Research Methods- PSYA1



Topic 1: Planning rsearch, aims and hypotheses.

In order to design and carry out a piece of psychological research you will need to follow a series of steps and make a number of decisions.

Step 1- Identify a problem or topic of interest

Step 2- Gather background information

Step 3- Identify research hypotheses or question.

Step 4- Choose a research method to collect data.

Step 5- Conduct a pilot study

Step 6- Collect date and test hypotheses

Step 7- Analyse the data

Step 8- Draw conclusions and report findings

Aims and Hypothesis

The aim of an investigation is a general statement about what the researcher wants to find out. This is different to the hypotheses which are TESTABLE STATEMENTS ABOUT BEHAVIOUR.

At the start of any investigation, the researcher constructs TWO hypotheses; a null hypothesis and an alternative hypothesis. These are two opposites of each other so logically ONE of them must be true.

The Null Hypothesis states that there will be NO difference or relationships between the two variables.

The Experimental or alternative hypothesis states that there will be a difference. This comes in two forms: -2 tailed hypothesis: states a difference but does not predict which way the difference will go. -1 tailed hypothesis: states which condtion will be faster, slower, hungrier, etc.

Example: In Loftus experiment into Eye Witness Testimony, she varied the wording of questions to ask about the speed in which 2 cars crashed:

Null hypothesis: There wil be no significant difference in the estimates of speed given by the participants in the hit/bumped/smashed conditions other than that produced by chance.

Experimental 2 tailed: There will be a difference in the estimates of speed given by participants in the hit/bumped/smashed condtions.

Experimental 1 tailed: Participants in the 'smashed' condition will give faster speeds than those in the 'bumped' condition.

Correlation hypotheses are written as follows:

Null: There will be no correlation between the amount of television watched at night and scores on the psychology test the next day.

2 tailed: There will be a correlation between the amount of television watched at night and scores on a psychology test the next day.

1 tailed: Students who watch more hour's television on Tuesday will score less on Wednesday's test.

Topic 2- Variables

Psychologists are interested in the relationship between different variables. The term 'variable' is simply the technical definition for something which varies between individuals- such as personal qualities or behaviours.

In an experiment, the research typically manipulates one variable (the independent variable) and measures its effects on the dependent variable. In correlational study, the researcher measures two variables to see if there is a pattern or relationship of any kind.

Example: In an experiment to assess the effects of loudness of music on memory, the research manipulated the loudness of the music (the iv) with three conditions (loud music, quiet music and no music) and measured the number of items recalled from a word list…


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