# Research Methods Keywords

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Aim
The researcher’s area of interest – what they are looking at (e.g. to investigate helping behaviour).
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Bar chart
A graph that shows the data in the form of categories (e.g. behaviours observed) that the researcher wishes to compare
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Behavioural categories
Key behaviours or, collections of behaviour, that the researcher conducting the observation will pay attention to and record
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Case study
In-depth investigation of a single person, group or event, where data are gathered from a variety of sources and by using several different methods (e.g. observations & interviews).
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Closed questions
Questions where there are fixed choices of responses e.g. yes/no. They generate quantitative data
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Co-variables
The variables investigated in a correlation
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Concurrent validity
Comparing a new test with another test of the same thing to see if they produce similar results. If they do then the new test has concurrent validity
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Confidentiality
Unless agreed beforehand, participants have the right to expect that all data collected during a research study will remain confidential and anonymous.
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Confounding variable
An extraneous variable that varies systematically with the IV so we cannot be sure of the true source of the change to the DV
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Content analysis
Technique used to analyse qualitative data which involves coding the written data into categories – converting qualitative data into quantitative data.
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Control group
A group that is treated normally and gives us a measure of how people behave when they are not exposed to the experimental treatment (e.g. allowed to sleep normally).
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Controlled observation
An observation study where the researchers control some variables - often takes place in laboratory setting
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Correlational analysis
A mathematical technique where the researcher looks to see whether scores for two co variables are related
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Counterbalancing
A way of trying to control for order effects in a repeated measures design, e.g. half the participants do condition A followed by B and the other half do B followed by A
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Covert observation
Also known as an undisclosed observation as the participants do not know their behaviour is being observed
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Critical value
The value that a test statistic must reach in order for the hypothesis to be accepted.
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Debriefing
After completing the research, the true aim is revealed to the participant. Aim of debriefing = to return the person to the state s/he was in before they took part.
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Deception
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Demand characteristics
Occur when participants try to make sense of the research situation they are in and try to guess the purpose of the research or try to present themselves in a good way.
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Dependent variable
The variable that is measured to tell you the outcome.
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Descriptive statistics
Analysis of data that helps describe, show or summarise data in a meaningful way
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Directional hypothesis
A one-tailed hypothesis that states the direction of the difference or relationship (e.g. boys are more helpful than girls).
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Dispersion measure
A dispersion measure shows how a set of data is spread out, examples are the range and the standard deviation
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Dependent variable
The variable that is measured to tell you the outcome.
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Descriptive statistics
Analysis of data that helps describe, show or summarise data in a meaningful way
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Directional hypothesis
A one-tailed hypothesis that states the direction of the difference or relationship (e.g. boys are more helpful than girls).
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Dispersion measure
A dispersion measure shows how a set of data is spread out, examples are the range and the standard deviation
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Double blind control
Participants are not told the true purpose of the research and the experimenter is also blind to at least some aspects of the research design.
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Ecological validity
The extent to which the findings of a research study are able to be generalized to real-life settings
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Ethical guidelines
These are provided by the BPS - they are the ‘rules’ by which all psychologists should operate, including those carrying out research.
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Ethical issues
There are 3 main ethical issues that occur in psychological research – deception, lack of informed consent and lack of protection of participants.
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Evaluation apprehension
Participants’ behaviour is distorted as they fear being judged by observers
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Event sampling
A target behaviour is identified and the observer records it every time it occurs
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Experimental group
The group that received the experimental treatment (e.g. sleep deprivation)
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External validity
Whether it is possible to generalise the results beyond the experimental setting.
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Extraneous variable
Variables that if not controlled may affect the DV and provide a false impression than an IV has produced changes when it hasn’t.
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Face validity
Simple way of assessing whether a test measures what it claims to measure which is concerned with face value – e.g. does an IQ test look like it tests intelligence.
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Field experiment
An experiment that takes place in a natural setting where the experimenter manipulates the IV and measures the DV
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Histogram
A graph that is used for continuous data (e.g. test scores). There should be no space between the bars, because the data is continuous.
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Hypothesis
This is a formal statement or prediction of what the researcher expects to find. It needs to be testable.
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Independent groups design
An experimental design where each participants only takes part in one condition of the IV
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Independent variable
The variable that the experimenter manipulates (changes).
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Inferential statistics
Inferential statistics are ways of analyzing data using statistical tests that allow the researcher to make conclusions about whether a hypothesis was supported by the results.
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Informed consent
Psychologists should ensure that all participants are helped to understand fully all aspects of the research before they agree (give consent) to take part
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Inter-observer reliability
The extent to which two or more observers are observing and recording behaviour in the same way
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Internal validity
In relation to experiments, whether the results were due to the manipulation of the IV rather than other factors such as extraneous variables or demand characteristics.
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Interval level data
