Research Methods Flashcards Preview

Psychology Paper 3 > Research Methods > Flashcards

Flashcards in Research Methods Deck (276):

How is the IV and DV operationalised in both lab + field experiments?

IV: Operationalised through the manipulation of the experimenter

DV: Operationalised through the scores collected from an experiment


Who decides the allocation of participants to the IV for both lab and field experiments?

Experimenter decides this: Participants may experience all of some levels of the IV


What are lab experiments?

A laboratory experiment is an experiment conducted under highly controlled conditions. The variable which is being manipulated by the researcher is called the independent variable and the dependent variable is the change in behaviour measured by the researcher.


Can a control group be present in both lab and field experiments?

Yes. The control group may be present to give comparisons; They won’t experience the IV


What is the environment like in a lab and field experiment?

Lab experiment: artificial. The experimenter controls all parts of the environment.

Field experiment: Natural. The experimenter doesn’t control all parts. Things like temperature, noise, light, etc. are very hard to control


What is the cause and effect relationship like in a lab and field experiment?

Lab: Strong

Field: Fairy Strong, but not as strong as a lab experiment


Does a hypothesis differ for lab and field experiments?

The experimenter makes predictions about what they expect to find.


Do lab / field experiments have ecological validity?

Lab: No

Field: Yes


Do lab / field experiments have internal validity?

Lab: Yes

Field: No


What is meant by Predictive Validity?

Whether the findings predict future performance


Do lab / field experiments have predictive validity?

Lab: Yes (?)

Field: Yes


Are lab / field experiments objective?

Lab: Yes (?)

Field: Yes (?)


Can demand characteristics influence the results of a lab / field experiment?

Lab: Yes

Field: No


Can experimenter effects influence the results of a lab / field experiment?

Lab: Yes

Field: No


What are the 3 types of Experimental Design?

Independent Measures
Repeated Measures
Matched Pair


What happens during the Independent Measures Design?

Each participant experiments one level of the IV.


What happens during the Repeated Measures Design?

All participants take part in each condition/ the same conditions of the experiment


What happens during the Matched Pairs Design?

Participants experiment one level of the IV. Another participant with the same characteristics (e.g. age, sex, intelligence, etc.) experience the other level.


What are the Advantages of an Independent Measures Design?

Ppts Needed: Each participant experiments one level of the IV. More participants are required for two separate groups.

Time Taken: Participants only carry out 1 level of the IV

Demand Characteristics: Participants only experience one level of the IV, meaning a less likely chance of developing demand characteristics
(Not a Problem)

Order Effects: Participants only experience one level of the IV, meaning they can’t develop order effects
(Not a Problem)


What are the Disadvantages of an Independent Measures Design?

Participant Variables/Characteristics:
Participants with certain characteristics (e.g. high IQ) may be placed in the same group, which will have an effect on results


What are the Advantages of a Repeated Measures Design?

Participant Variables/Characteristics:
Participants do all parts of the experiment, meaning they will have an effect on all findings
(Not a Problem)


What are the Disadvantages of a Repeated Measures Design?

Ppts Needed:
Less recruitment for participants is necessary
(Not Generalisable)

Time Taken:
Participants have to do all levels of the DV

Demand Characteristics:
Participants redo the experiment, but with a different level of the IV. This makes it likely for them to develop demand characteristics

Order Effects:
Participants redo the experiment, so they may become better or worse at the task


What are the Advantages of a Matched Pair Design?

Ppts Needed:
More participants required for the matched characteristics for both groups

Participant Variables/Characteristics:
Participant variables will be the same for all levels of the IV
(Not a Problem)

Demand Characteristics:
Participants only experience one level of the IV, meaning a less likely chance of developing demand characteristics
(Not a Problem)

Order Effects:
Participants only experience one level of the IV, meaning they can’t develop order effects
(Not a Problem)


What are the Disadvantages of a Matched Pair Design?

Time Taken:
The experimenter must spend time finding participants with the same characteristics
(Very Slow)


What is Qualitative Data?

Qualitative data refers to any information from the participants in the form of prose, rather than numerical data.


Give an example to when qualitative data may be used.

Cognitive psychologists may gather qualitative data through case studies of patients with brain damage that led to memory loss.


How is qualitative data tested?

Qualitative data doesn’t propose a hypothesis, but instead explores a research question.
The answer to the question is slowly formed as information is decoded.


How is qualitative data collected?

Information can be collected in a variety of ways (e.g. interviews, open-ended questions), and common themes are noted down.


Why is qualitative data gathered?

To gain a deeper insight into an individual’s experience, feelings and beliefs.


What are the advantages of qualitative data, in terms of detail?

