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Research Methods AQA A Level Psychology
Terms in this set (94)
This is the variable that is manipulated by the researcher.
This is the variable that is measured.
A variable (other than the IV) that might affect your DV.
A type of extraneous variable that you did not control for that does interact with the IV and affect the DV.
Operationalisation of Variables
How the variables are made measurable.
The tendency of participants to use cues to work out how the experimenter expects them to behave, thus participants behave in an experiment in the way they think the researcher wants them to behave.
If the experimenter does exert an influence on the outcome of the research in anyway (be at conscious or unconscious) then they are introducing investigator effects.
All participants take part in all levels of the IV and the results of the DV in both conditions are compared.
Participants are split so that different participants take part in different levels of the IV. The results of the DV from each group are compared.
Different participants are used in each level of the IV but they are matched as much as possible so they are similar on key characteristics that are likely to influence the DV and only these characteristics.
Used in independent groups design in an attempt to control for participant variables. The aim is that each participant has the same chance at being allocated to either condition of the IV.
Used in repeated measures design and it splits participants so that they complete the different levels of the IV in a different order. The aim is to balance out any differences between same participants that are the result of the order they have taken the test.
Adopting a strategy for randomly determining the order of presentation of experimental conditions by for example tossing a coin.
All participants in a study have exactly the same experience, so that individual experience does not cause some participants to engage with the study differently. The procedure therefore needs to be standardised to ensure all participants share the same experience.
Involves the researcher observing naturally occurring behaviour; the researcher does not get involved at all. They are often carried out in a natural setting.
Researcher attempts to control certain variables. This reduces how natural the environment and behaviour shown is. Participants will know they are being studied and they are usually carried out in a lab setting.
When the participants are aware they are being observed and they are usually aware of the nature and purpose of the research.
When the participants do not know they are being observed, this may involve the observer being hidden or behind a two way mirror.
When the observer actually joins the group of people being studied.
When the observer remains external to those being observed and records the data more objectively. It may be impossible or impractical to join the group.
Refers to the way that the researcher operationalise the behaviour being measured, so that all observers know exactly what constitutes the behaviour being observed.
Researcher recording an event every tine it happens. The researcher does this for the entire event.
Recording behaviour at a set time interval during the observation.
Produce quantitative data. Where the researcher determines the range of possible answers, respondents often reply by ticking boxes or circling appropriate answers. These questions are best used when straightforward factual information is required.
Open Ended Questions
Produce qualitative data, which can produce answers that are usually difficult to analyse. They are those in which the researcher does not restrict the range of available answers.
They are questions where the choice of wording suggests that the respondent should reply in a particular way. These questions should be avoided.
In this type of interview, interviewees are asked the same set of standardised questions in the same order. The questions are open-ended. This format is useful for teams of interviewers who need to behave consistently towards interviewees so that comparisons can be made between them.
The interviewer may also use some of the same questions for all interviewees, but there is flexibility in the order, whether they are asked at all and in how questions are phrased.
More informal interview. The purposeful conversation about the topic of interest is allowed to unfold in its own way. The interviewee is largely in control of which issues are discussed.
As one variable increases, so does the other.
As one variable tends to increase, the other decreases.
Shows no relationship between the two variables.
Process of changing qualitative data into quantitative data. You therefore need to count how many times the chosen coding unit occurs.
Specific behaviours/actions/words/phrases that you are going to count in the material chosen to be analysed.
Typically involve an in-depth study over time of a 'case' which is usually a single individual or small group.
Small scale study, carried out with a restricted number of participants who will not take part in the study itself, befor e the process of collecting data begins.
Participants are selected by using those people who are most easily available.
All of the members of the target population have an equal chance of being selected. Participants are selected by either adding all data to a computer and allowing a computer programme to randomly select the same or each participant can be allocated a number which is put in a hat and those selected from random make up the sample.
This involves having access to the target population and putting them into an order (this may be alphabetical order for example). The researcher then selects every nth participant who are available.
Complex form of sampling where the sample reflects the key characteristics of the sub groups (strata) in the target population, the researcher identifies the different types of people that make up the target population and works out the proportion of people in certsin sub groups (strata).
A researcher will place an advert asking for volunteers for participants for their research.
A general statement which outlines what it is that is being investigated.
A specific prediction about the outcome of the investigation which will be specifically tested in the study.
States no difference/correlation.
This type of hypothesis predicts the direction of the results, for example one condition of the IV has a more/less/greater/faster/slower effect on the DV.
