Research Methods

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  • Created by: charlia
  • Created on: 06-04-15 18:22
What's are two strengths of a lab experiment?
1. Researchers can minimise extraneous variables. We can be more certain that the change in the DV is caused by the IV. 2. Level of control means it's easier to replicate the study. Replication means you can demonstrate the validity of the results.
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What are two limitations of a lab experiment?
1. The setting may lack mundane realism, results cannot be generalised to everyday life situations as the participants may not behave as they would in everyday life. 2. Experimenter effects may influence the results.
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What's operationalisation?
Variables must be operationalised (defined in a way that can easily be measured or tested) e.g. instead of saying that the DV is 'educational attainment' the experimenter must specify a way to measure this such as GCSE grades
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Define a directional and a non directional hypothesis
Directional states the direction of a hypothesis e.g. bigger or smaller or correlation e..g positive or negative. Non may predicts that there will be a difference between the groups without specifying a direction
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What's repeated measures design?
Same participants in every experimental condition.
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What's independent groups design?
Participants are allocated to two (or more groups) representing different experimental conditions. Do not partake in both conditions.
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What's matched pairs design?
Pairs of participants are matched on key participant variables e.g. age, intelligence. One member of each pair is placed in group 1 and the other in group 2.
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What are two limitations of repeated measures design?
Participants perform better on the second task because of an order effect. If participants perform a task twice they are likely to improve through practice OR do worse because of boredom/tiredness. Participants may guess the aims of the study.
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What are two limitations of independent groups design?
The participants in the two groups may differ acting as an extraneous variable e.g. one group may be more intelligent, however, random allocation should eliminate this issue. More participants are needed that in repeated measures (harder).
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What are two limitations of matched pairs design?
It's time consuming to match participants on key variables, necessary to start with a very large group in order to obtain pairs of sufficiently matched participants. It can't control all participant variables as potential list is too long.
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What is counterbalancing and how can you do it?
Used to deal with order effects by ensuring that each condition is tested first or second in equal amounts. Done by an ABBA design where all participants tested 4 times or can be done where some do A then B and others do B then A.
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What's a field experiment?
The experimenter directly controls IV and observes its effect on the DV. The DV is assessed in an environment that is more like everyday life and therefore likely to be less controlled.
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What's a natural experiment?
The experimenter does not manipulate the IV as they use one that would already be there. It is necessary because some IVs cannot be controlled for ethical or practical reasons e.g. whether someone is adopted or not
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What are two strengths of a field experiment?
It is conducted in a more everyday environment therefore field experiments have greater ecological validity. Participants also tend not to be aware of being studied, this increases mundane realism because participants behave more naturally.
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What are two limitations of a field experiment?
There is less control of extraneous variables which reduces inter all validity as the changes in the DV may not be caused by the IV. It also raises more ethical issues than a lab experiment as participants are not asked for consent/debriefed
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What are two strengths of a field experiment?
It allows research to be carried out where an IV cannot be changed for ethical/practical reasons so allows research into aspects of behaviour that could not otherwise be studied. Also enables psychologists to study 'real' problems
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What are two limitations of a field experiment?
The IV is not manipulated by the experimenter therefore we cannot conclude that the IV has caused any observed change in the DV. There is also less control of extraneous variables which reduces the internal validity of the study.
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What is internal and ecological (external) validity?
internal: degree to which an observed effect was due to experimental manipulation and not other factors such as extraneous variables. Ecological: The extent to which the research environment can be generalised to other environments
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What is an opportunity sample?
A sample of participants produced by selecting people available at the time e.g. asking people in the street
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What is a volunteer sample?
A sample of participants produced by asking for volunteers. E.g. advertising in a newspaper or on a noticeboard
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What is a random sample?
A sample of participants is produced using a random technique such that every member of the target population has an equal chance of being selected. E.g. Placing names in a hat and drawing out the required number
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What's a strength and a weakness of an opportunity sample?
S: easiest method, takes less time to locate your sample. W: biased/lacks representativeness, sample is drawn from a small part of the target population, using participants from one school would not represent the UK school population.
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What's a strength and a weakness of a volunteer sample?
S: can give access to a variety of participants, all the people who read a newspaper can be a wider sample that just stopping people in the street in your hometown. W: Participants may be more susceptible to experimenter effects.
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What's a strength and a weakness of a volunteer sample?
S: it is unbiased, all members of target population have an equal chance of selection. W: takes more time and effort, need to obtain a list of all the trage
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What is meant by 'Quantitative data'?
Represents how much, how long or how many etc. there are of something. Data that can be counted.
