Research Methods AQA A2 Psychology

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Name and define the two key feautures of science
Objectivity: the findings of any research should not be influenced by any biases held by researcher or participant. Replicability: if it possible to carry out the research again and find the same/similar results.
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List the scientific process
Initial observation, theory constructed, writing hypothesis, testing hypothesis, use of empirical methods, modifications, further research
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What is a natural experiment?
An experiment where the IV and the research enviroment is naturally occuring
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What is a quasi experiment?
An experiment where the IV occurs naturally but the research enviorment is set up by the experimenter (more controlled).
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Why is it difficult to be objective in psychology?
because researchers and paricipants will always hold their own beliefs/views and these can be difficult to ignore
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What is peer review?
an oppurtunity for scientists to question the reliability and validity of all new evidence and test the robustness of any conclusions that stem from research evidence
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What is double-blind peer review?
when the reviewers are not told who has undertaken the research or where it was carried out. Authour of report is unaware who reviewed it.
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What is a one tailed (directional) hypothesis? (give example)
When a hypothesis predicts the DIRECTION of the results. E.G: children who eat breakfast will perform BETTER academically than those who do not eat breakfast.
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What is a two tailed (non-directional) hypothesis? (give example)
When a hypothesis does not predict the direction of results but recognises there will be a difference. E.G: There will be a difference in the academic performance of children who eat breakfast and those who do not.
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What is a null hypothesis?
The hypothesis that there is no significant difference between specified populations, any observed difference being due to sampling or experimental error.
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Name the 5 ethical guidelines? (DRIPP)
Deception, right to withdraw, informed consent, protection from harm, privacy
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Give 2 alternatives to fully informed consent.
Presumptive consent: participants say after being debriefed that they still would have given consent. Prior general consent: potential participants are told they may be mislead, those who agree to this are chosen.
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What is a target population?
total collection of people who share a given set of characteristics
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What does it mean if a sample is representative?
it can be used as a basis for generalsing the results of the study to the rest of the target population
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What is a sampling error?
when the sample differs in some way from the target popualtion
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What is sample bias?
When certain populations are persistently targeted at the expense of others
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Name the 3 different types of sampling
Volunteer, random, oppurtunity
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Give an advantage and disadvantage of random sampling
A: if done effectively, a representative sample will be achieved. D: it is possible that a small sample selected randomly may over-represent certain populations (all male etc)
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Give an advantage and disadvantage of oppurtunity sampling
A: quick and easy method to acquire a sample. D: participants may be unrepresentative so difficult to generalise
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Give an advantage and disadvantage of volunteer sampling
A: quick and easy method. D: volunteers may not be typical of the target population
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List the standard format for articles
Title, abstract, intro, method, results, discussion, references, appendicies
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What is involved in the method section of an article?
Participants, design, materials, procedure
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What is internal validity?
The extent to which you are measuring what you intend to measure.
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Name the 3 types of internal validity
Face (is it an accurate reflection of what it intends to measure), Concurrent (where 2 sets of scores are obtained, both correlate), Predictive (how well a result of a measure will predict something at another time)
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What is external validity?
The extent to which you can generalise your findings.
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Name the 3 types of external validity.
Ecological (other enviroments), Population (wider populations), Temporal (other time periods)
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What is reliability? Name the 3 different types.
If a study is repeated and gets the same results it is reliable. Researcher, Internal and External
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What is researcher reliability? How can you assess it?
If there is more than one researcher, both their results should be the same. If two researchers record exactly the same data the study has inter rater reliability. Assess: research very similar people to see if they get same results
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How can you improve researcher reliability?
Pilot the procudure of the study to ensure its precise. Carefully train researchers to reduce variability in their behaviour.
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What is internal reliability? How can you assess it?
the consistency of the measure or test used in the study. Assess: using split half method- catergories split in half then 2 sets of responses for each half are compared.
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How can you improve internal reliability?
Change the questions that seem to be giving different results until split half methods indicate an improved correlation.
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What is external reliability? How can you assess it?
sometimes known as test-retest relability, it refers to the consistency of the study or measure from on occasion to the other. Assess: carrying out a test-retest (same questionnaire at two different times)
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How can you improve external reliability?
check the individual questions that dont correlate and change them (do another test-retest).
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Name the 3 measures of central tendency
Mean, median and mode
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Name the 2 measures of dispersion
Standard Deviation and range
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What is the standard deviation?
A measure of the spread of a given set of scores from the mean
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What is the range?
The difference between the highest and lowest scores in a given set of data
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What is nominal data?
Data that is in catergories which have verbal descriptions (e.g. ice cream flavours)
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What is ordinal data?
data that is in some kind of rank order (e.g. asking people to put photos in rank order of attractiveness)
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What is interval data?
When data is measured on a scale and there are equal intervals between the units on the scale (e.g. temperature at which people feel most aggressive)
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When results are found to be non-significant which hypothesis should be accepted?
the null hypothesis
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What is the usual alpha level needed in psychology to reject the null?
P= less than or equal to 0.05
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If P= less than or equal to 0.05 what is the probability of the null hypothesis being true?
less than 5/100 or less than 5%
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If P= less than or equal to 0.025 what is the probability of the null hypothesis being true?
less than 2.5/100 or less than 2.5%
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If P= less than or equal to 0.01 what is the probability of the null hypothesis being true?
a lot less than 1/100 or a lot less than 1%
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why do psychologists have to decide what the value of P is?
in order to decide whether to accept the null or research hypothesis
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When may the alpha level be raised to P= less than or equal to 0.01?
if the research is socially sensitive a higher alpha level is chosen to ensure they are 99% certain their results are significant before they reject the null.
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What is a type 1 error?
When the null hypothesis is rejected but it should not have been (a false positive)
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What is a type 2 error?
When the null hypothesis is retained but it should not have been (a false negative)
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What kind of data are non-parametric tests used on?
Ordinal (you can convert interval/ratio data into ordinal simply by putting it in order)
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Name the non-parametric tests
Chi Squared, Wilcoxon, Mann-Whitney and Spearman's Rho
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If the study is looking at a correlation which test should be used?
Spearman's Rho
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If the study is looking at differences with ordinal data which test should be used?
Chi-Squared
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If the study is looking at differences with nominal data and repeated measures/matched pairs design which test should be used?
Wilcoxon
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If the study is looking at differences with nominal data and independent groups which test should be used?
Mann-Whitney
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What is the test result known as?
The observed value
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How do you find out the proability of this value being down ro chance?
Compare the observed value with the critical value
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What is the critical value?
an established value that already exists (you don't need to work it out)
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What 3 things can make the critical value vary?
Number of pariticipants (N), if the research hypothesis was one tailed or two tailed and the level of significance you are choosing.
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When using Chi-Squared how do you know if the results are signififcant?
The observed value has to be GREATER than or equal to the critical value.
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For Spearman's Rho how do you know if the results are signigicant?
The observed value has to be GREATER than or equal to the critical value.
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For Wilcoxon, how do you know if results are significant?
The observed value has to be equal to or LESS than the critical value
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For Mann-Whitney, how do you know if the results are significant?
The observed value has to be equal to or LESS than the critical value.
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