Research methods

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What does correlational research look for?
A relationship between two variables
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Give two strengths for correlational research
Casual relationships can be ruled out if no correlation exists, ethics - you can study variables that you would be unable to manipulate
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Give two limitations of correlational research
Hard to establish correlational research, ethics - missinterpretaion can be an issue
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Give a strength of controlled observation
Variables are more controlled
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Give two limitations of controlled observation
Lower ecological validity, participant effects
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Give three limitations of a self report questionnaire
Bad/ unclear questions, biased samples, social desirability bias
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What is a structured interview?
They follow a fixed set of questions that are the same for all participants
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Give a strength of a self report questionnaire
They're practical - can collect a large amount of information quickly and cheaply
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What is an unstructured interview?
They may have a set of discussion topics, but are less constrained about how the conversation goes
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Give three limitations of laboratory experiments
Artificial - lacks ecological validity, demand characteristics, ethics - deception is often used
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What is a field experiment?
Conducted outside of the laboratory, behaviour is measured in a natural environment, key variable altered so its effect can be measured
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Give three strengths of a field experiment
Higher ecological validity, demand characteristics lessened, can still identify a casual relationship although harder
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Give two limitations of a field experiment
Less control, ethics can be an issue
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Why are lab and field experiments classed as 'true experiments'?
The variables can be controlled and manipulated
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Give three strengths of a laboratory experiment
Effects of extraneous variables are minimised, allows the study to be replicated, possible to establish a cause and effect between variables
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What is a natural experiment?
The researcher looks as how an independent variable, which isn't manipulated, affects a dependent variable
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Give three strengths of a natural experiment
Possible to study variables that would be unable to manipulate, lessened demand characteristics, high ecological validity
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Give two limitations of a natural experiment
Hard to establish casual relationships, ethics - deception often used meaning that informed consent cannot be used or is difficult to get
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Give two strengths of a quasi experiment
Control, ecological validity
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Give two limitations of a quasi experiment
Participant allocation - can't randomly allocate participants to each condition - confounding variables may affect results, hard to establish a casual relationship
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What is naturalistic observation?
Observing subjects in their natural environment
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Give two strengths of naturalistic observation
High ecological validity, helpful in developing theories
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Give three limitations of naturalistic observations
Hard to control extranous variables, observer bias, ethics - getting informed consent is hard
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What is controlled observation?
The situation is carried out in conditions set up by the researcher
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What is a quasi experiment?
The researcher can't use random allocation to put participants in different conditions. This is usually because the independent variable is a particular feature of the participants eg. gender or mental health
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Give two strengths of interviews
Rich data, pilot study
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Give three limitations of interviews
Self reports can be unreliable, impractical, data analysis can be lengthly
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What do case studies allow?
Researchers to analyse unusual cases in a lot of detail
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Give two strengths of case studies
Rich detail, unique cases can challenge existing theories and ideas
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What is a research aim?
A statement of a study's purpose
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What is a null hypothesis?
What you assume is true during the study, often the null hypothesis is that there will be no relationship between the key variables in a study
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What is an alternative hypothesis?
If the data forces you to reject your null hypothesis then you accept your alternative hypothesis
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What is a directional hypothesis?
Are when previous research findings suggest which way the results will go
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What is a non-directional hypothesis?
Would predict a difference, but wouldn't say which variable will make the difference. Can be used when there is little previous research on the topic
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What is an independent variable?
Where a variable is directly manipulated by the researcher
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What is a dependent variable?
Is where the variable that you think will be affected by changes in the independent variable
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What is operationalisation?
Describing the process by which the variable is measured
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What does operationalisation allow others to see?
Exactly how how you're going to define and measure your variables.
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What must the experimental design do?
Make the hypothesis testable
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What is independent group design?
Different participants in each group
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Give an advantage of using independent group design
No order effects - no one gets better through practice or worse through being tired and bored
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Give two disadvantages of using independent group design
Participant variables, twice as many participants are needed
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What is repeated measures design?
The participants do the task in each condition
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Give two advantages of a repeated measures design
Participant variables, fewer participants needed
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Give a disadvantage of a repeated measures design
Order effects
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What is a matched pairs design?
Participants are matched on important characteristics in different conditions
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Give two advantages of using the matched pairs design
No order effects, participant variables (differences minimised through matching)