Qualitative data gives rich, detailed data – which may be missed by quantitative data – making results more valid

Qualitative data goes beyond describing discourse; it’s a process of comprehending information, synthesising the material and theorising about why the themes exist


Why is qualitative data used when exploring big issues?

Qualitative data is extremely important when investigating important issues – these big questions could not be addressed using a questionnaire – as this couldn’t properly address people’s deeply held feelings + beliefs


Why is qualitative data unreliable?

Qualitative data doesn’t follow any particular standardised procedure – results may not be the same when replicated – it lacks reliability

Qualitative data can be interpreted differently, increasing subjectivity – people may not view the results the same – it lack reliability


What is a disadvantage of qualitative data (other than reliability)?

Qualitative data is laborious and difficult to conduct, because data analysis + transcription takes a lot of time


Why are the case studies of brain damaged patients important in cognitive psychology?

They have been critical to cognitive psychology in order to investigate how brain injury affects cognitive functioning.

Sometimes we can understand cognitive functions, such as memory, more in their absence, as is the case in brain-damaged patients


How did the qualitative data from HM's case help himself, and cognitive psychology?

During his life, HM was interviewed many times- this qualitative information has informed an understanding of which cognitive function were still intact, and which were impaired.

Extra Info: HM's brain was gifted to psychological research; it was spliced into 2000+ segments to map the human brain at the brain Observatory in San Diego


What methods of investigation do Cognitive Psychologists typically use?

They typically use experiments to investigate human mental processing. They also use case studies of brain-damaged patients to understand how injury can be linked to cognitive deficits


What is a Target Population?

In an investigation researchers are trying to find out about a certain group of people, this could be for example, human beings in general (Milgram). This is called the target population


What is a Sample?

It is impossible to interview or test every single person in that population, so they have to select a group of people that represent that population. This is called the sample or participants.


Why is it important that the Sample is similar to the Population?

It is important that the sample is similar in characteristics to the target population so that sample is representative. This means the findings are generalisable.


What is Opportunity Sampling?

This technique uses people from target population available at the time and willing to take part. It is based on convenience.

The researcher will stand in a particular location and recruit participants as they pass.

The people who agree become their sample, and they wait until they have sufficient participants.


Are opportunity samples Quick to conduct?


They just find the closest people who will agree to do it, and no planning is involved.


Are opportunity samples Representative?

To an extent

They don't all share similar characteristics, like how volunteer samples would (for example)


Do opportunity samples Consist of Keen Participants?

No, but they're likely to drop out

Since participants have been selected rather than sign up they may not have an interest in completing research so they may drop out part of the way through the study causing issues with the results


Are opportunity samples Practical?

Yes, they will obtain enough ppts

Practical as provided the researcher stands in a busy place they should find sufficient participants to take part and they can remain there until they do.


What is Self Selecting Sampling also known as?

Volunteer Sampling


What is Self Selecting Sampling?

Participants become part of a study because they volunteer when asked by the researcher.

The researcher may place an advert in a newspaper or magazine explaining the research.

The researcher will wait for people to contact them via phone/ email.

Once a sufficient number have contacted them they have the sample for their research.


Are self selecting samples Quick to conduct?


They have to wait until a sufficient amount of people agree to do the study


Are self selecting samples Representative?


May lead to an unrepresentative sample as participants are likely to be keen and perhaps interested in the topic since they have volunteered and might not be representative of society.


Do self selecting samples Consist of Keen Participants?


Participants may be very keen since they have volunteered making demand characteristics more likely since they are more motivated to work out the aim of research and perhaps altered their behaviour.


Are self selecting samples Practical?


They are likely to obtain enough participants, but it may be difficult in some cases.


What is Random Sampling?

In this technique, everyone in the entire target population has an equal chance of being selected. A random number generator from a computer programme can be used to select participants from a list.

A sampling frame / list of the population is needed for example the electoral role.


Are random samples Quick to conduct?


Fairly quick and easy as the researcher simply needs a sampling frame such as the electoral role and they can select participants. These resources are readily available and little planning is needed


Are random samples Representative?

Should be representative as the laws of probability dictate the sample should be roughly similar to the population in terms of gender, age, ethnicity.


Do random samples Consist of Keen Participants?

Since participants have been selected rather than sign up they may not have an interest in completing research so they may drop out part of the way through the study causing issues with the results


Are random samples Practical?

Practical as if those chosen do not respond then they can use the random name generator to select a new participant until they have enough.


What is Stratified Sampling?

In this technique the researcher identifies the different types of people that make up the target population, for example make / female, young old (relevant characteristics chosen).

Then they work out the proportions needed for the sample to be representative for example, 50% male and 50% female.

