AQA A Psych - Research Methods

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  • Created by: Emma Rose
  • Created on: 07-01-12 18:38


Research Methods looks into how psychologists conduct research. This resource mainly contains keywords and their meanings. This is quite a detailed version - I will be creating briefer notes in the future which will be particularly good for quick revision. Things in Red are weaknesses of something, things in Green are the strengths. Things in Black Bold are key words.

Aims - Why you are carrying out a project. For example, you are wanting to investigate the relationship between chocolate and happiness.

Hypothesis - The Hypothesis turns the aim into a statement which can then be tested. For example, we can test the statement "Chocolate affects peoples' moods" and either prove it right or wrong.

  • When doing an experiment, it is called the Experimental Hypothesis.
  • When doing any other research, it is called the Alternative Hypothesis.


  • When we have an idea of what might happen and predict the experiment to go in a specific direction, this is called a Directional Hypothesis. For example, "Eating more chocolate makes people happier".
  • When we have no idea what might happen and we don't predict the experiment to go in any specific direction, this is called the Non-Directional Hypothesis. For example, "Eating more chocolate affects peoples moods in some way".

Variables - These are things that change during research.

  • Independent Variable (IV) - the things that the researcher changes.
  • Dependent Variable (DV) - the thing that you measure.
  • Extraneous Variable - something that may affect theDV
  • Confounding Variable - the Extraneous Variablebecomes this when it has affected the DV

Operationalised - This is when you write a hypothesis in a way that clearly shows how the DV is going to be measured.The Hypothesis becomes Operationalised.

Sampling - How you select your participants.

  • Random Sampling - the 'names in a hat' method that gives everyone a chance of being selected. However, it relies on all participants being available. If they're not, then it's not truly random. There is also a possibility of chance bias.
  • Opportunity Sampling - where you ask anyone you can find. Most of the population is excluded. There's a change of


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