Research Methods

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When to use spearman's Rho test
The hypothesis states a correlation between 2 variables; 2 sets of data are related; data is ordinal or interval.
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When to use Chi-Square test
Hypothesis states a difference or association between variables; sets of data should be independent; data is nominal.
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When to use Mann-Whitney U test
Hypothesis states a difference between 2 sets of data; 2 sets of data are from separate groups (independent groups); data is ordinal or interval.
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When to use Wilcoxon test
Hypothesis states a difference between 2 sets of data; 2 sets of data are pairs of scores from 1 person (matched pairs)=related; Data is ordinal or interval.
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Opportunity sample
Using those people who are most easily availbale; Easiest method to use but biased as sample drawn from small part of target population.
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Volunteer sample
Participants selected by asking for volunteers; Access to variety of participantsm making sample more representative; BUT samples biased as participants likely to be motivated (volunteer bias).
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Random sample
Selected from target population using random no. technique (e.g.names out of hat); Method potentialy unbiased as all members of target popul. have equal chance being selected, BUT biased if some refused to take part.
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Stratified & Quota samples
Subgroups (strata) within popul. identified (e.g. different age groups). Then predetermined no. of participants taken from each subgroup in proportion to target popul.; Stratified sample done using random & quota sample done using opportunity sample.
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Positive & Negatives of startified & quote samples
Method more representative than other methods as there is proportional representation of subgroups; BUT opportunity sampling may lead to bias.
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Snowball sampling
Start with 1 or 2 people (e.g. with eating disorder) & ask them to direct you to some other people with same issue & so on; Useful when conducting research with participants who are not easy to identify; BUT prone to bias as limited section popul.
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Pilot Study
A small-scale trial run of a research study to test any aspects of the design, with a view to making improvements in the main study.
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Internal Reliability
A measure of the extent to which something is consistent within itself (e.g. all questions on an IQ test should be measuring the same thing).
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External Reliability
A measure of consistency over several different occasions (e.g. same interview by same interviewer with same interviewee conducted 1 day & then again week later, outcome should be same otherwise interview not reliable).
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Type 1 errors
Rejecting a null hypothesis that is true. More likely to happen if the significance level is too high (e.g. 10%).
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Type 2 errors
Accepting a null hypothesis that is in fact not true. More likely to happen if the significance level is too low (e.g. 1%).
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Peer Review
Refers to the assessment of scientific work by others who are experts in the same field; The intention is to ensure that any research conducted & published is of high quality; Helps ensure poor quality research isn't publiahed;.
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Independent Variable (IV)
An event that is directly manipulated by an experimenter in order to test its effect on another variable (DV).
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Dependent Variable (DV)
A measurable outcome of the action of the IV in an experiment.
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Ethical issues
Informed consent; Deception; Right to withdraw; Protection from harm; Confidentiality;Privacy
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How to deal with ethical issues
Debriefing (post-research interview, informs of true nature of study & restore to original state); Ethical committee (approve study); Ethical guidelines; Punishment (professional organisation punishes psychologists who break the code)
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Ethical Guidelines
Respect (for dignity & worth of all persons, confidentiality, privacy & informed consent); Competence; Responsibility; Integrity
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Internal Validity
Refers to whether the effects observed in a study are due to the manipulation of the independent variable and not some other factor; a causal relationship between the independent and dependent variable.
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External Validity
Refers to the extent to which the results of a study can be generalized to other settings (ecological validity), other people (population validity) and over time (historical validity).
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Empirical methods
Info is gained through direct observation or testing.
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Scientists' expectations shoud not affect results; In order to achieve this research is conducted under controlled conditions; In an experiment the IV is controlled to demonstrate causal relationships.
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Way to demonstratee the validity of any observation or experiment is to repeat it. If outcome same then results said to be reliable.
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Theory construction
Facts alone are meaningless. Explanations or theories must be constructed tto make sense of the facts.
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Hypothesis testing
Theories modified through process of hypothesis testing.
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Laboratory experiment
Experiment conducted in a controlled environment. Tend to demonstrate high internal validity & low external validity.
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Field experiment
A controlled experiment that is conducted outside a lab. The IV is still manipulated by the experimenter, & therefore causal relationships can be demonstarted.
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Natural experiment
A research method in which the experimenter cannot manipulate the IV directly, but where it varies naturally, & the effect on a DV can be observed.
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Repeated Measures
An experimental design where each participant takes part in every condition under test.
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Independent groups
An experimental design where particiapnts are allocated to 2 (or more) groups representing different experimental conditions. Allocation is usually done using random technique.
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Matched pairs design
An experimental design where pairs of participants are matched in terms of key variables, such as age & IQ. One member of each pair is placed in the experimental group & the other member in the control group.
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Observational techniques
The application of systematic methods of observation in an observational study, experiment or other study.
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Behavioural categories
Dividing a target behaviour (e.g. attachment) into a subset of behaviours. This can be done using a behaviour checklist or a coding system (a systematic method of recording observations in which individual behaviours given a code for ease recording).
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Time sampling
An observational technique in which the observer records behaviours in a given time frame, e.g. noting what a target individual is doing every 30 seconds).
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Event sampling
An observational technique in which a count is kept of the number of times a certain behaviour (or event) occurs.
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Naturalistic observations
A research method carried out in a naturalistic setting, in which the investigator doesn't interfere in any way, but merely observes the behaviour(s) in questions (likely to involve the use of structured observations).
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Controlled observations
A form of investigation in which behaviour is observed but under controlled conditons, as opposed to a naturalisic observation.
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Correlational analysis
Determining the extent of a relationship between 2 variables.
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Case Study
A research method that involves a detailed study of a single individual, institution or event.
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Content analysis
A kind of observational study in which behaviour is observed indirectly in written or verbal material such as interviews, conversations, books, diaries or TV programmes.
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A researcher looks at the findings from a number of different studies in order to reach a general conclusion about a particular hypothesis.
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Null hypothesis
An assumption that there is no relationship (difference or association) in the population from which a sample is taken with respect to the variables being studies.
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Alternative hypothesis
A testable statement about the relationship between two variables.
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Ordinal data
Data are ordered in some way, e.g. lining up class in order of height. The 'difference' between each item is not the same.
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Nominal data
The data are in separate categories, e.g. grouping class into people who are tall, medium or short.
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Interval data
Data are measured using units of equal intervals, e.g. when counting correct answers or measuring your classmates' heights.
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Card 2


When to use Chi-Square test


Hypothesis states a difference or association between variables; sets of data should be independent; data is nominal.

Card 3


When to use Mann-Whitney U test


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Card 4


When to use Wilcoxon test


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Card 5


Opportunity sample


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