree that they would still have given their consent to take part, it is assumed that other people in the general population would also agree

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Retrospective Consent:

once the true nature of the research has been revealed, participants are given the right to withdraw their data

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Nominal data:

are data placed in categories. Each category is mutually exclusive, which means that a participant can only appear in one category

e.g. people with blue eyes, brown eyes etc

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Ordinal Data:

are data that can be put into rank order

e.g exam marks, birth order in a family etc

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Interval Data:

are data that are measured in terms of equal intervals

e.g. minutes, centimetres etc

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Positive Correlation:

as values on one variable increase, so do the values on the other variable

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Negative Correlation:

as values on one variable decrease, so do the values on the other variable

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Correlation Coefficient:

a statistic that measures the strength of the relationship (correlation) between two variables. The scale of measurement ranges between +1 ( perfect positive correlation) and -1 (perfect negative correlation). The numerical value indicates the strength of the relationship. The closer the number is to +1, the stronger the positive correlation and the same for negative correlation with -1. A numerical value of 0 means that there is absolutely no correlation between the two variables

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arianator 4 life


good resource

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