They use a random number generator from a computer programme to select people from a sampling frame / list e.g. the electoral role.

They select their sample using the results of this, ensuring they have the right proportions of everyone


Are stratified samples Quick to Conduct?


Time consuming as the researcher must work out the characteristics of the population and then select an appropriate sample so planning is involved. This might be a long process as particular genders / ages / ethnicities might be difficult to find.


Are stratified samples Representative?


They highly represent the demographics of the total population.


Do stratified samples Consist of Keen Participants?

No, but they may drop out

Since participants have been selected rather than sign up they may not have an interest in completing research so they may drop out part of the way through the study causing issues with the results


Are stratified samples Practical?


It may be difficult to obtain a sufficient number of participants with the appropriate characteristics who agree to take part in the research, making this method impractical


What are the Types of Interviews?

Structured Interview
Semi-Structured Interview
Unstructured Interview


What is a Structured Interview?

Researcher uses a list of previously planned questions in a set order. Often these have a list of tick box answers to choose from, however they can include open questions
The interview may be recorded on videotape, audiotape or written down.

The experimenter cannot add any more questions once in the interview.

The experimenter cannot change the wording of the question if the interviewee does not understand.


Do Structured interviews use qualitative or quantitative data?

Quantitative (sometimes qualitative)


Are Structured Interviews Reliable?


Has good reliability as if repeated, exactly the same questions can be asked

Has good inter-rater reliability as researchers will use the same questions leading to consistency in results


Are Structured Interviews Valid?


May lack validity as it is difficult for the researcher to build a rapport (relationship) therefore the participant may not relax and give truthful information.


Are Structured Interviews Objective?


Allows for objective quantitative data when analysed. Researchers opinion cannot affect interpretation of tick box answers


What are Semi-Structured Interviews?

A semi-structured interview is where there might be some preset questions that the interviewer asks and interviewee answers.

The interviewer can deviate from those questions and make some up if they want. The interviewer can change the wording of the question if the interviewee does not understand.

The interview might be recorded on video tape, audio tape or the answers may be written down.


Do Semi-Structured Interviews use qualitative data or quantitative data?

Uses a mixture


Are Semi-Structured Interviews Reliable?


Has poor test-retest reliability as if repeated, questions will vary slightly

Has poor inter-rater reliability as researchers will use different questions leading to inconsistency in results


Are Semi-Structured Interviews Valid?


Good validity as the researcher can build a rapport (relationship) therefore the participant will relax and give truthful information.


Are Semi-Structured Interviews Objective?


The answers to some questions may be subjective to interpret. The researchers' opinion may affect how they view the meaning.


What are Unstructured Interviews?

An unstructured interview is when there are no preset questions ready prepared for the interviewer to ask.

The interviewer will have a topic which they want the interviewee to talk about but the questions will be made up as they go along.

The interviewer can change the wording of the questions if the interviewee does not understand.

The interviewer will ask new questions depending on what the interviewee says and what is considered interesting.

An unstructured interview is similar to an informal conversation


Do Unstructured Interviews use qualitative or quantitative data?

Qualitative data.


Are Unstructured Interviews Reliable?

Has poor test-retest reliability as if repeated, questions will vary slightly

Has poor inter-rater reliability, as researchers will use different questions leading to inconsistency in results


Are Unstructured Interviews Valid?


Good validity as the researcher can build rapport (relationship). Therefore the participant will relax and give truthful


Are Unstructured Interviews Objective?


Highly subjective to interpret the answers to questions. Also the researcher can affect the results by asking biased


What are Questionnaires?

Questionnaires involve asking people questions about a specific topic (usually on paper).

Questions must be related to a specific aim/hypothesis – ethically, a researcher should not ask for unnecessary information.

There are a number of formats for asking questions


What are the Advantages of Questionnaires?

Quick method for gathering a large amount of data – once the researcher has written the questionnaire, it can be given to large sample very quickly.

Very reliable method as questions are listed in a fixed order and with exactly the same wording for each participant.


What are the Disdvantages of Questionnaires?

Time consuming to write as the order and wording of the questions needs to be planned carefully in order to avoid researcher bias (e.g. leading questions).

Socially desirable answers are common as people want to present themselves in a favourable way – produces invalid results.

Difficult to obtain a 100% response rate as participants may not return the questionnaire or not bother answering some questions.


What are Closed Questions?

Closed questions provide participants with a number of options and asks them to choose one that represents their view.


What are some Examples of Closed Questions?

Likert scale
A rating scale
Identifying characteristics


What is a Likert scale?

A Likert scale provides a statement to which participants Rate their opinion

(such as 5 = strongly agree, 4 = agree, 3 = neutral , 2 = disagree, 1 = strongly disagree or 5= very likely/ 1= very unlikely).


