G541 Psychological Investigations

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Purpose of an Experiment
To prove cause and effect
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Types of experiment
Laboratory, Field, Natural/Quasi
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What is a laboratory experiment?
An experiment carried out in an artificial setting
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3 Strengths of laboratory experiments
High control, replicable, establish cause and effect
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3 weaknesses of laboratory experiments
low EV, demand characteristics, experimenter bias
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Blind-technique
Participants don't know whether they are in the control group or the experimental group
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Double-blind technique
Participants and experimenter don't know who is in the experimental group
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What is a field experiment?
An experiment carried out in a natural setting
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2 strengths of field experiments
High EV, No demand characteristics
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2 weaknesses of field experiments
Lack of control, Hard to replicate
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What is a Quasi experiment?
An experiment where the IV varies naturally
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2 Strengths of Quasi experiments
High EV, No demand characteristics
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2 Weaknesses of Quasi experiments
No control, Hard to replicate
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Two variables in experiments:
Independent and Dependent
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What is an Independent variable (IV)?
An event/feature that is directly manipulated by the experimenter to test effect on DV
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What is a Dependent Variable (DV)?
Measurable outcome of an action of the IV in an experiment
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What is meant by Operationalisation?
Providing variables in a form that can be easily tested
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What is a Hypothesis/Alternate Hypothesis?
Precise statement about the relationship between variables such as IV+DV
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Null Hypothesis
A statement of no difference/relationship. E.g. there is no difference in the number of friends of people who smile a lot and those who don't smile a lot.
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One-tailed hypothesis
States the direction of the predicted difference between 2 conditions or 2 groups of participants. E.g. People who smile a lot have more friends than people who do not smile a lot
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Two-tailed hypothesis
States difference between 2 conditions or 2 groups of participants, without stating the direction of the difference.
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Forms of Experimental Design
Unrelated and Related
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Included within Unrelated
Independent Measures Design
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Included within Related
Repeated Measures Design and Matched Pairs Design
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What is meant by Independent Measures Design?
Participants are allocated to 2 or more experimental groups representing different experimental conditions
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2 strengths of Independent measures
Avoids order effects, Reduced demand characteristics
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2 weaknesses of Independent measures
Needs more participants, No control of participant variables
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What is Repeated measures Design?
Each participant takes part in every condition under test
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2 strengths of Repeated measures
Good control for participant variables, Fewer participants needed
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2 weaknesses of Repeated measures
Order effects, Participants may guess purpose of study
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What is meant by a Matched Pairs Design?
Participants are matched in terms of variables relevant to the study
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2 strengths of Matched pairs
No individual differences, extraneous variables controlled
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2 weaknesses of Matched pairs
Haven't eliminated individual differences, Need more participants
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What are extraneous variables?
Any variables other than the IV that might potentially affect the DV and thereby confound the results
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What are Participant Variables?
Personal variables (e.g. intelligence) and Gender
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What are Situational Variables?
Order effects, Environmental factors (e.g. temperature, time), Investigator bias and Demand characteristics
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3 Sampling techniques
Random, Opportunity and Self-selected
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What is a Random Sample?
All members of target population have an equal chance of being selected, usually picked out of a hat or random-number generator
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Strength of a Random sample
Unbiased sample is possible
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Weakness of a Random sample
Process is time consuming and impractical
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What is an Opportunity sample?
Participants are chosen from a pool of people easily available to the researcher
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Strength of an Opportunity sample
Easiest and quickest method
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Weakness of an Opportunity sample
Potential for researcher bias
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What is a Self-selected sample?
Participants volunteer to be involved
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Strength of Self-selected sample
Convenient method
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Weakness of Self-selected sample
Biased sample is possible
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3 types of observation
Participant/Non-participant, Overt/Covert and Structured/Unstructured
