Psychology: RESEARCH METHODS

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  • Created by: rosie_pm
  • Created on: 03-04-18 11:28
What are the 4 main techniques used for collecting/ analysing data?
Self report, experiment, observation, Correlation.
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What types of self report are there?
Questionnaire, Interviews (structured, semi- structures, unstructured.)
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What is a questionnaire?
Written methods of gaining data from participants. The researcher does not have to be present.
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What are the 3 ways of measuring variables on questionnaires?
Rating scales=set of categories, can be 1-10. Likert scales=A linear scale from strongly agree to strongly disagree. Semantic differential scale= choosing from two extremes.
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What are the advantages of using questionnaires?
It is possible to generate quantitative data. Likert scales can increase ecological validity due to people having verbal opinions.
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What are the disadvantages of using questionnaires?
Questionnaires are based on words, so it is necessary to understand the vocabulary being used. Cultural limitations. Boredom. Participants can give fixed responses.
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What is a structured interview?
There is a structured set of questions to ask participants, everyone is treated equally, numerical data can be generated.
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What are the advantages of a structured interview?
It produces quantitative data.
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What are the disadvantages of a structured interview?
Limited by fixed questions.
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What is a semi-structured interview?
It uses more questions, some are fixed and some are spontaneous. This generates detailed, descriptive responses.
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What are the advantages of a semi-structured interview?
It produces qualitative data.
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What are the disadvantages of a semi-structured interview?
It can cause investigator bias.
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What is an unstructured interview?
New questions can be incorporated in response to the participants answers, which can't be done in a questionnaire.
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What are the advantages of an unstructured interview?
Useful for gaining in-depth information about individuals and new topics of discussion.
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What are the disadvantages of an unstructured interview?
Can cause investigator bias.
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What are the advantages of open questions?
They provide detail as participants can express opinions which raises validity.
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What are the disadvantages of open questions?
Time consuming as themes need to be identified.
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What are the advantages of closed questions?
Easy to respond to, large amounts of data can be collected quickly. Makes data reliable and generalisable.
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What are the disadvantages of closed questions?
Lack of detail and meaning. Risk of response bias, eg consistency saying yes.
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What types of experiment are there?
Laboratory, quasi, field.
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What are the advantages of a lab experiment?
Standardised instructions. Control of extraneous variables. Control of situational variables. Easy to replicate.
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What are the disadvantages of a lab experiment?
Controlled, artificial environment. Low in ecological validity. Prone to demand characteristics, ethical concerns.
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What are the advantages of a field experiment?
Setting is the participants normal environment. Behaviour is more representative, demand characteristics are minimised. High ecological validity.
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What are the disadvantages of a field experiment?
Difficult to maintain control over situational variables. Difficult to replicate.
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What are the advantages of a quasi experiment?
Behaviour observed in existing situation. Demand characteristics are minimised.
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What are the disadvantages of a quasi experiment?
More expensive and time consuming. No control over extraneous variables.
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What are the 3 types of experimental designs?
Repeated measures, independent measures, matched pairs.
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What is a repeated measure design?
The same participants take part in each condition of the IV.
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What are the advantages of a repeated measures design?
It reduces the effects of individual differences as all participants take part in both conditions.
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What are the disadvantages of a repeated measures design?
Order effects can be a problem including practice. Participants may become bored/ tired.
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What is an independent measures design?
Different participants are used in each condition of the IV.
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What are the advantages of an independent measures design?
Demand characteristics are less likely as participants only take part in one condition. There is no risk of order effects, fatigue or boredom.
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What are the disadvantages of an independent measures design?
Individual differences are a problem. Characteristics such as age/ gender could affect the DV.
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What is a matched pairs design?
Each condition uses different but similar participants.
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What are the advantages of a matched pairs design?
Order effects are not observed as participants only take part in one condition. Reduced risk of individual differences affecting results.
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What are the disadvantages of a matched pairs design?
Time consuming and expensive. Matching participants is a very complex process, it is difficult.
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What types of observation are there?
Structured/ Unstructured, Naturalistic/ Controlled, Overt/ Covert, Participant/ non-Participant.
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What is a structured observation?
Range study is narrowed to a small set of clearly defined behaviours.
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What is an unstructured observation?
Any behaviours recorded are deemed relevant.
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What is a controlled observation?
An artificial environment is purposefully created for the observation.
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What is a naturalistic observation?
Participants are observed in their normal environment.
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What is an overt observation?
The participants are aware that they are being observed, they have either given consent or aware due to the observers presence.