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What is meant by 'Qualitative data'?
Express the 'quality' of things. Includes descriptions, words, meanings, pictures, texts and so on.
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What's a strength and a weakness of quantitative data?
S: easier to analyse than qualitative, it can be summarised using graphs and measures of central tendency/dispersion may make it easier to draw conclusions. W: tends to oversimplify reality and human experience.
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What's a strength and a weakness of qualitative data?
S: can represent the true complexities of human behaviour and illustrates peoples thoughts/feelings that may not be illustrated using quantitative methods. W: summarising such data can be affected by personal expectations and beliefs.
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What are the ethical guidelines and the specific techniques within it?
Professional advice on how to deal with ethical issues. Debriefing, providing informed consent, right to withhold data, right to withdraw and anonymity.
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What's one problem with informed consent?
It can reduce the meaningfulness of the research, such information could reveal the aims of the study which is likely to affect the participants behaviour
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What's correlational analysis?
A way of measuring the relationship between two co-varibales. Correlation us a number between -1 and +1 which tells us how closely the co-variables in a correlational analysis are related
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What's a pilot study?
Try out standardised procedures with a small group of people, this permits changes to be made before conducting the full-scale study. There might be some simple problems e.g. instructions are unclear or more fundamental changes needed
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What's a strength and a weakness of correlational analysis?
S: May suggest whether or not there is a causal relationship between two variables, if correlation is strong then further investigation is justified. W: there may be intervening variables that explain the correlation but are overlooked.
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What are observational techniques?
The use of systematic methods to record behaviour by watching or listening to what people do. Can be unstructured or structured
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What are the three types of observational study?
Naturalistic observation (unstructured env, everything left as normal), controlled observation (the researcher determines elements of the environment) and content analysis (indirect observation of behaviour based on written/verbal material)
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What are behavioural categories?
Aim to operationalise target behaviours by identifying component behaviours e.g. component behaviours of aggressiveness may be hitting and pushing. A behaviour checklist can be drawn and the categories can be ticked each time they're observed
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What are the two sampling procedures in observational techniques?
Event sampling - counting the number of times a certain behaviour (event) occurs in a target individual. Time sampling - recording behaviours at regular intervals e.g. every 30 secs
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What's a strength and a weakness of observational techniques?
Being able to see/hear what people do, people often don't realise what they do. W: Observers may be biased e.g. if they expect girls to be less aggressive they may unconsciously interpret girls' behaviour as less aggressive
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What's the difference between a structured and a semi/unstructured interview?
In a structured the questions are predetermined where as in a semi/unstructured some or all of the questions are developed during the interview.
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What are the strengths of a questionnaire?
Can be exactly and easily repeated, data can be collected from large numbers relatively cheaply and quickly. Respondents may feel more willing to reveal more confidential/truthful information that in an interview
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What are the limitations of a questionnaire?
respondents may misunderstand questions or not take the task seriously. The sample may be biased as only certain kinds of people are willing to take the time to take part and only includes people who can read/write.
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What are the strengths of an interview?
In an unstructured interview more detailed information can be obtained from each respondent. The interviewer can explain the questions which may result in more meaningful answers.
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What are the limitations of an interview?
It can be affected by interviewer bias, an interviewer may ask leading questions which may affect the validity of the answer. Also the answers may not be truthful due to social desirability bias.
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How can you assess reliability?
Using test re-test, the same questionnaire/interview is given to a person on two occasions if the answers are reliable then the scores should be similar both times. However it is hard to get the test retest interval time right.
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What are strengths of a case study?
It provides rich, in depth data, information that may be overlooked using other research methods can be identified. Can be used to investigate instances of behaviour that are rare for example, studying cases of the effects of brain damage.
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What are the limitations of a case study?
It's difficult to generalise from individual cases to other people, any conclusions made may only apply to that particular case study.
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What techniques may a psychologist use to gather information in a case study?
Interviews, psychological tests (personality test for example), observations and even experiments.
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What's a limitation of longitudinal and cross sectional studies?
Cohort effects, these can affect cross-sectional studies because one group is not comparable with another. Can affect longitudinal studies because the group studied is not typical
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What are two limitations of a lab experiment?

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1. The setting may lack mundane realism, results cannot be generalised to everyday life situations as the participants may not behave as they would in everyday life. 2. Experimenter effects may influence the results.

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What's operationalisation?

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Define a directional and a non directional hypothesis

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What's repeated measures design?

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