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What is the difference between a Participant observation and a Non-participant observation?
In Participant the observer is a participant in the activity being studied and in Non-participant, the observer doesn't join in with activity
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Strength and Weakness of Participant observations
(+) More insights about behaviour (-) May lose objectivity
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Strength and Weakness of Non-participant observations
(+) Objective data (-) May lose insights about behaviour
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What is the difference between Overt and Covert observations?
In Overt, observer only watches participants whereas in Covert the participants are not aware they are being studied
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Strength and Weakness of Overt observations
(+) Avoids lack of informed consent (-) Demand Characteristics
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Strength and Weakness of Covert observations
(+) More natural behaviour (-) Raises ethical issues
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What is the difference between Structured and Unstructured observations?
Structured observations use a coding scheme designed to record behaviour whereas Unstructured record the behaviour they see
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Strength and Weakness of Structured observations
(+) Provides quantitative data (-) Data may not be as in-depth
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Strength and Weakness of Unstructured observations
(+) Provides qualitative data (-) May not record all behaviour
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What is a coding system?
Observer ticks the relevant category when one behaviour occurs to provide quantitative data
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2 Strengths of Coding systems
Simple and Quantitative data collected
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2 Weaknesses of Coding systems
Restricted view and Data may not be as in-depth
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What is the difference between Controlled and Naturalistic observations
In Controlled observations the researcher controls some variables whereas in Naturalistic observations the participants are observed in their normal surroundings
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Strength and Weakness of Controlled observations
(+) Can control environment of observations (-) Environment may feel unnatural
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Strength and Weakness of Naturalistic observations
(+) High EV (-) Little control
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What is meant by Sampling observational data?
Observe continuously and record everything in detail
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What are the sampling observational methods?
Event Sampling and Time Sampling
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What is Event Sampling?
Recording an event every time it happens
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Strength and Weakness of Event Sampling
(+) Useful - behaviour happens occasionally (-) May miss observations if too much happens at once
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What is Time Sampling?
Researcher decided on a time (e.g. 20 seconds) and records everything that happens then
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Strength and Weakness of Time Sampling
(+) Task is more manageable - don't need to note behaviour (-) observations may not be representative
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What is meant by Self-report?
Where participants are asked to make subjective judgements that allows the researcher to find out what they think and feel.
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Forms of Self-report?
Questionnaire, Structured interview, Semi-structured interview, Unstructured interview
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What is a Questionnaire?
Respondents record their own answers, Questions are predertermined.
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2 strengths of Questionnaire?
Easily repeated so data can be collected from large numbers of people cheaply and quickly, Respondents may feel more willing to reveal personal info than in an interview.
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2 weaknesses of Questionnaire?
Sample may be biased as only certain kinds of people fill in questionnaires, Questionnaires may occur after the event so P's may forget imporant issues.
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What is a structured interview?
Predertermined questions delivered in real-time e.g. face to face or over the phone.
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2 strengths of structured interviews?
Easily repeated, Easier to analyse than unstructured interviews because answers are more predictable.
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2 weaknesses of structured interviews?
Interviewer's expectations may influence answers given (interviewer bias), An extensive amount of pre-planning is necessary.
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What is a Semi-structured interview?
New Questions are developed as you go along.
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2 strenghs of semi-structured interviews?
More detailed info as questions are shaped to the P, Access info that may not be revealed by predetermined Q's
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2 weaknesses of semi-structured interviews?
Prone to interviewer bias (leading Q's), Requires well-trained interviewers = very expensive.
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What is meant by an Unstructured interview?
No Q's are decided in advance.
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True or False: The strengths and weaknesses for Unstructured interviews are not the same as Semi-structured interviews?
False
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What are Open Questions?
Questions that invite respondents to provide their own answers
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2 strengths of Open questions?
Qualitative data can be obtained, Unanticipated findings can be discovered.
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2 weaknesses of Open questions?
More difficult to detect patterns or draw conclusions (answers are different), Responses may be irrelevant or buried in useless detail.
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What are Closed Questions?
Questions with limited choices
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2 strengths of Closed questions?