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Give two disadvantages of using the matched pairs design
Need more participants, time consuming - not practical
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What should a pilot study establish?
Whether the design works, if participants understand the wording in instructions or if something has been missed out
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Why should research be strictly controlled?
To avoid the effects of extraneous variables
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What is counterbalancing?
Mixing up the order of tasks to solve order effects in repeated measures design
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What is random allocation?
Means that everyone has an equal chance of each condition
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What should standardised instructions ensure?
The experimenters act in a similar way with all the participants
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What is randomisation?
When the material is presented to the participants in a random order. Helps avoid the possibility of order effects.
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What is internal reliability?
If a test is consistent within itself.
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What does the split-half technique test?
If a study has internal reliability by doing something like splitting a questionnaire in two - i participants score similarly in each half then the questions measure the same thing.
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What is external reliability?
If the measure is stable over time or between people.
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How can external reliabililiy be tested?
By measuring test-retest reliability or testing inter-rater reliability.
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How do you know if something has internal validity?
If an experiment shows that the results were caused by the manipulation of the variables, rather than the effect of something else.
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How do you know if a study has external validity?
If the findings can be generalised beyond the experimental setting
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What is ecological validity?
The measure of how true the results are to real life.
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What is participant observation ?
When the researcher participates in the activity under study
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Give an advantage of participant observation
The researcher develops a relationship with the group under study, so they can gain a greater understanding of the groups's behaviour
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Give two disadvantages of participant observation
The researcher loses objectivity by becoming part of the group, the participants may act differently if they know a researcher is amongst them.
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What is non-participant observation?
When the researcher observes the activity without getting involved in it
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Give an advantage of non-participant observation
The researcher can remain objective throughout the study
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Give a disadvantage of non-participant observation
The researcher loses a sense of the group dynamics by staying separate from the group
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What is a structured interview?
Where the behaviour categories that are going to be used are defined in advance
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Give an advantage of a structured interview
It's easier to gather relevant data because you already know what you're looking for
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Give a disadvantage of a structured interview
Interesting behaviours could go unrecorded because they haven't been predefined as important
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What is an overt observation?
Where the researcher's presence is obvious to the participants
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Give an advantage of overt observation
More ethically sound than other methods because participants are aware of the research
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Give a disadvantage of overt observation
People might change their behaviour if they know that they're being observed
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What is covert observation?
Where the researcher's presence is unknown to the participants
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Give an advantage of covert observation
The participants are much more likely to behave naturally
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Give a disadvantage of covert observation
Gaining ethical approval may be difficult
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Why do controlled observations usually take place in a laboratory?
So the researcher can control the conditions
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Give two advantages of controlled observation
Can replicate it to check if the results are reliable, extraneous variables can be controlled - cause and effect can be estblished
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Give two disadvantages of controlled observation
Lower ecological validity than naturalistic observation, Participants may alter their behaviour if they know they're being observed
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Why would you record data?
Video or audio recording means that you have a more permanent record of the data
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Why would you categorise behaviour?
You must define the behaviours you aim to observe. This involves giving an operationalised definition. It helps researchers know what to look for.
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Why would you rate behaviour?
You may need a rating scale to classify behaviour, you could put participants into one of several categories, provides quantative data
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What is event sampling?
When you only record particular events that you're interested in
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Give an advantage of event sampling
Researchers know exactly what behaviours they're looking for
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Give a disadvantage of event sampling
Potentially interesting behaviours could be ignored
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What is time-interval sampling?
If the behaviour occurs over a long period of time you may choose to observe for set time intervals
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Give an advantage of time-interval sampling
Convenient
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Give a disadvantage of time-interval sampling
If interesting behaviours happen outside of the sample interviews they won't be recorded
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What is inter-observer reliability?
Comparing the data from two researchers to make sure that they're giving the same scores
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What should you consider when designing a questionnaire?
Type of data you want (affected by open and closed questions), ambiguity, double-barrelled questions, leading questions, complexity
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What should you consider when you design an interview?
How structured the interview will be, a question checklist, the behaviour or appearance of the interviewer
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When you have obtained data what issues should you think about?
If there has been adequate data sampling, if language has been used accurately, if researcher bias has been avoided
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How is qualitative data analysed?
Put into categories or 'typologies', quotations, summaries - content analysis