What is a Rating Scale?

Asks participants to rate themselves on a specific scale e.g. 1-10.


What is meant by Identifying Characteristics?

Provides participants with a number of personal characteristics and asks them to circle one that represents their view.


What are the Advantages of Closed Questions?

Answers are reliable – i.e. replies are easy to compare and can be compared in the same way by different researchers.

The researcher can be objective i.e. analyse participants answers without using their own judgement or interpretations .


What are the Disadvantages of Closed Questions?

Can lead to invalid answers as the participant is forced to choose one of the stated options. They may have wanted to provide a different answer.

Can be time consuming for the researcher to write as a range of closed options should be provided. This requires some research and understanding of the most common responses.


What are Open Questions?

Provides with the space to write their own answer to a question – no options are provided.


What are the Advantages of Open Questions?

Answers are valid as participants are free to answer as they wish and may write in depth about their behaviour.

Participants may give unique answers that the researcher wouldn’t have included in closed


What are the Disadvantages of Open Questions?

Participants may misunderstand the question and provide an invalid answer

The researcher has to be subjective i.e. use their own judgement or interpretation to analyse participants answers.


What should be regarded when Designing a Questionnaire?

Straight forward questions should be stated at the beginning to encourage participants to answer.

Questions about personal details (age/gender/ethnicity) should be stated at the end so as not to bore the participants.

Questions should be varied so as to avoid response bias (the tendency of the participant to stick to one response throughout their answer).

A pilot survey should be carried out before the main research to check the questions are worded clearly, and that the answers given are relevant to the researchers


What is Quantitative Data?

Quantitative data refers to information in a numerical or statistical form. It is data that is more likely to be drawn from controlled situations such as laboratory experiments. It deals with ‘what’ rather than ‘why’ in research.

For example the percentage of people that obeyed Milgram and administered electric shocks is quantitative data.


What could Quantitative Data Include?

Quantitative data could include descriptive statistics involving central tendency – mean/median/mode.

Or it could include data that has been represented using graphs/pie charts so that comparison can be drawn.


What is Qualitative Data?

Qualitative data refers to information regarding information written in detailed description, words or even images. Qualitative data deals with “why” rather than “what” in research.

For example, Milgram interviewed his participants to find out why they went so far on the shock generator (this was qualitative data).


What does Qualitative Data Include?

This might include information gathered from open questions from interviews or questionnaires, or from case studies or research in real world settings.

Qualitative data includes information that will need to be assessed for themes. These themes will then be used to make conclusions of the findings of the psychological topic.


Is Qualitative / Quantitative Data Objective?

Qualitative: It is Subjective as it has to be analysed for themes and different researchers may give different interpretations

Quantitative: It is Objective as researchers can't have personal interpretations of numerical data


Is Qualitative / Quantitative Data Reliable?

Qualitative: Doesn't use operationalised variables, and so it's harder to replicate and check for reliability

Quantitative: uses operationalised variables making it easier to replicate the study and thus check for reliability


Is Qualitative / Quantitative Data Superficial, or Valid?

Qualitative: May produce more rich detailed type of information with access to emotions and feelings behind behaviour making it more valid
Are conducted in more natural circumstances tend to produce more ecologically valid data as they are real life situations

Quantitative: May produce limited information with low/no access to emotions and feelings behind behaviour, making it less valid
Quantitative data may produce narrow, unrealistic information which only focuses on small fragments of behaviour and therefore is not valid


What is another Weakness to Qualitative Data?

Does not allow for easy comparisons as each participant will have very individual data.


What are other Strengths to Quantitative Data?

Quantitative data gives statistical data which can be further tested to see how far the results are due to chance using inferential statistics

It can also be easily represented in graphs and charts for easier analysis and comparisons than qualitative data


What is a Thematic Analysis?

Recording themes, patterns or trends within data


What are the two approaches to a thematic analysis?

Inductive approach
Deductive approach


What is an Inductive Thematic Analysis?

The researcher would read and reread the qualitative data gathered, and themes would emerge from the data without the researcher imposing any of their own ideas/expectations from it.


What is a Deductive Thematic Analysis?

The researcher specifies themes that they will look for before analysing the data


What is the Overall Procedure of a Thematic Analysis?

It involves carefully reading + considering the qualitative data gathered, and identifying the themes present in the data that occur frequently or seem to be a key feature of the data.

How frequent/central to the text the theme is depends on the opinion of the researcher, and the nature of the material analysed.

The researcher then develops these themes to 'codes' which represent the categories of themes found.

The research will then use these codes to analyse the data gathered and search for instances where it appears in the data.

