Research Methods Flashcards Preview

Psychology > Research Methods > Flashcards

Flashcards in Research Methods Deck (73):

How is a hypothesis formed? (three steps)

1. Begins with general observations of the world; "What are the best conditions for learning" (research question)
2. Formulation of an aim; "to investigate how sound levels affect learning"
3. Formulation of hypothesis/hypotheses; "Those participants who....."


What are the three types of hypotheses? Give examples.

One-tailed/directional - "Those participants who learn the words in the noisy condition will recall significantly fewer words than those who learn them in the silent conditions."

Two-tailed/non-directional - "There will be a significant difference in the...."

Null - "There will be no significant difference."


What are the shorthands for the types of hypothesis?

H₁ - experimental hypothesis (experimental method) or research hypothesis (non-experimental method)
H₀ - null hypothesis
HA- alternative hypothesis (A is subscript)


What is an alternative hypothesis?

If the null hypothesis is stated first, then the hypothesis that follows is referred to as the alternative.


What is the IV?

The independent variable, the cause. The thing that is manipulated to bring about an effect.


What is the DV?

The dependent variable, the effect. The thing that is measured.


What is the EV?

The extraneous variable. Something other than the IV that could cause an effect on the DV so needs to be controlled.


What are the four types of experimental design?

1. Independent (also called unrelated) design
2. Repeated (also called related) measures design
3. Matched participants design
4. Counterbalancing


What is an experiment?

The manipulation of an IV to measure it's affect on a DV.


Explain the independent design. Give its weaknesses and strengths.

There are different participants in each condition.

Weaknesses - participant variable, needs lots of participants.
Strength - no order effects, task variables can be controlled.


Explain the repeated measures design. Give its weaknesses and strengths.

The same participants are put in both conditions.

Weaknesses - order effects, in the case of learning words (and related tasks) the word lists would have to be changed.
Strengths - no participant variable, needs less participants.


Explain the matched participants design. Give its weaknesses and strengths.

There are different participants in each condition, who are matched according to ability giving an equal spread.

Weaknesses - time consuming and expensive.
Strengths - no order effects, individual differences between conditions are reduced.


Explain the counterbalancing design.

It is used in repeated measures design, but to remove order effects the order in which conditions are encountered is balanced across the participants.


What is a confounding variable?

EV's that have not been controlled (affected the DV) so cannot be changed or manipulated.


What is standardisation?

Keeping things the same across all conditions, such as participants, environment, and task.


What is order effect?

Where behaviour is affected because participants take part in two or more conditions in a particular order.


What is practise effect?

Where participant's performance improves across conditions through familiarity with a task or environment.


What is fatigue effect?

Where participants performance worsens across conditions because of tiredness or boredom.


What are demand characteristics?

Features or cues in an experiment which help participants work out what is expected of them )the aim of the experiment). Helpful participants may respond according to what they think is being investigated.


What are the three types of experimental methods?

1. Laboratory
2. Field
3. Quasi


What is a laboratory experiment? Give its strengths and weaknesses.

It is carried out in a controlled environment, which doesn't have to be a laboratory; could be an office or classroom.

Strengths - high control over variables, ethical (people know they are taking part).
Weaknesses - low ecological validity, awareness of aim can cause demand characteristics.


What is a field experiment? Give its strength and weaknesses.

Takes place in a natural environment that isn't controlled, such as a school or shopping mall.

Strength - higher ecological validity.
Weaknesses - less control over variables, less ethical (participants aren't always aware).


What is a quasi experiment? Give its strength and weakness.

There is no random allocation of participants to different conditions because the IV is pre-existing such as gender or age.

Strength - no need for random allocation.What
Weakness - less confidence in inferring cause and effect, may have to wait for IV to occur (weather).


What is ecological validity?

The extent to which a situation reflects real life.


What is random allocation?

Allocation participants by chance; each participant has an equal chance of ending up in each condition.


What are the non-experimental methods

1. Interviews (structured and unstructured)
2. Questionnaires (closed and open)
3. Observations
4. Correlations
5. Case studies
6. Content analyses


What is a structured interview? Give its strengths and weaknesses.

Pre-prepared, fixed questions asked in a fixed order. Structure of the interview is standardised.

Strengths - interviews can be replicated, data can be collected and analyses, easy to see patterns and compare answers.
Weaknesses - issues that arise cannot be pursued, formal and intimidating.