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What is a covert observation?
The participants are unaware that they are being observed.
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What is a participant observation?
The participants behaviour is recorded by an engaged researcher, who is part of the group being studied.
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What is a non-participant observation?
The participants behaviour is recorded without the observer being engaged with them/ part of the group being studied.
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What are the advantages of a structured observation?
Operational conditions can be developed in a pilot study before data collection begins- this improves validity. It produces reliable data as can be easily replicated by other researchers (using fixed categories.)
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What are the disadvantages of a structured observation?
There is a lack of validity: different researchers may place the same event into different categories.
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What are the advantages of an unstructured observation?
It provides detailed data. Unexpected behaviours are still included. Provides qualitative data.
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What are the disadvantages of an unstructured observation?
Difficult to analyse as large chunks of data gathered. Difficult to replicate.
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What are the advantages of a controlled observation?
Data recording is likely to be reliable as equipment is used, and researchers can be obvious. Extraneous variables can be controlled. Validity is high compared to naturalistic observations. Compared to experiments more behaviours explored.
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What are the disadvantages of a controlled observation?
Unfamiliar environment so participants may react differently. Social situation limited so cannot completely represent the complexity of a social situation.
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What are the advantages of a naturalistic observation?
Participants are in their normal environment so more likely to react in realistic ways. Reactions can be observed within a complete and complex social setting. Useful in situations where interruption is unethical and cooperation unlikely.
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What are the disadvantages a naturalistic observation?
Extraneous variables can rarely be controlled, this is a threat to the validity. It is difficult to ensure reliability of data collection as it would be obvious.
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What are the advantages of an overt observation?
As the participants are aware of observer's presence, the technique is more ethical than a covert observation.
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What are the disadvantages of an overt observation?
Participants will be aware that they are being watched so their responses may not reflect what they would normally do.
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What are the advantages of a covert observation?
Participants are less likely to be aware that they are being observed so more likely to react in a genuine way. If covert observers are hidden, data recording can use equipment to make more accurate and detailed records.
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What are the disadvantages of a covert observation?
If observers are identified/ suspected then validity is compromised. Ethical considerations: deception (participants unaware they are being watched.)
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What are the advantages of a participant observation?
Being involved in the social group can give the observer insight into participants real emotions/ motives. Increases validity as participants behave more normally as they are unaware of the observers dual role. Participants reveal more unknowingly.
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What are the disadvantages of a participant observation?
Being involved in the social group can make the observer subjective. Observer has to be hidden, raises ethical issues of deception.
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What are the advantages of a non- participant observation?
If non- participant observers are covert, eg hidden behind a one- way screen, data recording can use equipment to make accurate and detailed records. Observers remain objective as not involved.
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What are the disadvantages of a non- participant observation?
If participants unaware that they are being observed it raises ethical issues about deception, right to withdraw, informed consent. If participants are aware of the observer, this may produce demand characteristics.
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What types of correlation are there?
Positive, negative, no correlation.
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What is a correlation?
A form of data analysis. 2 sets of data are gathered from a sample and analysed to see if there is a relationship between them.
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What is a positive correlation?
Two variables increase together.
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What is a negative correlation?
As one variable increases, the other decreases.
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What is no correlation?
When there is no relationship found between the variables.
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What are the advantages of a correlation?
It allows us to measure the relationship between variables which it would be difficult or unethical to manipulate experimentally. Correlation supports psychology as a science.
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What are the disadvantages of a correlation?
Correlation does not mean causation. ie, just because two variables are correlated this does not mean that one of them has caused the other one to change.
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What is standardisation?
Keeping everything the same for all participants so that the investigation is fair.
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What is an advantage of standardisation?
It allows researchers to compare tests.
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What is randomisation?
Everyone has an equal opportunity to participate, and be placed in different conditions.
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What is an advantage of randomisation?
It avoids systematic errors that the order of the trials present.
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What is counterbalancing?
The sample is split in half with one half completing the two conditions in one order and the other half completing the conditions in the reverse order.
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What is an advantage of counterbalancing?
It is a method used to deal with extraneous effects caused by order effects that arise when using a repeated measures design.
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What is a research aim?
It identifies the purpose of the investigation.
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What is a research question?
What the researchers want to find out.
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What is a hypothesis?
A precise, testable statement of what the researchers predict will be the outcome of the study.
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What are the 4 types of hypothesis?