Type of hypothesis that is less specific than a directional hypothesis and does not predict the direction of the results. It states there will be a difference, but not which condition will be faster/slower/less/more etc.
British Psychological Society (BPS)
Professional body that covers the conduct of psychologists working in all areas and those conducting research. Researchers have a set of ethical guidelines developed by the BPS that they have to adhere to when conducting research - these are moral codes that guide behaviour.
Whenever possible, the investigators should inform all participants of the objectives of the investigation. Research with children or with other vulnerable participants requires special safeguarding procedures.
Withholding information or misleading participants is unacceptable if the participants are typically likely to show unease once debriefed.
Protection of Participants
Participants must not be harmed by the investigation procedures; no stress or distress must be caused. Neither physical nor emotional harm is allowed to take place. Loss of self-esteem is psychological harm.
Right to Withdraw
Participants must be made aware that they can withdraw from the investigation at any stage, refuse to take part, refuse to continue during the procedure or withdraw their results after debriefing.
Participants should leave as they entered. The investigator should provide the participants with any necessary information to complete their understanding of the nature of the research.
Except in circumstances specified by the law, information obtained about a participant during an investigation is confidential unless otherwise agreed in advance. If published, the research and results will not be identifiable as theirs.
Refers to the consistency of the research. This can mean whether the findings from the investigation are consistent and/or whether the measuring device produces consistent results every time it is used.
Where a person is given the test used on one occasion and the same test is repeated again a number of times after a reasonable interval (e.g a week or a month). If the measure is reliable the outcome should be the same (or similar) every time.
As all observers use the same behavioural categories in a study, it checks as to whether they are interpreting the categories in the same way. This can be assessed by measuring the extent to which different observers achieve similar results when observing and scoring the same participants.
Refers to accuracy so the degree to which something measures what is claims to.
Concerns with what goes on inside a study and whether the researcher did test what they intended to test.
Refers to whether at face value the study appears to measure what it set out to.
Where new measures in a study (where validity is not known) are compared to measures in another which have been previously validated.
Concerned with factors outside of the study. The extent to which the research findings can be generalised to other situations and people beyond those used in the study and across different time periods.
The extent to which we can generalise to different contexts.
The extent to which we can generalise to different time periods.
General theory or law that is accepted by the majority of scientists in that particular field of study.
A summary of the study covering all the main sections - normally about 150 words.
A review of previous research in the area and limitations of these leading to a rationale for why the researchers intend to conduct their particular study.
A detailed description of what the researcher did, providing enough information for others to replicate the study.
This section contains what the researcher found, often called statistical data, which includes descriptive statistics and inferential statistics to determine how significant the results are.
The researcher offer explanations of the behaviours they observed in relation to the research presented in the introduction. The limitations of the research will be explored and implications of the results and real world applications will be explored.
The full details of any journal articles or books they have mentioned are presented here using a standard format in alphabetical order.
Data that is in words and is not numerical and is detailed information.
Original data that has been carried out by the experimenter themselves.
Using information that someone else has researched and has already been analysed and published.
Analysis technique used for qualitative data which may be data gathered from a case study, interview or content analysis. Includes the process of identifying categories, themes, phrases or keywords that may be found in any set of data.
Codes which are used are taken from an existing theory.
The codes/categories are formed as a results of the data gained.
The arithmetic average.
The most frequent occurring score.
The difference between the highest and lowest score and is calculated by subtracting the lowest score from the highest score and adding 1.
Measure of the variability or spread of a given set of scores from its mean.
Consists of a series o vertical bars of equal width apart.
These show the distribution of scores that are measured along a continuous scale and give a visual impression of how often certain measures occur.
Used for plotting correlations.
This data is symmetrical and when plotted on the graph it forms a bell shaped curve, with as many scores below the mean as above it (50% distribution either side).
Any distribution where the scores are not symmetrical.
The long tail is on the right side of the peek. Most of the distribution is on the left. The mode is at the highest point, but the mean has moved to the right.
Here the long tail is on the left side of the peek. Most of the distribution is on the right. The mode is at the highest point, but the mean has moved to the left.
This refers to counting frequency data (how many). The data here falls into separate categories.
Here, the data is ranked into place order. Sometimes rating scales are used to achieve this.
Involves data that can be ordered. There are equal intervals on the points of the scale.
Type 1 Error
Occurs when a null hypothesis is rejected when it should not have been.
Type 2 Error
Occurs when a null hypothesis is accepted when it should not have been.
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