What is an unstructured interview? Give its strengths and weaknesses.

Starts out with a general aim, but there are no fixed questions.

Strengths - interesting issues can be explored, more flexibility, less formal and more comfortable for participants.
Weaknesses - difficult to replicate, difficult to see participants, and interviewers may stray off point.


What is a closed questionnaire? Give its strengths and weaknesses.

Fixed number of optional answers.

Strengths - produces quantitative data that can be summarised, displayed and analysed, allows for the rapid collection of lots of data, can be completed anonymously which should lead to more honest answers.
Weaknesses - less validity; there may be no suitable option, self-report method so are subjective.


What is an open questionnaire? Give its strengths and weaknesses.

Allow the respondent to answer in any way they like.

Strengths - richer and more detailed responses, more accurate and allow for points to be pursued.
Weaknesses - difficult to analyse, unique and hard to replicate.


What are the four types of observation?

Participant, non-participant, covert, and overt.


What is participant observation? Give its strength and weakness.

Observer takes part in the observation, joining those who are being observed.

Strength - allows for precise observation of natural behaviour.
Weakness - can be bias; the observer may become involved with those being observed.


What is non-participant observation? Give its strength and weaknesses.

Observations are conducted at a distance.

Strength - observer can remain subjective.
Weaknesses - single observers may be biased, ethical problems as those being observed may not have knowledge of it; observations can only take place in public.


What is covert observation? Give its strength and weakness.

Conducted without the awareness of the individual or group being observed.

Strength - good validity because all behaviour is natural.
Weakness - ethical concerns.


What is overt observation? Give its strength and weakness.

Observer can be seen by those being observed (such as an inspector at the back of class).

Strength - more ethically sound.
Weakness - may cause observer effects, people will behave unnaturally.


What are correlations? Give its strength and weakness.

Two sets of numerical score are obtained for each participant and a relationship between these sets of data is established. The relationship can be positive (as one increases so does the other), negative (as one increases, the other decreases), or zero (there is no relationship).

Strength - can assess the strength and direction of a relationship, leading to further study.
Weakness - no control of variables, so doesn't show cause and effect.


What are case studies? Give its strengths and weaknesses.

Normally conducted by educational, clinical and occupational psychologists. Take place of an extended period of time and involve an in depth study of an individual or small group. Case studies can involve interviews, observations, psychological tests and formal records.

Strengths - data is qualitative, detailed and meaningful so has high validity, patterns can be studied over time, a single case study can disprove a theory.
Weaknesses - unique and difficult to replicate, hard to generalise, may be affected by research bias.


What are content analyses? Give its strength and weakness.

Indirect study of people mainly through the media.

Strength - few ethical issues as there is no direct contact with participants.
Weakness - due to the little or no contact with participants, interpretations can be inaccurate and based on opinions.


What are the three common ways of making a question closed?

1. Yes/no responses.
2. Rating scale such as 1-5 (1=disagree, 5=agree). This is called a Likert scale.
3. Multiple choice.


What is a pilot study?

A way for researchers to test their questions to make sure they are valid measures of the concept under investigation. It may be a case of making sure the questions can be understood, or that all options are covered by a closed question. It generally involves a smaller sample, and sometimes only a sample questions. It also helps identify any factors that may negatively affect the outcome of a study.


What methods or recording can be used for observational studies?

1. A scoring sytem.
2. A check list of criteria.
3. Keeping a tally.
4. Making notes.
5. Video recording


What graph is used to represent correlation studies?



What is the correlation co-efficient?

A number measuring the strength and direction of a correlation.


What is the co-efficient for perfect correlations?

Positive: +1
Negative: -1
Zero: 0


What are case studies often used to investigate? Why?

Atypical behaviour or unusual situations; what happens when things 'go wrong'. It can provide insight into normal patterns of behaviour.


What is coding?

Operationalising variables for analysis.


What is qualitative research?

It produces descriptive data. Examples include; self-report, observation, case studies, and content analysis. It provides rich and valid data.


What is quantitive research?

It produces numerical data. Examples include; experiments, correlations, self-report, observation and content analysis. It provides objective data that is easier to analyse.


What is the mean? Give its strength and weaknesses.

'Average'. Add every score in a set, and divide by the number of scores.