Alternate hypothesis, null hypothesis, one-tailed (directional) hypothesis, two-tailed (non-directional) hypothesis.
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What is a null hypothesis?
Predicts that there will be no relationship between the variables being tested- the independent variable will not have the predicted effect on the dependent variable. Results are due to chance.
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What is an alternative hypothesis?
Predicts that there will be a relationship between the variables being tested, results are not due to chance.
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What is a one-tailed hypothesis?
A specific effect is predicted, it has a direction. It predicts the nature of the effect of the IV on the DV.
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What is a two- tailed hypothesis?
An effect is predicted but not specified, it has no direction.
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What is the criteria for a hypothesis?
Must be testable, must make a prediction, prediction must be verifiable/ testable.
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What is a target population?
The section or group of people whom psychologists want to study.
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What are the 4 types of sampling techniques?
Self selected sampling, Random sampling, snowball sampling, opportunity sampling.
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What is random sampling?
Every member of the target population has an equal chance of being selected to be in the sample. List of participants names pulled from hat/ random number generator.
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What are the advantages of random sampling?
Equal chance avoids bias. Ir is generalisable.
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What are the disadvantages of random sampling?
It is impossible to obtain a truly random sample. Not all target population may be known.
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What is snowball sampling?
Starts from one participant, others are contacted.
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What is an advantage of snowball sampling?
Useful when difficult to access a target group (eg drug addicts.)
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What are the disadvantages of snowball sampling?
There is bias in sample as similar characteristics. It is difficult to access a wide sample.
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What is opportunity sampling?
The researcher selects the most convenient people to study, participants who are available.
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What are the advantages of opportunity sampling?
It is cost and time effective. Large access to sample.
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What is a disadvantage of opportunity sampling?
It is not representative (bias).
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What is self selected sampling?
Also known as a volunteer sample, where the participants volunteer to take part in the research.
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What are the advantages of self selected sampling?
It is more reliable (avoids dropout). Consent given, participants are informed.
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What is a disadvantage of self selected sampling?
Not representative. (eg only people who read newspaper.)
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What is the independent variable?
The variable that is manipulated.
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What is the dependent variable?
The variable that is measured.
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What are the control variable(s)?
Variable(s) that stay the same.
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What are extraneous variables?
Variables that may influence behaviour, and therefore have an effect on the results of the experiment.
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What are participant variables?
Personal factors within a person that can vary with time or situation.
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What are situational variables?
Environmental factors which can vary in the environment, eg during experimental procedures.
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Why do we operationalise the IV and the DV?
To control extraneous variables.
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How do we operationalise the IV?
Specify the manner in which the IV is manipulated.
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How do we operationalise the DV?
Specify the manner in which the DV will be measured.
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What are the advantages of operationalising the IV & DV?
Variables can be studied scientifically. Variables are unambiguous.
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What are behavioural categories?
When the researcher devises an observation schedule, so that what is going to be observed and how it is going to be observed is all decided before the observation takes place.
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What are coding frames?
Break down the behaviour into a number of categories. The system is objective, mutually exclusive, and covers all possible behaviours.
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What is event sampling?
Where an event is recorded each time it happens.
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What are the advantages of event sampling?
Can record every occurrence of each behaviour to give a complete record. Records are easy to obtain and to analyse as they are just totals.
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What are the disadvantages of event sampling?
Gives no indication of the relative time spent on each behavioural category. Gives no indication of order in which events from each behavioural category occur.
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What is time sampling?
Behaviour is recorded at the given time intervals.
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What are the 2 types of time sampling?
Time event sampling, time point sampling.
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What is time event sampling?
Where a fixed period of time is set for observation and any events within that time are recorded.
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What is time point sampling?
Where the observer records what the participant is doing at fixed intervals. eg every every ten minutes.
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What are the advantages of time sampling?
Can give an indication of order in which events happen, and of relative time spent on each behaviour.
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What are the disadvantages of time sampling?
Even with computerised systems, difficult to record as many different behaviours in time sampling as can be recorded in event sampling. Records more difficult to obtain as timings have to be precise, if indicated by timer,demand characteristics.
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What is is instantaneous scan sampling?
Only the action being performed at start of each preset interval is recorded.
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What is an advantage of instantaneous scan sampling?
Can be highly reliable,
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What is predominant activity scan sampling?
The observer watches throughout preset interval, and records the behaviour that the individual performed most during that time.
