Research methods

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Aims
A statement of what the researcher(s) intends to find out in a research study
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Debriefing
A post-research interview designed to inform particiapnts of the true nature of the study and restore them to the state they were in at the start of the study. It is a means of dealing with ethical issues and can be used also to gain feedback
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Ethical issues
concern questions of right or wrong. They arise in research where there are conflicting sets of values between researchers and participants concerning the goals, procedures or outcomes of a research study.
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Experiment
A research method where causal conclusions can be drawn because an independent variable has been deliberately manipulated to observe the causal effect on the dependent variable
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Extraneous Variables
do not vary systematically with the IV and therefore do not act as an alternative IV but may have an effect on the dependent variable. They are nuisance variables that make it more difficult to detect a significant effect
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Hypothesis
A precise and testable statement about the assumed relationship between variables. Operationalisation is a key part of making the statement testable
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Independent Variable (IV)
Some event that is directly manipulated by an experimentor in order to test its effect on another variable - the DV
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Informed consent
Participants must be given comprehensive information concerning the nature and purpose of the research and their role in it, in order that they can make an informed decision about whether to participate
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Operationalise
Ensuring that variablesare in a form that can be easily tested. A concept such as 'educational attainment' needs to be specified more clearly if we are going to investigate it.
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Standardised procedures
A set of procedures that are the same for all participants in order to be able to repeat the study.This includes standardised instructions - the instructions given to participants to tell them how to perform the task
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Confounding variable
A variable under study that is not the IV but which varies systematically with the IV. Changes in the dependent variable may be due to this rather than the IV and therefore the outcome is meaningless.
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Control
Refers to the extent to which any variable is held constant or regulated by a researcher
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External validity
The degree to which a research finding can be generalised: to other settings (ecological validity) to other groups of people (population validity) over time (historical validity)
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Internal Validity
The degree to which an observed effect was due to the experimental manipulation rather than other factors such as confounding/extraneous variables
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Mundane realism
Refers to how a study mirrors the real world. The research environment is realistic to the degree to which experiences encountered in the research environment will occur in the real world.
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Validity
Refers to whether an observed effect is a genuine one.
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Confederate
An individual in a study who is not a real participant and has been instructed how to behave by the investigator
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Directional hypothesis
States the direction of the predicted difference between two conditions or two groups of participants
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Non-directional hypothesis
Predicts simply that there is a difference between two conditions or two groups of participants without stating the direction of the difference
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Pilot study
A small-scale trial run of a study to test any aspects of the design, with a view to making improvements.
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Counterbalancing
An experimental technique used to overcome order effects when using a repeated measures design. Counterbalancing ensures that each condition is tested first or second in equal amounts.
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Experimental Design
A set of procedures used to control the influence of factors such as participant variables in an experiment.
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Independent Groups Design
Participants are allocated to two (or more) groups representing different levels of the IV. Allocation is usually done using random techniques.
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Matched Pairs Design
Pairs of participants are matched in terms of key variables such as age and IQ. One member of each pair is allocated to one of the conditions under test and the second person is allocated to the other condition.
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Order effect
In a repeated measure design, an extraneous variable arising from the order in which conditions are presented
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Random allocation
Allocating participants to experimental groups or conditions using random techniques.
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Repeated Measures Design
Each participant takes part in every condition under test, i.e. each level of the IV.
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Card 2

Front

A post-research interview designed to inform particiapnts of the true nature of the study and restore them to the state they were in at the start of the study. It is a means of dealing with ethical issues and can be used also to gain feedback

Back

Debriefing

Card 3

Front

concern questions of right or wrong. They arise in research where there are conflicting sets of values between researchers and participants concerning the goals, procedures or outcomes of a research study.

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

A research method where causal conclusions can be drawn because an independent variable has been deliberately manipulated to observe the causal effect on the dependent variable

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

do not vary systematically with the IV and therefore do not act as an alternative IV but may have an effect on the dependent variable. They are nuisance variables that make it more difficult to detect a significant effect

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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