Psychology - Research Methods

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What is a lab experiment?
A study in an artificial, controlled environment where the experimenter manipulates an IV and measures the DV
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What are 3 strengths of a lab experiment?
1. Good control of extraneous variables 2. Casual relationships can be determined 3. Standard procedures allow replication improving reliability
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What are 3 weaknesses of a lab experiment?
1. Artificial situations make p's behaviour unrepresentative 2. p's respond to demand characteristics & alter behaviour 3. Investigator effects may bias results
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What is a field experiment?
A study in which an IV is manipulated and DV measured in the p's normal setting
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What are 2 strengths of a field experiment?
1. P's in normal situation are likely to behave in a representative way 2. P's are likely to be unaware they're in study so demand characteristics will be less problematic
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What are 3 weaknesses of a field experiment?
1. Controlling extraneous variables is difficult than lab so researcher is less sure only the IV is affecting the DV 2. Fewer controls so harder to replicate 3. If p's are unaware of study, ethical issues are raised
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What is a natural experiment?
Where an experimenter uses an existing difference as levels of an IV then measures the DV in each condition
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What are 4 strengths of a natural experiment?
1. Used to study real-world issues 2. P's in normal situation, behaviour is likely to be representative 3. P's unaware of study, DC less problematic 4. Used to investigate variables that could not practically or ethically be manipulated
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What are 4 weaknesses of a natural experiment?
1. Only possible when naturally occurring differences arise 2. Control over EV is more difficult 3. Researcher not manipulating IV so is less sure that it is causing changes to the DV 4. Generally cannot be replicated
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What is an independent variable (IV)?
The factor manipulated in an experiment
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What is a dependent variable (DV)?
The factor measured in an experient
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What is an extraneous variable?
A factor that could effect the DV and hide the effect of the IV
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What are demand characteristics?
When the p's change their behaviour because they know the aim of the experiment
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What is a correlational study?
Research method used to investigate a link between two measured variables
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What are 2 strengths of a correlational study?
1. It can be conducted on variables which can be measured but not manipulated 2. It is possible to repeat the data collection so the findings can be verified
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What are 4 weaknesses of a correlational study?
1. Single CA cannot indicate whether relationship is causal 2. If CR found, due to one of measured variables or unknown variable 3. CA only used with variables that can be measured on a scale 4. Correlation found limited by reliability & validity
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What is an observational study?
A research method in which data collection is achieved by watching and recording the activity of people (or animals)
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What are 3 strengths of an observational study?
1. Behaviour likely to be highly representative of real life 2. Non-disclosed observations little risk of DC affecting behaviour 3. Data can be collected from p's who can't do self-reports or an experimental test (babies)
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What are 2 more strengths of an observational study?
4. Collect data when manipulation of a situation would be unethical or impractical 5. When behavioural categories are operationally defined, mutually exclusive & clearly observable, they are highly objective & reliable
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What are 4 weaknesses of an observational study?
1. P observers biased if become involved in social situation 2. Inter-observer reliability between multiple observers may be low 3. Non-disclosed observations raise ethical issues (p's are unaware) 4. EV are harder to control
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What is a questionnaire?
A self-report research method using written questions
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What are 3 strengths of a questionnaire?
1. Time & cost-efficient because easy to send or email to p's 2. Respondent more truthful on paper/online than face-to-face 3. Easy to analyse quantitative data from closed questions then from open questions
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What are 3 weaknesses of a questionnaire?
1. Response biases can reduce validity 2. Limited because no flexibility for new questions to be added to allow collection of useful but unexpected data 3. Return rates low & sample may be biased
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What is an interview?
A self-report research method asking verbal questions, typically face-to-face
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What are 2 strengths of an interview?
1. Structured interview data is easy to analyse 2. Semi or unstructured interviews let the researcher collect information that might be missed in structured techniques
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What are 2 weaknesses of an interview?
1. Structured interviews are limited by fixed questions 2. Investigator bias may reduce validity as expectations can alter the way questions are asked or the way responses are interpreted
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What is a case study?
An investigation of one person in detail using techniques such as interviewing, observation and conducting tests
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What are 3 strengths of a case study?
1. Provide rich, in-depth data which give more detailed info then can be obtained through other methods 2. Using different sources of info from range of techniques, researchers verify findings&more certain about them 3.Unusual instances are preserved
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What are 3 weaknesses of a case study?
1. Investigator may get to know individual well & lose objectivity 2. Variables cannot be controlled so casual relationships cannot be investigated 3. Evidence obtained from individual that relates to past hard to verify
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What is the aim of a study?
The purpose of a study e.g. what is being tested and why
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What is a hypothesis?
A testable statement predicting a difference between conditions in an experiment or a relationship between variables in a correlation
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What is a directional hypothesis? (experiments & correlations)
Experiments - Predicts which level of the IV will have higher scores on the DV. Correlations - Predicts the direction (positive or negative)
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What is a non-directional hypothesis? (experiments & correlations)
Experiments - Predicts that here will be a difference in the DV between levels of the IV. Correlations - There will be a relationship between the measured variables
