Research methods

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  • Created on: 11-05-17 21:54
Longitudinal studies
A longitudinal study conducted over a long period of time in order to observe long term effects.
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An example of a longitudinal studies
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Strengths of longitudinal studies
+Longtidunal studies control participants variables. +use repeated measures design + cross sectional studies are quick and can be conducted in less than a year.
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Weaknesses of longitudinal studies
- Attrition -drop out rates
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Cross-sectional studies.
An alternative study the effects of age is to conduct a cross-sectional study. One group of participants of a young age are compared to another older group.
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PET scans
Position emission tomography. Administer glucose to the patient. Active areas use up glucose. Raine et al use this
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Advantages of PET scans
-Distinguish between belign and malignant tumours.
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weaknesses of PET scans
Pet scans are less precise than MRI scans. People are injected with radioactive substances.
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CAT scans
computed axial tomography. x-rays and combining to form 3D picture of area being scanned. Dye is injected into patient. Johnstone et al (1976) used scan to show.
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Strength of CAT scans
-reveal abnormal brain structures. -quality of images higher than traditional x-rays,
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weaknesses of CAT scans
-exposure to radiation.
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Magnetic resonance imaging
use of magnetic field. atoms change alignment and emit radio signals. Macquire et al (2000) MRI scans to demonstrate taxi drivers with large hippocampi.
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MRI strengths
detail of soft tissue in the brain. No exposure to radiation.
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MRI weaknesses.
-take long time -can be uncomfortable for patients.
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in 1950s only method was electroencephalohraph. electrodes are placed on the scalp. Demont and Kleitman (1957) to detect stages of sleep. as people sleep brain slower. during sleep then becomes fast- rapid eye movement. When woke up during REM sleep
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Content analysis
form of indirect observation. TV shows, books, magazine, songs, paintings etc.
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what material to sample and how frequently.
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quantitative and qualitative data
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examples of content analysis
manstead and mcculloch (1981) analysed adverts on british tv to look at gender stereotypes observed 170 adverts. each advert might be a tick, no tick.
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strengths of content analysis
high ecological validity, observations of what people actually do, real communications which are current and relevant such as newspaper or childrens books
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weaknesses of content analysis
observer bias reduces objectivity and findings because different observers observe differently.
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case study
-longitudinal -detailed study of a single individual or event. -techniques used interview, observation etc. might use iq tests or personality tests.
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strengths of case studies
rich detail. useful as a means of investigating human behaviour.
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weaknesses of case studies
difficult to generalise, involve recollection of events,
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example of a case study
Phineas Gage 1948
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In a laboratory
most scientific. A laboratory is a room where scientific research is carried out. Most psychological research gets conducted in a laboratory tends to be experimental in nature. Laboratory controlled by the research- control extraneous variables
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In the field
-field research an happen in many locations such as shopping centres, train stations, hospitals etc. Environments may be new to participants. i.e. not natural environments but setting is more natural.
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Strengths of laboratory experiments
control of variables. conduct scientific research. allows researchers to measure research variables. PET measures used as used by Raine et al.
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Weaknesses of laboratory experiments
demand characteristics. lacks ecological validity. research not conducted in a laboratory
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strengths of field experiment
useful to minimise the artificial nature of research. reduces demand characteristics. examine behaviour in contexts difficult to accomodate.
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weaknesses of field experiment
-difficult to measure research variables. brain scans are not very portable suc.
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allows researchers to access participants on the internet or on social networking tools.
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strengths of online experiment
Nosek et al - 1.5 million completed responses to their research. allows researchers to seek out a diverse sample. conducting research online is cost effective. researchers use free software which allows them to put research on the internet.
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weaknesses of online experiments
methods used in research online tends to be limited with not being surveys. ethical issues such as consent and protection from risk of harm may be become difficult to deal with.
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unstructured observations
no system. too much to record.
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structured observations
aim to provide objective and rigorous data. main ways to structure through sampling procedures and behavioural categories.
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Behavioural categories
deciding how behavioural should be categorised. a research breaks up this stream of behaviour . operationalisation is needed- when infant behaviour observed see a list in coding smiling, crying, sleeping etc.
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Sampling procedures
when conducting observation, the observer should record behaviour in as much detail as possible. systematic method: event sampling- number of times it occurs. time sampling- behaviour in a given time.
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Participant observation
participant- part of the group being observed. non-participant- not part of the group being observed.
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Observational studies in general strengths
what people say what they do is different from what they actually do. so observations go a take on behaviour.
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Weaknesses of observations
Observer bias- observers expectations affect what they see or hear this reduces validity. difficult to be objective.
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participant and non-participant strengths
non-participant more objective. participant - offers special insights.
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participant and non-participant weaknesses
social desirability bias. covert ethical issues-deception.
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a statement of what researchers find out in a study.
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confounding variables
affect all levels of the IV - time of day
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extraneous variable
affect one level of the IV- informing them of the nature of the sutdy
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An example of a longitudinal studies



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Strengths of longitudinal studies


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Weaknesses of longitudinal studies


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Cross-sectional studies.


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