This is reviewed continually, and changed if necessary, until the themes can be stated, supported and used as a summary of the data.


What is the weakness of analysing qualitative data?

Using thematic analysis or other forms of qualitative analysis is often seen as unscientific, as the themes are highly dependent on subjective opinions


What is the strength of analysing qualitative data?

Qualitative analysis does yield far more detailed + meaningful information than quantitative data


When was social psychology developed?

In the mid-19th century...
... as there was a desire to understand the collective or group mind.

Experimental social psychology (studying human behaviour in controlled conditions) grew in the 20th century


What are the Reasons For animal research?

Large samples can be bred in short time frames.
When investigating characteristics across generations, it takes a relatively shorter time
e.g. rats are used because of the speed they produce offspring (22 days)

Animals don't have any demand characteristics

There is a higher degree of control
You can isolate variables from animals much easier than for humans

Although unnecessary pain must be avoided, pain + distress is permitted
Correct housing + treatment is provided

It gives valid information on human processes
We are able to generalise findings to some extent

Animal research has provided significant insight into vital areas of medical research- including drug treatments, transplants, surgical techniques + cloning
It has made significant contributions to our knowledge of the brain + nervous system
Conditioning techniques have been used successfully in therapeutic settings
Utilitarian Argument: animal research is justified, as it helps a significant amount of people


What are the Reasons Against animal research?

Animal Research is not credible and lacks ecological validity
Animal research occurs in labs

Too many differences between human + animals
Antropomorphism - Where animals are mistakenly attributed with human qualities

Animals and Humans are too Different
There are differences in genetic makeup; and human behaviour + thought is subject to a lot more variables (e.g. culture, social norms, language)

The benefits aren't known until the end
It is possible that their study has little effect

You can't do animal research just for curiosity
Animal procedures will not be granted, unless the researcher can justify the costs in relation to the likely benefits of the research


Why is there Legislation on Animal Research?

Psychologists using animals in their research are allowed to cause a lot more harm and suffering than would be acceptable/legal when using human ppts.

However there are laws that protect certain animals from excessive/unnecessary harm. These animals are offered some legal protection because they are considered to be capable of pain and suffering


What are the 2 types of Animal Research Legislation?

The Scientific Procedures Act (1986)
Home Office Regulations


What is The Scientific Procedures Act (1986)?

Psychologists must follow regulations when carrying out procedures that might result in pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm to a certain list of animals

This act allows the use of animals in invasive research, such as manipulating genes, using poisonous substances, and making incisions in animals bodies or brains. The studies must offer some advancement in medicine, veterinary science or education.

When keeping and caging the protected animals for research, they must follow the Animal Welfare Act (2006) to ensure satisfactory living conditions are met.

They must also ensure animals are sourced/brought from ethical breeders, identified accurately and killed humanely after research if necessary


What animals are protected within the Scientific Procedures Act (1986)?

Psychologists must follow regulations within this act when conducting research on a list of "protected animals".

This includes:
1. All non-human vertebrates (animals with a spine and brain like rats, dogs, monkeys, cats, fish, dolphins, birds, etc)
2. One invertebrate species (octopus – because they're highly intelligent and so can experience suffering)


What are the Home Office Regulations?

If the researcher wishes to use animals in their study, they must apply for a license from the Home Office. They can only carry out the research once they have received approval. In order for a license to be granted, certain criteria must be met.


What are the 3 Types of Criteria that must be met wishing Home Office Regulations?

1. Cost-Benefit Analysis:
The cost to the animal must be outweighed by the potential benefits of research. This will be determined by an ethics review panel

2. The "Three R's": The researcher must show they have fully considered them

3. Three separate licences must be obtained


What are the "Three R's" researchers have to fully consider when carrying out an animal study?

Replacing animals with non-animal alternatives. (Eg computers, or even less sentiment animals)

Reducing the numbers of animals used to the minimum required to achieve a result

Refining procedures to minimise suffering


What are the 3 separate licences psychologists need to carry out an animal study?

A personal license for each person carrying out procedures on animals

A project license for the program of work/the particular study

An establishment license for the price at which the work is carried out


How is Qualitative + Quantitative data obtained?

Quantitative: can be counted / expressed numerically, but is concerned with words, texts, ideas + themes

Qualitative: cannot be expressed numerically, but is concerned with words, texts ideas and themes


How is Tallying used?

Observers write down when and how many times certain behaviours occurred.

They may also take notes during the observation session, and review them later to try to determine behavioural patterns from the motes. Alternatively, they may also use audio / video recordings.


What Conditions should occur for Observations?

They must be clear and ambiguous

In larger scale studies, observers need training to ensure they understand the operational definitions of behavioural changes.