Data measured in fixed units with equal distance between points on the scale
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Investigator effects
These result from the effects of a researcher’s behaviour and characteristics on an investigation.
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Laboratory experiment
An experiment that takes place in a controlled environment where the experimenter manipulates the IV and measures the DV
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Matched pairs design
An experimental design where pairs of participants are matched on important characteristics and one member allocated to each condition of the IV
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Measures of central tendency
A measurement of data that indicates where the middle of the information lies e.g. mean, median or mode
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Meta-analysis
A technique where rather than conducting new research with participants, the researchers examine the results of several studies that have already been conducted
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Naturalistic observation
An observation study conducted in the environment where the behaviour would normally occur
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Negative correlation
A relationship exists between two covariables where as one increases, the other decreases
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Nominal level data
Frequency count data that consists of the number of participants falling into categories. (e.g. 7 people passed their driving test first time, 6 didn’t).
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Non-directional hypothesis
A two-tailed hypothesis that does not predict the direction of the difference or relationship (e.g. girls and boys are different in terms of helpfulness).
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Normal distribution
An arrangement of a data that is symmetrical and forms a bell shaped pattern where the mean, median and mode all fall in the centre at the highest peak
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Observed value
The value that you have obtained from conducting your statistical test
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Observer bias
Occurs when the observers know the aims of the study study or the hypotheses and allow this knowledge to influence their observations
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Occurs when the observers know the aims of the study study or the hypotheses and allow this knowledge to influence their observations
Questions where there is no fixed response and participants can give any answer they like. They generate qualitative data.
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Operationalising variables
This means clearly describing the variables (IV and DV) in terms of how they will be manipulated (IV) or measured (DV).
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Opportunity sample
A sampling technique where participants are chosen because they are easily available
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Order effects
Order effects can occur in a repeated measures design and refers to how the positioning of tasks influences the outcome e.g. practice effect or boredom effect on second task
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Overt observation
Also known as a disclosed observation as the participants given their permission for their behaviour to be observed
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Participant observation
Observation study where the researcher actually joins the group or takes part in the situation they are observing.
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Pilot study
A small scale study conducted to ensure the method will work according to plan. If it doesn’t then amendments can be made.
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Positive correlation
Positive correlation
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Primary data
Information that the researcher has collected him/herself for a specific purpose e.g. data from an experiment or observation
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Protection of participants
Participants should be protected from physical or mental health, including stress - risk of harm must be no greater than that to which they are exposed in everyday life
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Qualitative data
Descriptive information that is expressed in words
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Quantitative data
Information that can be measured and written down with numbers.
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Quasi experiment
An experiment often conducted in controlled conditions where the IV simply exists so there can be no random allocation to the conditions
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Random sampling
A sampling technique where everyone in the target population has an equal chance of being selected
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Randomisation
Refers to the practice of using chance methods (e.g. flipping a coin' to allocate participants to the conditions of an investigation Range
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Reliability
Whether something is consistent. In the case of a study, whether it is replicable.
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Repeated measures design
An experimental design where each participants takes part in both/all conditions of the IV
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Representative sample
A sample that that closely matched the target population as a whole in terms of key variables and characteristics
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Retrospective consent
Once the true nature of the research has been revealed, participants should be given the right to withdraw their data if they are not happy.
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Right to withdraw
Participants should be aware that they can leave the study at any time, even if they have been paid to take part.
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Secondary data
Information that someone else has collected e.g. the work of other psychologists or government statistics
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Single-blind control
Participants are not told the true purpose of the research
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Skewed distribution
An arrangement of data that is not symmetrical as data is clustered ro one end of the distribution
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Social desirability bias
Participants’ behaviour is distorted as they modify this in order to be seen in a positive light.
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Standard deviation
A measure of the average spread of scores around the mean. The greater the standard deviation the more spread out the scores are. .
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Stratified sample
A sampling technique where groups of participants are selected in proportion to their frequency in the target population
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Systematic sample
A sampling technique where every nth person in a list of the target population is selected
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Target population
The group that the researchers draws the sample from and wants to be able to generalise the findings to
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Temporal validity
Refers to how likely it is that the time period when a study was conducted has influenced the findings and whether they can be generalised to other periods in time
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Thematic analysis
A method for analysing qualitative data which involves identifying, analysing and reporting patterns within the data
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Validity
Whether something is true – measures what it sets out to measure.
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Volunteer sample
A sampling technique where participants put themselves forward to take part in research, often by answering an advertisement
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## Other cards in this set

### Card 2

Bar chart

#### Back

A graph that shows the data in the form of categories (e.g. behaviours observed) that the researcher wishes to compare

### Card 3

#### Front

Behavioural categories

Case study

Closed questions