Strength - most sensitive measure as if takes into account every score.
Weakness - distorted by extreme or anomalous scores. Calculation tends to result in a decimal, which often doesn't represent what has been measured.


What is the median? Give its strength and weakness.

This is the middle score in the set when placed in order from lowest to highest.

Strength - not as distorted as the mean is by extreme scores.
Weakness - less sensitive measure than the mean.


What is the mode? Give its strength and weakness.

The most frequent score in a test.

Strength - very easy to calculate.
Weakness - can have numerous or no modes depending on scores.


What are the measures of central tendency?

Mean, median and mode.


What are the measures of dispersion?

Range, standard deviation.


What is the range?

Calculated by subtracting the lowest from the highest score in a set, plus one.


What is standard deviation?

It uses all the scores in a data set, taking into account the distance from the mean. The higher the standard deviation, the greater the distance (spread) of each score from the mean.

(√total) ÷ (number of participants - 1)


What is a biased sample?

A sample that isn't representative of the target population.


What is a sampling frame?

A section of the target population from which the sample is literally drawn.


What are the four types of sampling?

1. Random
2. Systematic
3. Stratified
4. Oppotunity


What is random sampling? Give its strengths and weaknesses.

Made up of participants chosen mathematically, using chance. Each participant in the sampling frame has an equal chance of being selected for the sample.

Strengths - avoids bias, the law of probability says the researcher will likely get a representative sample.
Weaknesses - there is a chance of a 'freak' unrepresentative sample, it is time consuming as all potential participants have to be identified before the draw can be made.


What is systematic sampling? Give its strengths and weaknesses.

Made up of participants chosen mathematically by taking every nth person in the sampling frame for the sample. Theoretically, it isn't random because each person in the sampling frame doesn't have the same chance of being selected.

Strengths - avoids bias, likely to get a representative sample.
Weaknesses - a change of a 'freak' sample, not as objective as random sampling as the researcher may decide on how people are listed and what number to use before selection.


What is stratified sampling? Give its strengths and weaknesses.

Made up of participants selected after the sampling frame has been stratified or layered. This means the sampling frame is divided into groups that the researcher wants to make sure are represented in the final sample, and a certain number are selected from these groups (normally randomly) so they are proportionately represented.

Strengths - avoids the problem of freak samples, relatively objective.
Weaknesses - time consuming, researcher may not identify all the key characteristics meaning the sample is actually unrepresentative.


What is opportunity sampling? Give its strength and weaknesses.

Made up of participants who have been chosen because they are convenient. They may have volunteered, or have been in the locality, or know the researcher.

Strength - less time consuming.
Weaknesses - the sample is likely to be biased as certain types of people will have been chosen or volunteered. Depending on where they are taking from, they may share certain characteristics.


What is a brief and what should it include?

It is everything that is stated to participants before an investigation/experiment. It should include;
- instructions (what to expect, what they're going to do)
- informed consent
- right to withdraw
- confidentiality


What is a debrief and what should it include?

It is everything that is communicated to the participants after the investigation/experiment. It should include;
- detail of the investigation/experiment (hypothesis, aim)
- right to withdraw data
- offer to show finished investigation
- thank them


What is a transcript?

Word-for-word written account.


What are raw scores?

The original scores collected for individual participants.


What is discrete data?

Data in categories.


What is continuous data?

Numerical data from a scale where, in theory, there are no intervals between scores.


What are the four ways of representing data?

1. Bar graphs
2. Line graphs
3. Histograms
4. Scattergrams


What is a bar graph?

It is used to represent data in categories (discrete data). Each bar represents a different category, and they are placed apart from each other. Even when a category isn't observed, it should still be there to show that it had a frequency of 0.


What is a line graph?

It shows data that is in numerical form which is continuous data. The scale of measurement is on the x axis, and the frequency is on the y axis. The points are joined together with a line between them.


What is a histogram?

They're an alternative to line graphs, as the represent continuous data, but the bars represent a score rather than a point. Bars are drawn touching. Each group of scores (bar) is known as a class, which gives the width of the bar.


What is a scattergram?

The represent relationships between variables; correlations. Both variables are measured using a numerical scale. One is on the x axis, and the other on the y axis. It doesn't matter which way around they are as data is being analysed for the relationship, not cause and effect.