Psychology Research Methods

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Correlations: a statistical technique used to calculate the correlation coefficient in order to quantify the strength of relationship between two variables.

Counterbalancing: a way of controlling order effects by having half the participants complete condition A followed by condition B; the other participants completes condition B followed by condition A.

Dependent variable (DV): the effect of the IV or what is measured in an experiment.

Demand characteristics: aspects of the experiment may act as cues to behaviour that cause the participants to change the way that they behave.

Ethical guidelines: the British Psychological Society (BPS) has issued a set of ethical guidelines for research involving human participants. These ethical guidelines are designed to protect the well being and dignity of research participants.

External validity: the validity of a study outside the research situation and the extent to which the findings can be generalised.

Field experiment: a way of conducting research in an everyday environment where one or more IVs are manipulated by the experimenter and the effect it may have is measured.

Hawthorne effect: when people are aware that they are being studied, they are likely to try harder on tasks and pay more attention.

Hypothesis: this states precisely what the researcher believes to be true about the target population and is testable statement.

Independent groups design: different participants are used in each of the conditions.

Independent variable (IV): the variable that is manipulated between experimental conditions.

Internal validity: the extent to which a measurement technique measures what it is supposed to measure, whether the IV really caused the effect on the DV or whether some other factor was responsible.

Inter-observer reliability: whether, in an observational study, if several observers are coding behaviour, their codings…

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