Research methods

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Laboratory experiment
Artificial environment with tight controls over variables.
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Field experiment
Natural environment with independent variable manipulated by researchers.
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Natural experiment
Natural changes in independent variable are used - it is not manipulated.
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Laboratory experiments/Strengths
Tighter control of variables. Easier to comment on cause and effect.
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Laboratory experiments/Strengths
Enable use of complex equipment.
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Laboratory experiments/Strengths
Often cheaper and less time-consuming than other methods.
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Laboratory experiments/Weaknesses
Demand characteristics - participants aware of experiment, may change behaviour.
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Laboratory experiments/Weaknesses
Artificial environment - low realism. May have low ecological validity - difficult to generalise to other situations.
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Laboratory experiments/Weaknesses
Experimenter effects - bias when experimenter's expectations affect behaviour.
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Field experiments/Strengths
People may behave more naturally than in laboratory - higher realism.
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Field experiments/Strengths
Easier to generalise from results.
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Field experiments/Weaknesses
Often only weak control of extraneous variables - difficult to replicate.
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Field experiments/Weaknesses
Can be time-consuming and costly.
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Natural experiments/Strengths
Situations in which it would be ethically unacceptable to manipulate the independent variable.
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Natural experiments/Strengths
Less chance of demand characteristics or experimenter bias interfering.
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Natural experiments/Weaknesses
The independent variable is not controlled by the experimenter.
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Natural experiments/Weaknesses
No control over the allocation of participants to groups (random in a 'true experiment').
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Independent groups
Testing separate groups of people, each group is tested in a different condition
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Repeated measures
Testing the same group of people in different conditions, the same people are used repeatedly.
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Matched pairs
Testing separate groups of people - each member of one group is same age, sex, or social background as a member of the other group.
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Independent groups
Avoids order effects. If a person is involved in several tests they man become bored, tired and fed up by the time they come to the second test, or becoming wise to the requirements of the experiment!
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Independent groups
More people are needed than with the repeated measures design.
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Independent groups
Differences between participants in the groups may affect results, for example; variations in age, sex or social background. These differences are known as participant variables.
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Repeated measures
Avoids the problem of participant variables.
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Repeated measures
Fewer people are needed.
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Repeated measures
Order effects are more likely to occur.
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Matched pairs
Reduces participant variables.
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Matched pairs
Avoids order effects.
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Matched pairs
Very time-consuming trying to find closely matched pairs.
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Matched pairs
Impossible to match people exactly, unless identical twins!
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Independent variable (IV)
Variable the experimenter manipulates - assumed to have a direct effect on the dependent variable.
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Dependent variable (DV)
Variable the experimenter measures, after making changes to the IV which are assumed to affect the DV.
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Extraneous variables (Ex Vs)
Other variables, apart from the IV, that might affect the DV. They might be important enough to provide alternative explanations for the effects, for example, confounding variables.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

Field experiment

Back

Natural environment with independent variable manipulated by researchers.

Card 3

Front

Natural experiment

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

Laboratory experiments/Strengths

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

Laboratory experiments/Strengths

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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