Psychology Research Methods

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  • Created by: CJKALMM
  • Created on: 09-02-16 13:38
Experimental Method
Involves the manipulation of the IV to measure the effect on the DV. Can be a Lab, Field, Natural or Quasi Experiment.
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A general statement of what the researcher intends to investigate; the purpose of the study.
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A clear presise testable statement that states the relationship between the variables to be investigated. Stated at the start of a study.
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Directional Hypothesis
States the direction of the difference or relationship.
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Non-Directional Hypothesis
Does not state the direction.
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Any thing that can vary or change within a investigation. Variables are generally used in experiments to determine if the changes in one thing results in changes to another.
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Independent Variables
This is the thing that you change. It can be manipulated by the researcher or occur naturally.
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Dependent Variables
This is the thing the researcher measures, it is affected by the IV.
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Clearly defining variables in terms of how they can be measured.
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Extraneous Variables
A variable other than the IV that may have an effect on the DV if it isn't controlled. Don't vary systematically with the IV.
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Confounding Variables
A variable other than the IV which may have an affect on the DV so we aren't sure what caused the change of DV. Vary's systematically with the IV.
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Demand Characteristics
Participants may guess the aim of the study and they change their behaviour in the study.
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Investigators Effect.
The investigators behaviour may effect the outcome of the study.
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Use of chance in order to control the effects of bias when designing material and deciding order of conditions
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Using exactly the same formalised procedures and instructions for all participants in a research study.
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Experimental Design
The different ways in which the testing of participants can be organised in relation to the experimental conditions
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Independent Groups Design
Participants are allocated to different groups where each group represents one experimental condition.
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Repeated Measures
All particpants take part in all conditions of the experiment.
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Matched Pairs Design
Pairs of participants are first matched on some variables that may affect the DV. The one member of the pair is asigned to condition A the other to condition B.
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Random Allocation
An attempt to control for particiapant variables in an independent groups design which ensures each participant has the same chance at being in either condition.
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An attempt tot control the effects of order in a repeated measures design: half the participants experince the conditions in one order, the others in the opposite order
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Laboratory Experiment
An experiment which takes place in highly controlled environment, within it the research manipulates the IV and records the effecvt of the DV, whilst trying to remain in control of the extraneous variables.
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Field Experiments
An experiment which takes place in a natural setting within which the IV is manipulated and records the effect on the DV.
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Natural Experiment
An experiment where the change in the IV is brought on naturally not by the researcher, it would happen even if the researcher wasn't there. They record the effect on the DV.
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A study where the IV has not been identified by anyone, the variables simply just exist. Not really an experiment.
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A group of people who are the focus of the researcher's interest, from which a small sample is drawn.
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Group of people who take part in a research investigation. The sample is drawn from a target population and is presumed to be representative of that population.
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Sampling techniques
The method used to select people from the population.
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Extent to which findings and conclusions from a particular investigation can be broadly applied to the population.
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Ethical Issues
Arise when there is conflict between the rights of participants in research studies and the goals of research.
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Pilot Study
A small scale study conducted to ensure the method will work according to plan. If it doesn’t then amendments can be made.
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Naturalistic Observation
An observation study conducted in the environment where the behaviour would normally occur
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Covert Observation
Participants behaviour is watched and recorded without their knowledge or consent.
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Controlled Observation
Watching and recording behaviour within a structured environment.
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Overt Observation
Also known as a disclosed observation as the participants given their permission for their behaviour to be observed
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Participant Observation
Observation study where the researcher actually joins the group or takes part in the situation they are observing.
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Non-Participant Observation
Researcher remaines outside of the group who's behaviour they are watching and recording.
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Event Sampling
A target behaviour is identified and the observer records it every time it occurs
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Time Sampling
A way of sampling the behaviour that is being observed by recording what happens in a series of fixed time intervals.
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A set of written questions that participants fill in themselves
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A face to face or on the phone when a person asks a set of questions to assess thoughts and/or experiences. Questions may be pre-set or develop as interview goes on.
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Open Questions
Questions where there is no fixed response and participants can give any answer they like. They generate qualitative data.
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Closed Questions
Questions where there are fixed choices of responses e.g. yes/no. They generate quantitative data
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A mathematical technique where the researcher looks to see whether scores for two covariables are related
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The variables investigated in a correlation
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Positive Correlation
A relationship exists between two co-variables where as one increases, so does the other
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Negative Correlation
