Research Methods

A general expression of what the research intends to investigate.
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A statement of what the researcher believes to be true.
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Directional Hypothesis
States whether changes are greater or lesser, etc.
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Non-Directional Hypothesis
Doesn't state the direction, just that there is a difference.
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Experimental Method
A researcher causes the IV to vary and records the effect on the DV.
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Extraneous Variables
Nuisance variables that do not vary systematically with the IV.
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Confounding Variables
Change systematically with the IV.
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Demand Characteristics
Any cue from the researcher or research situation that may reveal the aim of the study.
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Investigator Effects
Any effect of the investigator's behaviour on the DV.
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The use of chance when designing investigations to control for the effects of bias.
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Using exactly the same formalised procedures for all participants.
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Control Groups
Used for the purpose of setting a comparison. Help establish causation
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Single Blind
A participant doesn't know the aim of the study so that demand characteristics are reduced.
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Double Blind
Both participant and researcher don't know the aims of the study to reduce demand characteristics and investigator effects
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Independent Groups
One group do condition A and a second group do condition B. Participants should be randomly allocated to experimental groups.
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Repeated Measures
Same participants take part in all conditions of the experiment.
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Matched Pairs
Two groups of participants are used but they are also related to each other by being paired on participant variables that matter for the experiment.
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Laboratory Experiment
A controlled environment where extraneous and confounding variables can be controlled. Participants go to researcher. The IV is manipulated and the effect on the DV is recorded.
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Field Experiment
A natural setting. The researcher goes to participants. The IV is manipulated and the effect on the DV is recorded.
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Natural Experiment
The experimenter does not manipulate the IV. The IV would have varied even if the experimenter wasn't interested.
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IV is based on a pre-existing difference between people. No one has manipulated the variable, it simply exists.
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The large group of people that a researcher is interested in studying.
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A smaller group selected using the target population
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The sample should be representative so generalisations can be made.
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Certain groups may be over or under-represented.
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Opportunity Sample
Using people who are simply most available.
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Volunteer Sample
Participants select themselves.
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Random Sample
Every person in the target population has an equal chance of being selected,
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Systematic Sample
Participants are selected using a set 'pattern', i.e. every nth person is selected from the target population
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Stratified Sample
Participants are selected according to their frequency in the target population (using strata).
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Informed Consent
Participants should be able to make an informed judgement about whether to take part.
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Deliberately misleading or withholding information so consent is not informed.
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Protection from Harm
Participants should be at no more risk than they would be in everyday life.
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We have the right to control information about ourselves. If this is invaded, confidentiality should be respected.
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Illustrates the strength and direction of an association between two co-variables.
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Correlations are plotted on a scattergram.
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Positive Correlation
Co-variables rise or fall together.
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Negative Correlation
One co-variable rises and the other falls
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Zero Correlation
No relationship between the two variables.
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A way of seeing or listening to what people do without having to ask them.
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Naturalistic Observation
Takes place where the target behaviour would normally occur.
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Controlled Observation
Some control/manipulation of variables including control of EVs.
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Covert Observation
Participants are unaware of being studied.
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Overt Observation
Participants are aware of being studied.
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Participant Observation
When the researcher becomes part of the group they are studying.
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Non-Participant Observation
When the researcher remains separate from the group they are studying.
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Behavioural Categories
The target behaviour to be observed should be broken up into a set of observable categories.
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Time Sampling
Observations are made at regular intervals.
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Event Sampling
A target/behaviour is recorded every time it occurs.
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A pre-set list of written questions to which a participant responds.
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Closed Questions
Respondent has limited choices. Data are quantative
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Open Questions
Respondents provide their own answers expressed in words. Data are qualitative.
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Face-to-face interaction between an interview and interviewee.
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Structured Interview
List of pre-determined questions asked in a fixed order.
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Unstructured Interview
There are no set questions. There is a general topic to be discussed but the interaction is free-flowing and the interviewee is encouraged to elaborate,
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Semi-structured Interview
List of questions that have been worked out in advance but interviewers are free to ask follow-up questions when appropriate.
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Pilot Study
A small-scale trial run of a research design before doing the real thing.
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Quantitative Data
Numerical data
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Qualitative Data
Non-numerical data expressed in words
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Primary Data
'First hand' data collected for the purpose of the investigation
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Secondary Data
Collected by someone other than the person who is conducting the research
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A type of secondary data that involves combining data from a large number of studies.
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Arithmetic average, add up all the scores and divide by the number of scores.
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Middle value, place scores in ascending order and select middle value. If there are two values in the middle, mean of these is calculated.
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Most frequent or common value, used with categorical/numerical data.
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The difference between highest to lowest value.
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Standard Deviation
Measure of the average spread around the mean. The larger the standard deviation, the more spread out the data are.
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Raw scores displayed in columns and rows
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Bar Chart
Categories are placed along the x-axis and frequency on the y-axis. The height of each column represents the frequency.
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Bars touch each other - data is continuous rather than discrete. There is a true zero.
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Line Graph
Frequency on one axis, data on the other axis is continuous. The line often shows how something changes.
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Used for correlational analysis. Each dot represents one pair of related data. The data on both axis must be continuous
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Normal Distributions
Symmetrical, bell-shaped curve. Most people are in the middle area of the curve with very few at the extreme ends,
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Skewed Distributions
Distributions that lean to one side or the other because most people are either at the lower or upper end of the distribution.
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Negative Skew
Most of the distribution is concentrated towards the right of the graph, resulting in a long tail on the left.
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Positive Skew
Most of the distribution is concentrated towards the left of the graph, resulting in a long tail on the right.
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Divide by 100
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Expressed as part-to-part ratios or part-to-whole ratios. Should always be the lowest common denominator.
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Decimal places
Number of digits to the right of the decimal point.
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Significant Figures
When many numbers come after a decimal point, this may be rounded off to 1, 2 or 3 significant figures.
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Standard Form
A way of expressing very large or very small numbers.
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Statistical Testing
To find out if a difference/association is significant we need to use a statistical test.
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The Sign Test
Used to analyse the difference in scores between related items.
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Peer Review
All aspects of the investigation are scrutinised by experts in the field. They should be objective and unknown to the researcher
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Psychology and the Economy
The findings of psychological research can benefit our economic prosperity.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


A statement of what the researcher believes to be true.



Card 3


States whether changes are greater or lesser, etc.


Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4


Doesn't state the direction, just that there is a difference.


Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5


A researcher causes the IV to vary and records the effect on the DV.


Preview of the back of card 5
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