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What is an experimental design?
The way in which participation in an experiment is organised. P's can perform in only one or all of the levels of the IV
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What is repeated measures?
When each p performs in every level of the IV
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What is independent groups?
When different groups of p's are used in each level of the IV
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What is matched pairs?
When p's are arranged into pairs that are similar in important ways for the study and one member of each pair performs in each level of the IV
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What are 3 strengths of independent groups?
1. IV has no order effects because different p's used in each level 2. P's only see experimental task once, reducing exposure to DC 3. Individual differences reduced by random allocation to levels of IV
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What are 2 weaknesses of independent groups?
1. Individual differences may distort results 2. More p's are needed than with repeated measures (less ethical or hard to find)
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What are 4 strengths of repeated measures?
1. Individual differences unlikely to distort effect of IV as p's do both levels 2. counterbalancing reduces order effects 3. fewer p's so is good when p's are hard to find 4. blind procedures reduces DC
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What are 2 weaknesses of repeated measures?
1, Order effects & extraneous variables may distort results 2. P's see experimental task more than once, increasing exposure to DC
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What are 3 strengths of matched pairs?
1. P's only see experimental task once, reducing exposure to DC 2. Controls for individual differences 3. No order effects
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What are 2 weaknesses of matched pairs?
1. Similarity between pairs is limited by matching process, which might be flawed 2. Matching p's is time-consuming & difficult
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What is naturalistic observation?
When the p is watched in their own environment
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What are behavioural categories?
Specific events in the p's stream of activity which are independent & operationally defined
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What is the design of questionnaires?
It uses written questions & is structured (the order is fixed). The questions can be closed (limited amount of possible answers) or open (allowing freedom to give longer, more detailed answers)
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What is the design of interviews?
Interviews can be structured or unstructured. They can also be semi-structured (a mixture of fixed & spontaneous questions)
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What is reliability & how is it tested?
It is the consistency of a measure. E.g. whether results from the same p's would be similar each time
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What is validity?
It is the extent to which a test measures what it set out to measure
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What are the guidelines for the British Psychological Society?(7)
1. Informed consent 2. Deception 3. Debriefing 4. Withdrawal (p's can leave study) 5. Confidentiality (personal info) 6. Protection (physical/psychological harm) 7. Privacy in observation (privacy not invaded)
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What are sampling techniques?
The way in which the group of p's (the sample) is selected from the population
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What is random sampling?
Selecting p's such that each member of a population has an equal chance of being chosen
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What is volunteer sampling?
This is a way to recruit people through advertising. The p's will respond to a request rather then being approached by the experimenter
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What is opportunity sampling?
Selecting p's according to availability
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What is 1 advantage of random sampling?
Representative as all types of people in the population are equally likely to be chosen
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What is 1 disadvantage of random sampling?
Everyone in the population must be equally likely to be chosen but this is hard to achieve
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What is 1 advantage of volunteer sampling?
Easy because p's come to you & are committed
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What is 1 disadvantage of volunteer sampling?
Non-representative as the kinds of people who respond to requests are likely to be similar
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What is 1 advantage of opportunity sampling?
Quicker & easier than other methods as p's are readily available
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What is 1 disadvantage of opportunity sampling?
Non-representative as the kinds of people available are likely to be limited, and therefore similar, making the sample biased
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What are investigator effects?
The influences the researcher has on the participants
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What is a pilot study?
A small-scale trial run of a method to identify any practical problems and resolve them
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What is the aim of a pilot study?
To check the method & find solutions to any issues. This ensures high reliability & validity
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How can data be presented & interpreted?
Using a graph, scatter-gram & table
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What is the measure of central tendancy?
A mathematical way to describe a typical or average score from a data set
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What is the measure of dispersion?
A mathematical way to describe how spread out the scores in a data set are
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What is the mean?
The average (add all of the numbers together & divide by how many there are)
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What is the mode?
The most common
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What is the median?
The middle number
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What is the range?
The difference between the smallest and largest score in a data set
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What is standard deviation?
The average variation either side of the mean (smaller the SD, less variation // larger the SD, more variation)
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What is quantitative data?
Numerical data from named categories or numerical scales
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What is qualitative data?
Descriptive data proving depth and detail
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What are 3 strengths of a lab experiment?

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1. Good control of extraneous variables 2. Casual relationships can be determined 3. Standard procedures allow replication improving reliability

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What are 3 weaknesses of a lab experiment?

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Card 4

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What is a field experiment?

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