A relationship exists between two co-variables where as one increases, the other decreases
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Zero Correlation
There is no relationship between the two co-variables.
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Qualitative Data
Descriptive information that is expressed in words.
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Quantitative Data
Information that can be measured and written down with numbers.
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Primary Data
Information that the researcher has collected him/herself for a specific purpose e.g. data from an experiment or observation.
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Secondary Data
Information that someone else has collected e.g. the work of other psychologists or government statistics.
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A technique where rather than conducting new research with participants, the researchers examine the results of several studies that have already been conducted
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Descriptive Statistics
Analysis of data that helps describe, show or summarize data in a meaningful way. e.g. tables, graphs.
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Measures of Central Tendency
A measurement of data that indicates where the middle of the information lies e.g. mean, median or mode.
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Measure of central tendency calculated by adding all the scores in a set of data together and dividing by the total number of scores.
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Measure of central tendency calculated by arranging scores in a set of data from lowest to highest and finding the middle score.
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Measure of central tendency which is the most frequently occurring score in a set of data.
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Used to plot correlations where each pair of values is plotted against each other to see if there is a relationship between them.
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Bar Chart
A type of graph in which the frequency of each variable is represented by the height of the bars.
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Volunteer Sample
A sampling technique where participants put themselves forward to take part in research, often by answering an advertisement.
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Whether something is true – measures what it sets out to measure.
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Unstructured Observation
Observation where there is no checklist so every behaviour seen is written down in an much detail as possible.
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Unstructured Interview
There are no fixed questions just general aims and it is more like a conversation.
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Systematic Sample
A sampling technique where every nth person in a list of the target population is selected.
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Structured Observation
An observation study using predetermined coding scheme to record the participants' behaviour.
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Structured Interview
Interview where the questions are fixed and the interviewer reads them out and records the responses.
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Stratified Sample
A sampling technique where groups of participants are selected in proportion to their frequency in the target population.
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Standard Deviation
A measure of the average spread of scores around the mean. The greater the standard deviation the more spread out the scores are.
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Single-blind Control
Participants are not told the true purpose of the research.
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Sign Test
A statistical test used to analyse the direction of differences of scores between the same or matched pairs of subjects under two experimental conditions.
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Semi-structured Interview
Interview that has some pre-determined questions, but the interviewer can develop others in response to answers given by the participant.
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Right to Withdraw
Participants should be aware that they can leave the study at any time, even if they have been paid to take part.
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Representative Sample
A sample that that closely matched the target population as a whole in terms of key variables and characteristics.
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Whether something is consistent. In the case of a study, whether it is replicable.
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A measure of dispersion which involves subtracting the lowest score from the highest score in a set of data.
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Random Sampling
A sampling technique where everyone in the target population has an equal chance of being selected.
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Protection of Participants
Participants should be protected from physical or mental health, including stress - risk of harm must be no greater than that to which they are exposed in everyday life.
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Peer Review
Before going to publication, a research report is sent other psychologists who are knowledgeable in the research topic for them to review the study, and check for any problems.
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Order Effects
Order effects can occur in a repeated measures design and refers to how the positioning of tasks influences the outcome e.g. practice effect or boredom effect on second task.
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Opportunity Sample
A sampling technique where participants are chosen because they are easily available.
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Informed Consent
Psychologists should ensure that all participants are helped to understand fully all aspects of the research before they agree (give consent) to take part.
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A graph that is used for continuous data (e.g. test scores). There should be no space between the bars, because the data is continuous.
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Double-blind Control
Participants are not told the true purpose of the research and the experimenter is also blind to at least some aspects of the research design.
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Dispersion Measure
A dispersion measure shows how a set of data is spread out, examples are the range and the standard deviation.
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Involves misleading participants about the purpose of study.
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After completing the research, the true aim is revealed to the participant. Aim of debriefing = to return the person to the state s/he was in before they took part.
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Critical Value
The value that a test statistic must reach in order for the hypothesis to be accepted.
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Unless agreed beforehand, participants have the right to expect that all data collected during a research study will remain confidential and anonymous.
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Card 2


A general statement of what the researcher intends to investigate; the purpose of the study.



Card 3


A clear presise testable statement that states the relationship between the variables to be investigated. Stated at the start of a study.


Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4


States the direction of the difference or relationship.


Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5


Does not state the direction.


Preview of the back of card 5
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