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What is a meta-analysis?
Summarising lots of studies and come back with a general conclusion
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What is primary data?
Information collected during a researcher's direct observations of participants
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What is secondary data?
Information collected from other studies
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What is random sampling?
When every member of the target group has an equal chance of being selected for the sample
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Give an advantage of random sampling
Participants likely to be representative
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Give a disadvantage of random sampling
Doesn't guarantee a representative sample of the whole country eg. may not include minorities
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What is opportunity sampling?
This is when the researcher samples whoever is available and willing to be studies.
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Give an advantage of opportunity sampling
Quick and practical
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Give a disadvantage of opportunity sampling
Sample is unlikely to be a representative of the target group or population as a whole
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What is volunteer sampling?
When people actively volunteer to be in a study
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Give an advantage of volunteer sampling
If the advert is placed prominently, a large number of people may respond
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Give a disadvantage of volunteer sampling
The only people who will respond will be the people who saw or heard about the advertisement
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What is systematic sampling?
Where every nth name from a sampling frame is taken
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Give an advantage of systematic sampling
This is a simple and effective way of generating a sample with a random element
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Give a disadvantage of systematic sampling
Subgroups might be missed - won't be representative
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What is stratified sampling?
Where all of the important subgroups in the population are identified and a proportionate number of each is randomly obtained
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Give an advantage of stratified sampling
This can produce a fairly representative sample
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Give a disadvantage of stratified sampling
Can take a lot of time and money to do it
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What is the Hawthorne Effect?
If people are interested in something and in the attention they are getting, then they show a more positive response, try harder at tasks, and so on. This means test results are artificially high and conclusions are invalid, opposite effect may occur
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What are demand characteristics?
There are aspects of a study which allow the participants to form an idea and its purpose. They act to please the researcher, this makes the conclusions invalid.
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What is the social desirability bias?
People try to show themselves in the best possible light, so they may not be truthful and give more 'socially acceptable' answers. This makes the results less valid.
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What is researcher/ experimenter bias?
Researcher's expectations can influence how they design the study and how they behave towards the participants. They may focus on the aspects of the participant which fit their expectation. They may analyse data to fit their expectations - bias
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What are investigator effects?
Can be anything that the researcher does which can affect how the participant behaves. May cause participants to respond to demand characteristics. Could ask leading questions - creating a bias
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What five things do with ethics should every study ensure
Participants have informed consent, they're not decepted, they're protected from harm, they have a debriefing, confidentiality
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What is a peer review?
A process used to ensure the integrity of published scientific work. Before publication scientific work is sent to experts in that field so they can assess the quality of the work.
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How can psychological research impact the economy?
People with treated mental health disorders may need time off work, research into sleep behaviour can help shift workers - more productive workers - better economy
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Give an advantage of calculating the mean as a measure of central tendancy
It uses all of the scores in a data set
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Give a disadvantage of calculating the mean as a measure of central tendancy
Can be skewed by extremely low or high scores
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Give an advantage of using the mode as a measure of central tendancy
It shows the most common or most important score
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Give a disadvantage of using the mode as a measure of central tendancy
It has little further use in data analysis
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Give an advantage of using the median as a measure or central tendancy
Relatively quick and easy to calculate
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Give a disadvantage of using the median as a measure of central tendancy
Little further use in data analysis
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What is the measure of dispersion?
The range
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Give an advantage of using the measure of dispersion
It's quick and easy to calculate
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Give a disadvantage of using the measure of dispersion
It completely ignores the central values of a data set - can be misleading if there are very high or low scores
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Give an advantage of using standard deviation
All scores in the set are taken into account, so it's more accurate than the range.
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Give a disadvantage of using standard deviation
Not as quick or easy to calculate as the range
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What does correlation measure?
How closely two variables are related
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In a correlational study why is data collected?
For a kind of correlational analysis
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If data is positively skewed where is the cluster of scores?
At the lower end of the data set
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If data is negatively skewed where is the cluster of scores
At the higher end of the data set
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Card 2

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Give two strengths for correlational research

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Casual relationships can be ruled out if no correlation exists, ethics - you can study variables that you would be unable to manipulate

Card 3

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Give two limitations of correlational research

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

Give a strength of controlled observation

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Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

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Give two limitations of controlled observation

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