# Research methods defintions

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- Created by: James121015
- Created on: 08-03-16 09:14

Aims

A statement of what the researchers intend to find out in a research study.

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Bar chart

A graph used to represent the frequency of data; the categories on the x-axis have no fixed order and there is no true zero.

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Behaviour categories

Dividing a target behaviour into a subset of specific and operationalised behaviours.

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Bias

A systematic distortion.

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Calculated value

The value of a test statistic calculated for a particular data set.

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Case study

A research investigation that involves a detailed study of a single individual, institution or event.

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Closed questions

Questions that have a predetermined range of answers from which respondents select 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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Confidentiality

Concerns the communication of personal information from one person to another.

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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 DV may be due to the confounding variable rather than the IV.

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Content analysis

A kind of observational study in which behaviour is observed indirectly in written or verbal material.

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Continuous variable

A variable that can take on any value within a certain range.

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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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Controlled observation

A form of investigation in which behaviour is observed but under conditions where certain variables have been organised by the researcher.

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Correlation

Determining the extent of an association between two variables.

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Correlation coefficient

A number between -1 and +1 that tells us how closely the co-variables in a correlational analysis are associated.

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Cost-benefit analysis

A systematic approach to estimating the negatives and positives of any research.

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Counterbalancing

An experimental technique used to overcome order effects when using a repeated measures design.

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Co-variable

The two measured variables in a correlational analysis. The variables must be continuous.

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Covert observation

Observing people without their knowledge.

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Critical value

In an inferential test the value of the test statistic that must be reached to show significance.

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Curvilinear correlation

A non linear relationship between co-variables.

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Debriefing

A post-research interview designed to inform participants of the true nature of the study and to restore them to the state they were in an the start of the study.

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Deception

A participant is not told the true aims of the study.

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Demand characteristics

A cue that makes participants unconciously aware of the aims of a study or helps participants work out what the researcher expects to find.

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Dependent variable (DV)

A measurable outcome of the action of the independent variable in an experiment.

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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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Ecological validity

A form of external validity, concerning the ability to generalise a research effect beyond the particular setting in which it is demonstrated, to other settings.

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Effect size

A measure of the strength of the relationship between two variables.

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Ethical guidelines (code of conduct)

A set of principles designed to help professionals behave honestly and with integrity.

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Ethical issues

Concern questions of right and wrong.

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Ethics committee

A group of people within a research institution that must approve a study before it begins.

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Event sampling

An observational technique in which a count is kept of the number of times a certain behaviour or event occurs.

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Experiment

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

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Experimental deisgn

A set of procedures used to control the influence of factors such as participant variables in an experiment.

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External validity

The degree to which a research finding can be generalised.

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Extraneous variable (EV)

These do not vary systematically wit the IV and therefore do not act as an alternative IV but may have an effect on the DV.

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Field experiment

A controlled experiment conducted outside a laboratory.

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Fraction

A method of expressing parts of a whole.

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Generalisation

Applying the findings of a particular study to the population.

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Histogram

Type of frequency distribution in which the number of scores in each category of continuous data are represented by vertical columns.

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Hypothesis

A precise and testable statement about the assumed relationship between variables.

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Independent group design

Participants are allocated ti two or more groups representing different levels of the IV.

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Independent variable (IV)

Some event that is directly manipulated by an experimenter in order to test its effects on another variable.

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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.

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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 extraneous variables.

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Inter-observer reliability

The extent to which there is agreement between two or more observers involved in observations of a behaviour.

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Intervening variable

A variable that comes between two other variables, which is used to explain the association between those two variables.

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Interview

A research method or technique that involves a face-to-face, 'real time' interaction with another individual and results in the collection of data.

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Interviewer bias

The effect of an interviewer's expectations, communicated unconsciously, on a respondent's beahviour.

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Investigator effects

Anything that an investigator does that has an effect on a participant's performance in a study other than what was intended.

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Laboratory experiment

An experiment carried out in a controlled setting.

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Linear correlation

A systematic relationship between co-variables that is defined by a straight line.

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Matched pairs design

Pairs of participants are matched in terms of key variables such as age and IQ.

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Mean

The arithmetic average of a data set.

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Measures of dispersion

A descriptive statistic that provides information about how spread out a set of data are.

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Measures of central tendency

A descriptive statistic that provides information about a 'typical' value for a data set.

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Median

The middle value of a data set when the items are placed in rank order.

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Meta-analysis

A researcher looks at the findings from a number of different studies and produces a statistic to represent the overall effect.

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Mode

The most frequently occurring value or item in a set of data.

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Mundane realism

Refers to how a study mirrors the real world.

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Natural experiment

A research method in which the experimenter has not manipulated the IV directly.

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Naturalistic observation

An observation carried out in an everyday setting.

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Negative correlation

Describes a correlation where, as one co-variable increases, the other decreases.

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Negative skewed distribution

Most of the scores are bunched towards the right.

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Non-directional hypothesis

Predicts simply that there is a difference between two conditions without stating the direction of the difference.

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Non-participant observation

The observer is separate from the people being observed.

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Normal distribution

A symmetrical bell-shaped frequency distribution.

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Observer bias

Observer's expectations affect what they see or hear.

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One-tailed test

Form of test used with a directional hypothesis.

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Open questions

Questions that invite respondents to provide their own answers rather than select one of those provided.

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Operationalise

Ensuring that variables are in a form that can be easily tested.

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Opportunity sample

A sample of participants produced by selecting people who are most easily available at the time.

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Order effect

In a repeated measures design, an extraneous variable arising from the order in which conditions are presented.

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Order of magnitude

A means of expressing a number by focusing on the overall size.

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Overt observation

Observational studies where participants are aware that their behaviour is being studied.

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Participant observation

Observations made by someone who is also participating in the activity being observed, which may affect their objectivity.

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Peer review

The practice of using independent experts to asses the quality and validity of scientific research.

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Percentage

A method of expressing parts of a whole.

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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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Population

The group of people that the researcher is interested in.

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Population validity

A form of external validity, concerning the extent to which the findings of a study can be generalised to other groups of people besides those who took part in the study.

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Positive correlation

Refers to the instance, in a correlation, of co-variables both increasing together.

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Positive skewed distribution

Most of the scores are bunched to the left.

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Presumptive consent

A method of dealing with lack of informed conses or deception.

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Primary data

Information observed or collected directly from first-hand experience.

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Privacy

A person's right to control the flow of information about themselves.

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Probability

A numerical measure of the likelihood that certain events will occur.

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Protection from harm

During a research study, participants should not experience negative physical or psychological effects.

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Qualitative data

Information in words that can't be counted or quantified.

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Quantitative data

Information that represents how much or how long there are of something.

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Quasi experiment

Studies that are 'almost' experiments.

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Questionnaire

Data is collected through the use of written questions.

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Random allocation

Allocating participants to experimental groups or conditions using random techniques.

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Random sample

A sample of participants produced by using a random technique such that every member of the target population being tested has an equal chance of being selected.

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## Other cards in this set

### Card 2

#### Front

A graph used to represent the frequency of data; the categories on the x-axis have no fixed order and there is no true zero.

#### Back

Bar chart

### Card 3

#### Front

Dividing a target behaviour into a subset of specific and operationalised behaviours.

#### Back

### Card 4

#### Front

A systematic distortion.

#### Back

### Card 5

#### Front

The value of a test statistic calculated for a particular data set.

#### Back

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