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What is an advantage of predominant activity scan sampling?
Provides an estimate of time spent on each behaviour.
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What is a disadvantage of predominant activity scan sampling?
Provides only a relative estimate of time spent on each behaviour, not an actual measure.
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What is one-zero sampling?
The observer uses behavioural categories and records whether the behaviour occurred within the period.
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What is an advantage of one-zero sampling?
Can record the occurrence of infrequent behaviours.
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What is a rating scale?
The participant responds by rating their response on a scale, allowing the researcher to understand their behaviour/ opinion in more detail.
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What is a rank style?
The participant ranks a number of fixed possible responses in order of most to least relevant.
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What is a likert style?
The participant responds to statement with strongly agree- strongly disagree.
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What is a semantic differential scale?
The participant responds to two words that are opposites by ticking a space on a continuum.
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What is raw data?
Data that has been collected but not analysed?
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What are raw data tables?
Tables sued to collect data, often frequency tables or tally charts.
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What are summary tables?
Summary of outcomes/ findings usually presented in a table.
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What are the levels/ types of data?
Primary data, secondary data, nominal level data, ordinal level data, interval level data, qualitative data, quantitative data.
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What is primary data?
Results of an investigation a researcher is conducting.
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What is secondary data?
Using the data of research which has already been conducted, and can be re-analysed.
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How can we analyse pre-existing data?
Through meta-analysis.
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What is nominal level data?
Categories of behaviour and how often they occur. Data becomes groups, individual behaviour is not considered.
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What is ordinal level data?
Individual data which show which participant did the behaviour the most or least and indicates the position of a participant in the group.
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What is interval level data?
Data which has equal intervals and shows how much difference there is between one participant and another. It is more detailed.
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Quantitative data?
Numbers.
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What are the advantages of quantitative data?
Measures variables which facilitates comparison. Easy to summarise data and reliability. Less likely to be influenced by researcher bias.
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What is qualitative data?
Descriptions in words of what was observed or what a participant is feeling.
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What are the advantages of qualitative data?
Increased validity and detail.
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What are the disadvantages of qualitative data?
Lack of ecological validity. Time consuming. Influenced by researcher's interpretation. More difficult to make comparisons and summarise data.
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What are the measures of central tendancy?
Mode, median, mean.
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What are the measures of dispersion?
Variance, range, standard deviation.
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What are the types of statistics?
Histograms, ratios, percentages, fractions, frequency tables, scatter diagram, line graphs, pie charts, bar charts.
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List the methodological issues:
Representativeness, genralisability, reliability, validity, demand characteristics, social desirability, researcher/observer bias, researcher/ observer effects, ethical considerations.
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What is representativeness?
How well or accurately something reflects upon a sample.
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What is genralisability?
The extent to which research findings can be applied to settings other than that in which they were originally tested.
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What is internal reliability?
Consistency of results of a test across items within that test.
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What is external reliability?
The extent to which a test score varies from one time to another.
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What is inter-rater reliability?
Where two observers consistently rate or observe the same behaviour and the two sets of ratings are correlated to ensure that observations are not subjective.
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What is test- retest reliability?
If the same participants respond to the same test twice in a similar way, the test has external reliability.
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What is split half reliability?
Scores from two halves of a test are compared. If the scores correlate, the measure has good reliability.
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What is internal validity?
The extent to which extraneous variables are controlled & the effect of the IV on the DV is truly being measured.
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What is face validity?
The degree to which a psychological test appears effective in terms of its stated aims. (How good it is at testing what it is meant to be testing.)
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What is construct validity?
The degree to which a test/ study measures the actual behaviour it sets out to measure.
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What is concurrent validity?
Where a test is validated against an existing measure, the extent to which the results of a test correspond to those of a previously established test.
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What is criterion validity?
How much one measure predicts the value of another measure.
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What is external validity?
The extent to which the conclusions from research can be generalised to people outside of that study.
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What is population validity?
How accurately the test/ study measures behaviour in the general population.
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What is ecological validity?
The extent to which the findings of a study are able to be generalised to real life settings.
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What are demand characteristics?
Where participants interpret the aims of the research and change their behaviour to fit these aims.
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What is social desirability?
Where participants try to present themselves as being good members of society.
