Research Methods

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  • Created by: bayleyc
  • Created on: 02-04-16 12:01
Explains why the study is being done.
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A statement predicting what will occur so that it can be tested.
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Null Hypothesis
A hypothesis that predicts no difference.
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Directional/One Tailed
Predicts a difference with a direction, for example, 'faster' or 'bigger'.
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Non-directional/Two Tailed
No direction is predicted, just a difference.
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Whether it measures what it is supposed to. Representative.
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Independent Variable
The variable that is changed to see if it has an effect on the Dependent Variable.
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Dependent Variable
The variable measured to see if the Independent Variable had an effect.
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Operational Definitions
Ways of measuring mental processes by using behaviour.
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External Validity
Can the data be generalised beyond setting: across people, places (ecological), time (temporal).
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Internal Validity
Can the results be linked to direct manipulation of the Independent Variable. Not from extraneous variables, investigator effects, demand characteristics. Standardised instructions and random sample should be used.
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Protection from Harm
Participants should not feel a greater level psychological harm than they would in daily life. Debriefing and right to withdraw must be available.
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Right to Withdraw
Before the study all of the participants must be aware that they can withdraw themselves and their data at any time.
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Should be avoided so the participants rights are not infringed. Must consider: cost benefit analysis, ethical committees and right to withdraw and debriefing.
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Confidentiality & Privacy
Personal details of the participants should be kept a secret. Photos and observations must be taken with consent. This is important in socially sensitive situations.
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Informed Consent
Participants must be aware of what the study will entail and then consent must be taken. Telling details of the study may conflict with the researcher's needs.
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Prior General Consent
The participants agree in advance but do not know the aims.
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Presumptive Consent
The researcher ask a group that is similar for consent to tell if the desired group/individual would consent. Right to withdraw and debriefing must be available.
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Order Effects
Participant may be better in one condition due to tiredness or boredom etc. This can be overcome by counter balancing and letting half of the group do one condition and then swapping.
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Matched Pairs Design
Two groups are matched on a one to one basis.
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Repeated Measures Design
Same participants are used for both groups.
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Independent Group Design
Each participant is selected for one group by randomisation.
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Target Population
A group of people that show the characteristics that the researcher needs for the study.
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Volunteer Sampling
The participant's choose to be in the study by volunteering themselves after seeing an advert for example.
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Random Sampling
All participants have an equal chance of being picked. The whole target population is laid out and then the desired/needed number of participants are picked. Names out of a hat, flipping a coin for example.
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Opportunity Sampling
Participants are selected on availability. Standing in a busy high street and asking people that walk by for example.
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Participants answer a set of questions in writing.
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Participants answer a set of questions, asked by the researcher face to face.
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Field Experiments
These are carried out in a natural environment of those that are being tested.
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Laboratory Experiment
These are carried out in a laboratory environment. Provide the highest level of control over variables.
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Natural Experiment
The independent variable is natural occurring so the conditions cannot be controlled.
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Naturalistic Observation
Behaviour is observed and recorded with no manipulation of variables. Can either be overt or covert. Categories are used to produce quantitative data.
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Covert Observation
The participants being observed are unaware that the observation is happening.
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Overt Observation
The participants being observed are aware that the observation is happening.
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Case Studies
In depth studies of individual/small group. Under taken in a real life context, using interviews to collect qualitative data.
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Quantitative Data
Information that is numerical and can be measured and written down using numbers.
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Qualitative Data
Data that goes in-depth, more words involved, about how people think and feel. Cannot be measured.
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Card 2


A statement predicting what will occur so that it can be tested.



Card 3


A hypothesis that predicts no difference.


Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4


Predicts a difference with a direction, for example, 'faster' or 'bigger'.


Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5


No direction is predicted, just a difference.


Preview of the back of card 5
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