Research Methods - AS/A-Level


Everything on psychology research methods from new AS and A level specification (taught from 2015 - examined in 2017)
Kelly Bissong
Flashcards by Kelly Bissong, updated more than 1 year ago
Kelly Bissong
Created by Kelly Bissong over 7 years ago

Resource summary

Question Answer
What is the aim of an experiment? The purpose of the investigation
What is the hypothesis? A testable statement that states the relationship between the variables to be investigated
Two types of hypothesis? Directional hypothesis: states the direction of the difference or relationship (used when findings from previous studies showed a particular outcome) Non-directional hypothesis: does not state the direction (used when there has been no previous research)
What is the independent variable? Aspect of the experiment that is changed or manipulated so the effect of the DV can be measured
What is the dependent variable? Variable that is measured by the researcher and any effect should be caused by the IV
What is operationalisation? Clearly defining variables in terms of how they can be measured
What is an extraneous variable? Any variable, other than the IV, that may have an effect on the DV if it's not controlled
What is a confounding variable? Any variable, other than the IV, that may have affected the DV, so we cannot be sure of the true source for the changes to the DV e.g. personality
What are demand characteristics? Cues from the researcher that may be interpreted by pps (participants) as revealing the aims of the study. Leads to pps changing their behaviour.
What are investigator effects? Any effect of the investigator's behaviour on the DV, unconscious or conscious. For example, the design of the study and the selection of pps.
What is randomisation? The use of chance in order to control for the effects of bias from extraneous/confounding variables.
What is standardisation? Using the exact formalised procedure and instructions for all pps in a research study
What is an independent groups design? When pps are in two separate groups, each doing a different condition of the experiment
Evaluate the independent groups design Adv: No order effects or demand characteristics (pps are less likely to guess the aims of the study). Disadv: Participant variables may affect the DV instead of the IV (dealt with by random allocation), less economical.
What is a repeated measures design? All pps take part in all conditions of the experiment
Evaluate the repeated measure design Adv: Participant variables are controlled and less pps are needed, so more economical Disadv: Order effects (controlled by counterbalancing) and demand characteristics
What is a matched pairs design? Pairs of pps are matched on some variable(s) affecting the DV, then one pps is assigned to a condition and the other pps is assigned to another
Evaluate a matched pairs design Adv: No order effects or demand characteristics as pps only take part in one condition Disadv: Pps can't be matched exactly, time-consuming, expensive so less economical
What is a lab experiment? Takes place in highly controlled conditions and researcher manipulates IV & records the effect of the DV
Evaluate a lab experiment Strengths: High control of extraneous variables, resulting in high internal validity, can be replicated Limitations: Lack generalisabilty (artificial environment can lead to low external validity), cause demand characteristics, low mundane realism because of artificial task
What is a field experiment? Experiment where IV is manipulated in more natural, everyday setting
Evaluate a field experiment Strengths: High mundane realism because of natural setting, Less chance of demand characteristics and high external validity Limitations: Low control of extraneous variables so low internal validity, cannot replicate, ethical issues
What is a natural experiment? Experiment where the researtcher uses a naturally-occuring IV e.g. gender
Evaluate a natural experiment. Strengths: Provide opportunities for research that would otherwise be ethically or practically possible e.g. institutionalised Roman orphans;
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