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What is researcher bias?
Where the researcher influences the results, in order to portray a certain outcome.
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What is observer bias?
Where observers tend to see what they expect to see, or what they want to see.
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What are researcher/ observer effects?
Effects on participants' behaviour/ responses which are brought about by the researcher's or observers presence.
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What is informed consent?
Permission granted (by participant) in full knowledge of the circumstances/ possible consequences of the study.
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What is right to withdraw?
The participants must be told that they have the right to withdraw from the study at any time/ for any reason should they wish to.
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What is confidentiality?
Participants have the right to be kept anonymous from the conclusions of the study, and they have the right to have their data kept entirely confidential.
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What is competence?
The need for psychologists to work within their own capabilities, not giving advice to participants if not qualified to do so, and to check their research with peers. Monitor their own and others competence to carry out research appropriately.
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What is the protection of participants?
Participants should be protected from all physical and psychological harm.
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What is debrief?
The participant should leave the research in the same state of mind as they arrived. So any deception is removed, they are legitimately told the aim of the study, again given right to withdraw, ensured confidentiality, and can ask questions.
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What is deception?
Misleading participants about the purpose/ direction of the study.
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What are the principles of science?
Study of cause and effect, falsification, replicablity, objectivity, induction, deduction, hypothesis testing, manipulation of variables, control and standardisation, quantifiable measurements.
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What is cause and effect?
Where research can- to any significance level- show that one factor actually causes a change in behaviour.
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What is falsification?
Falsifying/ proving wrong the claim, done by assuming other explanations and testing them.
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What is replicability?
To be able to repeat and therefore support or refute the findings from another piece of research.
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What is objectivity?
All sources of bias should be eliminated.
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What is induction?
The concept that we observe something and provide a theory for this.
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What is deduction?
The conclusion based n irrefutable proof.
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What is hypothesis testing?
Once a theory has been identified based on observations, then in scientific enquiry a hypothesis is formulated and this can be tested in empirical research.
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What is manipulation of variables?
The IV must be manipulated, to enable us to see if there is any resultant effect on the behaviour.
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What is control?
To be clear on cause and effect, other extraneous variables have to be eliminated as far as possible.
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What is standardisation?
Keeping the test conditions the same for every participant. A method of controlling situational variables/ environmental factors which might influence the participants behaviour.
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What are quantifiable measurements?
Quantitative data, which is observable and objective should be used to identify the impact of the IV.
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What are the advantages of using mean as a measure of central tendency?
Produces one distinct answer making it useful for comparing sets of data.
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What are the disadvantages of using mean as a measure of central tendency?
Includes inflated or dilated result when extreme outliers are present. Mean tends to be affected by extreme values.
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What are the advantages of using mode as a measure of central tendency?
Most used with non-numeric data. Outliers don't affect the mode.
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What are the disadvantages of using mode as a measure of central tendency?
May not be one distinct answer, there may be more than one mode in a set, or no mode in a set. Possibility of more than one answer makes it misleading.
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What are the advantages of using median as a measure of central tendency?
Outliers or skewed data do not affect the median as strongly as they affect the mean. Produces one distinct answer.
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What are the disadvantages of using median as a measure of central tendency?
Overall data is not included nor analysed, making it difficult to conclude information about general behaviour.
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What is a type 1 error?
Rejecting the null hypothesis as there is a conclusion there is a difference or relationship, when there is no difference.
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What is a type 2 error?
Accepting the null hypothesis as researchers have concluded that a difference or relationship between variables does not exist when there is one.
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What is parametric testing?
A powerful significance test that makes estimations of population parameters, therefore to use this test particular assumptions of data must be met.
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What are the assumptions of a parametric test?
Populations drawn from should be normally distributed. Variances of population should be approximately equal. Should be no extreme scores. Should have interval/ ratio data. Should have independent measures design. Measure of central tendency mean.
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What are the advantages of correlations?
Can investigate unethical issues (naturally occurring variables), conclusions can easily be drawn, useful as a preliminary research technique (further research from correlation.)
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What are the disadvantages of correlations?
Causations cannot be drawn, difficult to explore further factors (beyond data given), correlations can be misused (wild claims by media.)
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What types of self report are there?

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Questionnaire, Interviews (structured, semi- structures, unstructured.)

Card 3

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What is a questionnaire?

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Card 4

Front

What are the 3 ways of measuring variables on questionnaires?

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What are the advantages of using questionnaires?

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