Research Methods

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Independent Variable
The variable manipulated by the experimenter that is presumed to have a direct effect on the dependent variable.
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Dependent Variable
In an experiment, the variable that is assumed to be directly affected by changes in the independent variable.
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Extraneous Variable
Anything that can affect the dependent variable that is not the independent variable (e.g. instructions aren't clear enough, participants are really tired etc.).
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Laboratory Experiment
The researcher works in a carefully controlled environment, setting up different situations to see if they make people react in different ways.
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Field Experiment
The researcher studies people in their normal environment, setting up different situations to see if they make people react in different ways.
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Natural Experiment
The researcher studies pre-existing groups of people to see whether they react to situations in different ways depending on their group characteristics.
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Target Population
A group of people who share a given set of characteristics about which a researcher wishes to draw conclusions.
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Random Sampling
Every person or item in a given target population has an equal chance of being selected for inclusion.
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Opportunity Sampling
A researcher selects anyone who is available to take part in a study from a given population, such as staff or students within a particular college.
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Volunteer Sampling
Participants select themselves to take part in a study, often by replying to an advertisement.
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Investigator Effects
Anything the researcher does that increases extraneous variables.
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Demand Characteristics
This is when the participant has worked out the aim of the experiment and changes their behaviour accordingly.
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External Validity
The extent to which the results of a study can be generalised or extended to others and other situations.
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Internal Validity
This occurs when a researcher controls all extraneous variables and the only variable influencing the results of a study is the independent variable.
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Population Validity
Can what happens with the selected sample in the investigation be generalised to other populations?
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Ecological Validity
Can what happens in the environment of the investigation be generalised to other environments.
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Pilot Study
A small scale trial study that is carried out before the main study begins.
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Hypothesis
A precise statement that the researcher makes before the study begins, predicting the outcome of the study.
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Directional Hypothesis
States which group will score higher or lower (e.g. X will by higher than Y).
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Non-directional Hypothesis
Only predicts a difference between the conditions, but will not say which group will score higher or lower (e.g. There will be a difference between X and Y).
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Independent Groups Design
Different groups of participants are used for each condition of the experiment.
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Repeated Measures Design
The same group of participants are used for all the conditions of the experiment.
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Matched Pairs Design
Different participants are used for each part of the experiment, but they are matched for relevant characteristics.
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Random Allocation
A strategy for randomly determining the order of presentation of experimental conditions by, for example, drawing lots or tossing a coin.
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Counterbalancing
Counterbalancing involves equal numbers of participants undertaking required tasks in different orders. It will show whether the order effects the outcome of the experiment.
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Mean
Calculated by adding all the scores in a data set together and dividing by the number of scores.
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Median
This is calculated by putting all the scored in a data set in order, and identifying the score in the middle. In an even data set, the two middle scores are added together and divided by 2.
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Mode
This is the most commonly occurring score. In some data sets, there may be more than one mode.
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Standard Deviation
This gives us the average distance of each score from the mean, therefore, it tells us something about how representative the mean is as a typical score.
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A High Standard Deviation
This would indicate that the mean is not so representative as a typical score. This is because a high score indicates a high average distance between each score and the mean.
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A Low Standard Deviation
This would indicate that the mean is more representative as a typical score. This is because a low score indicates a low average distance between each score and the mean.
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Range
This is calculated by subtracting the lowest score from the highest score. The higher the range, the less representative the median is.
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Open Question
A question where a researcher does not restrict the range of available answers.
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Closed Question
A question where the researcher determines the range of possible answers (e.g. tick boxes).
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Structured Interview
An interview with questions that are decided in advance in order to structure and categorise the interviewees response.
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Semi-structured Interview
An interview with some prepared questions by the interviewer and additional questions that provide opportunities for the interviewee to expand their answers.
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Correlation Co-efficient
The strength of a correlation is expressed by the correlation coefficient. It is always a figure between +1 and -1 where +1 represents a positive and correlation and -1 a negative. The closer it is to 0, the weaker the correlation.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

In an experiment, the variable that is assumed to be directly affected by changes in the independent variable.

Back

Dependent Variable

Card 3

Front

Anything that can affect the dependent variable that is not the independent variable (e.g. instructions aren't clear enough, participants are really tired etc.).

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

The researcher works in a carefully controlled environment, setting up different situations to see if they make people react in different ways.

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

The researcher studies people in their normal environment, setting up different situations to see if they make people react in different ways.

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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