Research methods; condensed

  • Created by: niakm96
  • Created on: 12-05-14 11:50

Conducting Research.


  • Validity concers discovering what is real/genuine. Ecological validity concerns being able to generalise research findings behind a particular research setting. Internal validty concers whether a researcher is measuring what was intended to be measured.


  • Reliability concerns the consistency of a study.

Hypothesis and aims.

  • A hypothesis is a statement o what the researcherbelieves to be true. 
  • A hypothesis must be operationalised before a researcher can conduct a study to test the hypothesis.
  •  A directional hypothesis state whether changes are greater/lesser, positive or negative etc. 
  • A non-directional hypothesis doesn't state the direction. 
  • The aims of a study are a general statementof intention.


The experimental method.

  • Description: Must have a independent variable (IV) and a dependent variable (DV). The IV will be manipulated. The DV is assessed. There are levels of the IV, e.g in Loftus study the levels were the verbs:hit, contacted, bumped, smashed, collided.
  • Strengths: The deliberate manipulation of the IV means casual relationships can be investigated.
  • Limitations: The limitations of the experimental method vary depending on the type of experiment.

Laboratory Experiement

  • Description: A labatory is a special environment where casual relationships can be investigated under controlled conditons. EV's can be controlled. The importance of controlled conditions in a lab experiment is: 1) to control the IV. 2. Control extraneous variables (such as experimenter effects, things like the amount of lighting/ heat/ etc. 
  • Strengths: Ev's can be controlled. Lab experiements easily replicated.
  • Limitations: Lab experiements are artificial. Experimenter effects may influence the results. Demand characteristics may be a problem.

Field Experiment 

  • Description: More natural environement,less controlled. IV controlled but less so EVs.
  • Strengths: One strength is that there is greater ecological validity. Participants are not usually aware that theirbehaviour is being studied.
  • Limitations: More difficult to control EV's. There are ethical issues (not given opportunity to provide informed consent beorehand and are usually not debriefed at end of study, possible invasion of privacy).

Natual experiment

  • Description: Experimenter doesn't mainupulate the IV. DV may be assessed in the natural environment or in  a laboratory. 
  • Strengths: Enables behaviours to be studied where manipulation would not be possible. Greater ecological validity.
  • Limitations: natural experiments do not demonstrate a casual relationship. There is less control of EVs than in a lab experiment.

Experimental design

Independent groups design

  • Description: one group of people do conditon A and a second group do condition B. Random allocation is used to assign participants to groups.
  • Strengths: Method avoids the limitations of using a repeated measures design, e.g there are no order effects. There is less of a problem with participants guessing the aims of the study.
  • Limitations: The participant variables may act as EVs. More participants needed than for repeated measures design.

Repeated  measures design

  • Description: Each participant does all conditions, i.e is tested again. The order in which participants are tested may vary to avoid order effects.
  • Strengths: One strength is that this controls participant variables. Fewer participants are needed than for independent groups deisgn.
  • Limitations: Order effects can be a…


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