Training + standardisation of observers is important where more than one observer is making an assessment


Why do researchers use Samples in Human Research?

Due to the potential volume of data to be recorded, researchers often use sampling to gather information. This can be time sampling or event sampling.


What is Time Sampling?

Making observations at Different Time Intervals.

(e.g. every 30 seconds, and recording what is observed)


What is a Problem with Time Sampling?

It may not always be representative, as certain behaviours can be missed if they are only recorded at certain times.


What is Event Sampling?

Recording a Certain Behaviour every time it happens

(e.g. Ticking a box every time someone displays a particular behaviour)


What is a Problem with Event Sampling?

If too many instances of the behaviour happen at once, the researcher may not be able to record all instances


What are Naturalistic Observations?

These involve observing the behaviour of ppts within their own environment.

The situation has not been created by the researcher and so allows them to gain a real insight into a person's behaviour


What are Structured Observations?

Stages observations that are normally carries out within an environment in which the researcher has some control (e.g. lab).

Subsequent behaviour can be observed behind a one-way screen


Are Structured / Naturalistic Observations Reliable?

+ Good Reliability as the observation can be repeated with the same conditions + procedures set up in the laboratory to reconfirm results

- Poor Reliability as if the observation is repeated, the same conditions in the natural environment may change, making it difficult to reconfirm results


Are Structured / Naturalistic Observations Ecologically Valid?

- Low ecological validity as the participants are in a laboratory which is not natural to them so they may not display natural behaviour

+ High validity as the participants are in their natural environment so they should display natural behaviour


Do Structured / Naturalistic Observations have Observer Effects/Demand Characteristics?

-Observer effects may be a problem as participants are likely to know they are being watched since they are in a laboratory, therefore they might guess the aim and alter their behaviour to fit with it , leading to demand characteristics (This can also link to validity)

+ Observer effects are less likey as ppts are more relaxed due to them being in their natural environment. This makes them less likely to alter their behaviour to something more fitting


Are Structured / Naturalistic Observations Practical?

+ Practical as the experimenter sets up the laboratory room, therefore tthey are able to position observers so they can clearly see behaviour and record accurate data.

-May have practical issues as the observer is in the natural environment of participants, e.g. outside, therefore it might be difficult to write notes if it is windy for example.


What are Overt Observations?

Those being observed are aware of the presence of an observer


What are Covert Observations?

The participant do not know they're being observed


Are Overt / Covert Observations Valid?

- Participants may not behave naturally as they know they are being watched, therefore findings may not be valid

+Participants should behave naturally as they do not know they are being watched, therefore results are valid


Do Overt / Covert Observations have Demand Characteristics/Observer Effects?

- Observer effects will occur as participants know they are being observed and therefore may alter their behaviour to fit with the aim leading to demand characteristics.

+ Observer effects should not occur as participants do not know they are being observed, and therefore should not alter their behaviour to fit with the aim, therefore reducing demand characteristics


Are Overt / Covert Observations Practical?

+ Practical as the researcher can easily take down observation notes as they are not hiding the fact they are observing

-May be impractical as the researcher will not be able to openly take observation notes down as they are hiding the fact that they are observing.


Are Overt / Covert Observations Ethical?

+Ethical as researcher can gain full consent from participants to take part in the research since they are aware they are being observed

- Not ethical as the researcher cannot gain informed consent from participants as they are undercover


What are Participant Observations?

The researcher takes an active role in the situation being observed.


What are Non-Participant Observations?

The researcher observes behaviour of others, but does not form part of the group they study.


Are Participant/Non-Participant Observations Reliable?

+ May lack reliability as the impact of the observer may vary depending on their personality and behaviour, therefore replication with a different observer may lead to different results

+Fairly reliable as the observer's influence will not vary on replication as they are not involved, leading to consistent findings on replication.


Are Participant/Non-Participant Observations Valid?

+Valid as the observer will be part of the group and so will gain a deep insight into the reasons for their behaviour

- Lacks validity as the observer will be an outsider so they may not gain a deep insight into the reasons for behaviour


Will the researcher in a Participant/Non-Participant Observation be Objective?

- Lacks objectivity as the researcher is part of the group so they may become too involved in activities and fail to draw objective conclusions

+ Objective as the researcher remains separate from the group so they will not become involved and they can draw objective conclusions


Are Participant/Non-Participant Observations Practical?

-Not practical as it may be difficult for the researcher to note down their observations while they are taking part in group activities

+ Practical as it will be easy for the researcher to make observation notes as they are not taking part in group activities


What is the Content Analysis method?

