Psychology- Research Methods

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Aims, Hypotheses and Variables.

Aim- The purpose of the investigation.

Hypotheses- A precise and testable statement of the relationship between two variables.

  • Directional Hypothesis - States the direction of the predicted difference between two conditions. Prior research must have been done to obtain the direction of the results. Dependent Variable will be higher/lower in the group 'experimental condition' compared to the group 'control condition'.
  • Non-directional Hypothesis- States that there will be a difference between the two conditions without stating a direction.There will be a difference in the dependent variable between the group that 'experimental condition' and the 'control group'.


Independent Variable - Variable changed or manipulated by experimenter.

Dependent Variable - Variable affected by the Independent variable and will be measured by the experimenter.

Experimental Condition- Group that experience the chosen IV

Control Group - Group that does not experience the chosen IV.

Operationalisation- Make variable measurable and testable 

Control of Variables

Extraneous Variables- A variable other than the IV that could potentially affect the DV if not controlled.

Confounding Variable- Any variable other than the IV that may have affected the DV so we cannot be sure that what caused the changes in our DV. Confounding Variables vary systematically with the IV.

Investigator effects- The unconscious influence of the researcher on the research situation. This can be controlled by using Randomisation- The use of chance to reduce the researcher's influence and also Standardisation - Ensuring all participants are subject to the same experience.

Ethical Issues 

An Ethical Issue is a conflict between what the researcher needs to do to carry out the research and the rights of the participants.

BPS code of conduct- Respect the rights and dignity of participants.

BPS tell psychologist which behaviour are acceptable and how to deal with ethical dilemas. If psychologist do behave in unethical manner BPS reveiw the research and can stop a person from pratisicing psychology.

Ethical Issues 

  • Informed Consent - If the participant is given the true nature of the experimenter it could ruin the purpose of the study. Participants may still not understand what they have signed up to and presumptive consent is a problem because what people think they would be okay with is not always the case in reality.
  • Deception - This needs to be approved by the ethics commitee who will weigh up the cost and benefits and the chance to withdraw data after debreifing should be allowed although this does not alter the past and cost benefit analysis are subjective and not always clear until after the study.
  • Protection from harm- Researchers are not always able to predict the risk involved in their study so harm may still be caused.
  • Privacy- There is no universal agreement of what constitutes a public place even if the place is public people may still feel as if their privacy has been invaded.
  • Confidentiality- In some cases it may still be possible to identify participants on the basis of other information given.

Ethics Commitees must be in place in every institution to…




Debriefing notes??

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