Research design

Experimental and research design, AQA PSYA4

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Independent groups

Each participant takes part in only 1 condition.


  • The same stimuli can be used
  • Order effects are minimised
  • Lots of participants can be used which increases validity


  • Participant variables are not kept constance so paticipant effects may happen - any difference in performance between the 2 groups could be explained by this
  • More participants are needed
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Repeated measures

The same participants take part in both conditions.


  • Less participants are needed
  • Participant variables are kept constant


  • Different sets of stimuli is needed in both conditions
  • Order effects may happen as participants may do better in condition B because they have done condition A. This means that counterbalancing needs to happen - AB BA
  • Demand characterstics may occur because participants might guess the aim and start acting differently
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Matched pairs

Different but similar participants take part in each condition. Their important characteristics are matched.


  • Participant variables are partially controlled
  • Same stimuli can be used
  • Order effects are minimised


  • It is difficult and time-consuming to match participants
  • Participant variables can never be fully matched
  • More participants are needed
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