This method is typically used as a research tool to examine media content and see how common particular words, images, themes or concepts are. It is typically used for media content such as advertisements, books, films, newspapers, music videos etc.

For example, the researcher might look at how common gender stereotyping is in children’s books.


How is a Content Analysis Conducted?

1. The researcher would have to start with a research question – i.e. what do they want to find out about. The question should be quite specific so that it is easy to conduct the content analysis.

2. Create categories based on what is presented in the content. These categories should be based on what the purpose of the research is e.g for an analysis of gender roles in the home, you might have the categories of breadwinner (female), breadwinner (male), housewife, househusband. Etc and so you test those categories in a pilot study. (You could test for inter-rater reliability (if there is good inter-rater reliability, it means that more than one researcher agrees with the categories)

3. Select a sample of the material to be analysed – this might be for pilot purposes (when you test out your categories) So maybe 4 newspapers or music videos or films will be assessed for their content

4. Take a larger sample and take a tally on how many times the categories are being emphasised – this is your real content analysis so you will want to take a larger sample

5. You would then analyse your findings – look for trends, make graphs, you could try to find more themes within your findings.


What are the Strengths of Content Analyses?

Ethics: They are ethical, as data is collected from existing sources rather than live ppts

Useful: It offers the opportunity for a fresh interpretation of existing data, which may not be achieved via other methods
It's useful for analysing historical material + documenting trends over time

Reliability: Reliability can be easily assessed as the content analysis can be easily replicated with the same source


What are the Weaknesses of Content Analyses?

Subjectivity: A content analysis is a purely descriptive method; so it's subject to bias

I.V: The categories used should represent what they intend to measure, otherwise the data won't be valid

May be limited by the availability of material

Observed trends may not reflect reliability


What does PET stand for?

Positron Emission Tomography


How do PET Scans work?

- Patients are injected with 'flourodeoxyglucose' (FDG).
-FDG attaches to glucose, which the brain uses up as a form of energy.
- As the brain is working, the glucose will be used up
-The radioactive atoms start to break down emitting positrons
- This leads to gamma rays being produced, which the scanner picks up.


What do the colours of a PET scan suggest?

- High gamma ray concentration = High brain activity = Warmer colours like red showing up on the image

- Low gamma ray concentration = Low brain activity = Cooler colours like blue showing up on the image


What are the Advantages of PET Scans?

- Useful for detecting areas of the brain that aren't functioning normally; which could indicate damage or tumours

- Indicates parts of the brain showing abnormal levels of brain activity; which helps researchers see what problems exist and also predict any future issues

- Objective, as coloured images of the gamma rays aren't affected by opinion. Therefore, conclusions gathered are valid & accurate


What are the disadvantages of PET Scans?

- More Invasive: the patient is injected with a radioactive substance

- Although it is a low risk, it is advised to not take too many PET scans (unless it's absolutely necessary), as the long term effects of them are unclear

-Lacks ecological validity (unnatural environment)


When were fMRI scans designed?

In the 1990s

(It's relatively new)


What's the difference between an MRI Scan and a fMRI scan?

The fMRI scan is a functional scan; meaning it is an 'ongoing' scan rather than an image (like with the MRI Scan)


How do fMRI Scans work?

- Brain activity is associated with blood flow in the brain

- You place your head inside a very large & powerful electromagnet

- Blood flow increases in the active areas to keep up with the demand for oxygen

- Oxygenated haemoglobin repels a magnetic field (diamagnetic); and when deoxygenated, it follows the direction of the magnetic field (paramagnetic)

- It's these things the scanner will detect to create an image


What are the Advantages of fMRI Scans?

- They are non-invasive as they don't include a radioactive substance

- They are objective as magnetic fields in the brain can only be interpreted in one way, and aren't affected by opinion.


What are the Disadvantages of fMRI Scans?

- Some people are unable to have fMRI scans:
- e.g. Anyone with a cardiac pacemaker or metal implants

- Not be suitable for anyone who is claustrophobic, or don't like confined spaces or loud noises; as they will become stressed

- fMRI Scans lack ecological validity, as the brain activity is scanned & measured while the participant carries out activities in an artificial environment. Therefore, any conclusions gathered do not reflect real life brain activity & behaviour


What does CAT stand for?

Computerised Axial Tomography


How do CAT Scans work?

- CAT Scans take images of any part of the body

- They involve passing X-Ray's through the head, where multiple beams are passed around the head from different angles to gather more information (as opposed to a standard X-ray that focuses on one specific area)

- The information from the multiple X-Ray beams is interpreted by a computer, and a detailed image of the brain structure can be seen


What are the Advantages of CAT Scans?