Easier to analyse (Quantitative data provided), Easier to draw conclusions
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2 weaknesses of Closed questions?
May not permit full expression of feelings, Oversimplifies reality + human experience as it suggests there are simple answers
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What are Rating scales (Likert scale)?
Respondents are asked to give a rating for their answer e.g. 1 - 5
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2 strengths of Rating scales?
Reasonably objective way to represent feelings and attitudes about something (Quantitative data), More detail than a YES/NO answer
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2 weaknesses of Rating scales?
Respondents may avoid ends of scales and go for the 'middle' - not representing true feelings, Tendancy for demand characteristics.
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What is a Correlation?
A measurement of the relationship between 2 variables rather than the difference between 2 groups.
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What is a Positive Correlation?
One variable increases, so does the other.
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What is a Negative Correlation?
One variable increases, the other decreases.
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What is meant by No Correlation?
There is no relationship between the 2 variables at all.
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How can you present correlations?
Using a Scattergraph as each dot represents one person.
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What is a Coefficient?
A number between -1 and +1, where -1 is a perfect negative correlation and +1 is a perfect positive correlation and 0 is no correlation at all.
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What does the correlation coefficient give?
A statistical analysis of the extent of a correlation.
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Are there an IV's or DV's in correlations?
NO
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How would you write a 1-tailed hypothesis for a correlation?
There will be a negative/positive correlation.
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How would you write a 2-tailed hypothesis for a correlation?
The 2 variables could be correlated.
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How would you write a Null hypothesis for a correlation?
There is no relationship between 2 variables.
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2 strengths of correlations?
Can be used when it would not be ethical/practical to conduct an experiment, If the correlation is not strong then you can rule out a causal relationship.
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2 weaknesses of correlations?
Cannot show a cause+effect relationship, May be intervening variables that explain why co-variables are correlated.
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What does BPS and APA stand for?
British Psychological Society and American Psychiatric Association
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What is an ethical issue?
A conflict between what the researcher wants and the rights of participants
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What is meant by informed consent?
P's are given comprehensive information concerning the nature and purpose of a study and their role in it so they can decide whether to participate in it.
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What is Deception?
Occurs when a P is not told the true aims of a study.
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What is meant by the Right To Withdraw?
P's should have the right to withdraw from participating in a study if they are uncomfortable in any way. Also have the right to remove any of their data.
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What is meant by Protection From Harm?
During a study P's should not experience negative physical or psychological effects.
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What is Privacy?
The person's right to control the flow of information about themselves.
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What is meant by Anonymity and Confidentiality?
P's right to have personal information protected through anonymity or keeping info safe.
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What are the 4 levels of data?
Nominal, Ordinal, Interval and Ratio
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What is Nominal data?
Data is allocated to categories.
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What is Ordinal data?
Data on a sliding scale where the gaps between numbers are not identical.
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What is Interval data?
Gaps between numbers are now identical.
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What is Ratio data?
Gaps between numbers are now identical.
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What is the difference between Interval data and Ratio data?
In Interval, 0 still means something allowing for negative numbers whereas in Ratio 0 is 0 and there isn't anything else.
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What are the 3 measures of central tendancy?
Mean, Median and Mode
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How do you calculate the mean?
Add up all the numbers and divide by the number of numbers.
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How do you calculate the median?
Place all the values in numerical order and select the middle value.
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How do you calculate the mode?
Identify a group or groups which are/is most common.
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What is meant by Measures of Dispersion?
The spread of the scores.
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Identify the 2 measures of dispersion?
Range and Standard Deviation
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How do you calculate the Range?
Top-Bottom
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What is Standard Deviation?
Measure of the spread of the scores from the mean, Larger SD = wider scores
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Types of experiment

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Laboratory, Field, Natural/Quasi

Card 3

Front

What is a laboratory experiment?

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Card 4

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3 Strengths of laboratory experiments

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Card 5

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3 weaknesses of laboratory experiments

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