Research methods


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Methods &Techniques

Lab Exp: when IV can be controlled or manipulated directly by researcher using standardized procedures and settings. Field Exp: conducted in the natural environment of p's involving some degreee of control/manipulation. Natural/Quasi Exp: May take place in labs or in genuine settings but IV is naturally occuring.LAB EXP: + Controlled and standardised procedures are easier to replicate which means that results can be assessed for reliability. + Setting allows for control of potentially confounding variables.+setting allows for standardization of procedure so that variables can be kept constant. - results gained in lab may not be replicated in real situations so often results lack generalisability beyond research setting. - P's may behave differently in labs than in natural environments so demand characteristics and researcher effects affect the results. - practically difficult to create in a lab a scenario that reflects real life, so results may lack eco-validity. Field Exp: + if p's are unaware that their behaviour is being observed there will be no demand characteristics displayed. +P's are less likely yo be affected by researcher effects than in a lab exp. + behaviour is taking place in a real not artificial environment therefore results are more ecologically valid. - LAck of control and standardization over research setting makes replication difficult. - It may be practically difficult or/and unethical for researchers to gather data unobtrusively.-it may be practically difficult to gain access to the kind of research environment required for the research. Natural exp: + method can be combined with either a lab-based method/field depending upon what is being investigated.+as the IV is naturally occuring results are often more ecologically valid.+method can point to cause and effect relationship in rare or atypical behaviours that are otherwise difficult to study. -Participant variables may confound results e.g. personal experiences,- it maybe practically difficut to find the naturally occuring IV due to its rarity. - If IV is rarely occuring or untypical, samples maybe small and unrepresentative and results then lack generalisability.

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Correlational analysis

To establish the direction and strength of relationships between variables.

+Avoids some of the practical &ethical problems raised by other methods as there is no direct involvement with or manipulation of p's.

+can reveal the direction and strength of a relationship between variables.

+Can be used on data from ecologically valid sources e.g. actual health stats.

-Cannot reveal cause + effect relationshiops.

-uses only quantitative data which may be reductionist and not holistic

-can only be performed on quan data which is ordinal or interval.

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Usually doesn't involve any direct manipulationof the IV.

Refers to the way in which the iv is measured, e.g. how data is gathered

disclosed observation-Sometimes p's know they are being observed

undisclosed observation-Sometimes they do not.

Participant observation-sometimes researchers are part of the setup.

Observer bias may be more likely in participant observation as researchers may become personally involved.

Controlled observations-involve researcher controlling certain variables-most labs. +allows for control and good access to p's, - often leads to p's feeling dehumanised and reacting to the artificial situation in which they find themselves. P's might behave in a very dif. way when in a lab and this tends not to reflect real life.

Field observations-involves researcher observing naturally occuring behaviour-has + of yielding data that is high in eco-validity.

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Structured v unstructured observations

Structured-using behaviour checklists to consistently record data.Rating behaviours on scales or coding behaviours. To ensure good inter-rater reliablity-essential that observers are familiar with and practiced at using whatever structure has been agreed upon to gather data.

+Behaviour  is recorded in a consisitent manner so that data has internal reliability. +As process is standardised it could be replicated so findings could be checked for external reliability.

-Establishing high inter-rater reliability takes time and may never be perfect. - behaviours that researchers have set out might not occur.

Unstructured-researchers may simply try to record what p's actually do as it occurs. Filmed records, audio recordings or hand written notes could be made.

+Allows researcher to record what is happening without constraints of pre-determined checklist so allows for more unexpected behaviours.+data gathered is often very detailed and descriptive-less reductionist.

-Analysis of data may be more diffcult due to its depth/detail. - much lower chance of inter-observer reliability as observers aren't following a pre-determined checklist.

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Self-report: Allows P to provide info on him/herself usually in form of interview or questionnaire.

+ Allows researcher to gather info about varaibles which may be difficult to investigate in other ways cuz they're very personal or occur rarely.+ enables researcher to gather both quan and qual data depending upon type of q's asked.

-P's may not respond in a truthful way- they may be unsure of whatquestion is asking so may guess incorrectly-more likely on a questionnaire where researcher is not able to clarify. - Risk of researcher bias in terms of q's being asked.

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Interviews: May be face-to face. Format= structured/unstructured.

SI- involves researcher asking p's pre-determined set of questions.

UI-involves researcher supporting the participant as they talk about what they need to

+ allows researcher to clarify q's if they are ambiguous cuz they are asking the questions directly of the P and respond to their queries. + SI are easy to standardize and replicate.

-Risk of researcher bias is increased-it may not be simply what the P is questioned about that reflects the researcher's beliefs about what is important but also how they ask the q's in terms of the words they use and non-verbal cues eg toneof voice. - takes longer to gather data cuz p's are questioned individually by the researcher.

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Open-ended q's allow p's to respond freely and in some depth if necessary. such q's tend to yield qualitative data.

Closed questions: restrict the responses p's can give amd result in quan data being gathered.

Fixed choice questions: allow p's to selected 1 of 2 responses e.g. yes/no.

Likert scales- involvep's  indicating the degree to which theyagreew with a statement relating to whatever it is the researcheris investigating attitudes towards.

+Takes less time to gather data cuz a group of p's can be questioned simultaneously. + p's may be more honestwhen subject matter is sensitive cuz they are able to answer anonymously and can avoid having to look at another person in the eye as thewy answer. - may appear less personal so it is more difficult to establish trust and warmth between P and researcher. -because researcher is absent when p's respond any ambiguous q's cannot be clarified and unexpected responses can be expanded upon spontaneously.

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