- CAT scans are good for scanning something as complex as the brain as it can process more information

- Useful for detecting areas of brain damage or rumours

- Gives accurate details of brain structure which helps guide clinicians in decision making regarding treatment or surgery

- Helps surgeons to better plan a procedure as they can accurately see the structure of the brain without physically entering the skull: This makes the procedure faster & more efficient, and reduces risks

- Objective as X-Ray's can't be affected by opinion


What are the Disadvantages of CAT Scans?

- It doesn't give any information about how the brain is functioning.

- The use of X-Ray's in CAT Scans can pose a risk to patients, as they involve exposure to radiation:
-It is advised that they should only be used when the benefits (in relation to diagnosis) outweigh the potential risks

- Pregnant women are advised not to take it, as there's evidence that exposure to X-Rays can cause damage to the unborn baby

- CAT Scans lack ecological validity as the scan occurs in an artificial environment. Therefore, any conclusions gathered do not reflect real life behaviour + brain activity


What have psychologists been doing with brain scanning?

In recent years, psychologists have been using brain-scanning methods to make links between brain scans + activity, and a variety of human behaviours.

An element of human behaviour of considerable interest has been aggression, and researchers have been using a range of scanning techniques to explain aggressive behaviour (e.g. Raine et al)


What are the Types of twins?

- Monozygotic and Dizygotic

- Monozygotic twins are identical twins: They share 100% of the same genetic material, and are always the same sex.

- Dizygotic twins are fraternal twins: They share 50% of genetic material (like any two siblings), and can be the same sex or different sexes.


What do Twins Studies do?

Provide psychologists with a unique design to test the influence of nature and/or nurture on human behaviour.


How can psychologists compare MZ and DZ twins?

- Psychologists are able to compare behaviour between a group of identical/MZ twins and a group of fraternal/DZ twins, to see which group share the most similarity between each set of twins.

- MZ twins are compare to DZ twins. All twins have been brought up together, and experienced a similar environment. Psychologist then compare the concordance rates between these twins.

- If MZ twins are more similar to DZ twins this suggests behaviour is due to nature more than nurture.

- If MZ twins are equally similar to DZ twins, this suggests behaviour is due to nurture more than nature.


What is meant by the concordance rate?

- The extent to which behaviour is the same between twins.

- The similarity between pairs of twins is calculated at represented as either:

1. Concordance Rates (0= no similarity 1= exactly the same)

2. Percentages (0%= no similarity 100%= exactly the same)


How can psychologists compare MZ twins and MZ twins?

- Half of the MZ twins were brought up together, and half were separated at birth and brought up in different environments.

- Psychologists and compare concordance rates between both types of MZ twins for characteristics such as IQ and intelligence

- If the MZ twins who were brought up together have a higher concordance rate, this suggests behaviour is due more to nurture than nature

- If both types of MZ twins have similar concordance rates, this suggests behaviour is due more to nature than nurture.


What is an Example of a Twin Study?

Gottesman and Shields (1996)

Schizophrenia in Twins


What is the general evaluation on Twin Studies?

1) It is virtually impossible to separate nature completely from nurture

2) Almost all twins will be raised together. Therefore it is problematic to assume that, just because MZ twins shows a higher concordance than DZ twins for a behaviour, it must be genetic.

3) It is not easy to recruit a large + diverse group of MZ and DZ twins, making the generalsability of studies problematic


What was the Aim of Gottesman + Shield's (1996) Twin Study?

To investigate the influence of genetics and environment on schizophrenia, by comparing MZ and DZ twins.


What was the Procedure of Gottesman + Shield's (1996) Twin Study?

- The sample of 57 same sex twins where one was diagnosed with schizophrenia were chosen

- Permission was given to look at their hospital records.

- Each twin was assessed to see if they were MZ or DZ twins; based on fingerprints, blood samples and appearance.

- 24 pairs of MZ twins, and is 33 pairs of DZ twins were identified.

- Hospital diagnosis records were used to assess rates of schizophrenia, and other psychiatric abnormalities in the twins.

- Twins were also assessed; according to self-report questionnaires, interviews with twins/parents, personality tests and thinking tests.


What were the Findings of Gottesman + Shield's (1996) Twin Study?

- Concordance rates for schizophrenia were higher in MZ twins (42%) than in DZ twins (9%), showing schizophrenia is influenced by genes.

- However, since the concordance rate for MZ twins was not 100%, this suggests there might be some environmental factors that cause schizophrenia.

- For example, in cases where only one MZ twin was schizophrenic, the twin with the disorder had often experienced a trauma; such as brain damage as a prisoner of war, or an abusive husband.

- Concordance rates between females were higher than for males for all types of psychological abnormality, suggesting genes linked to schizophrenia have more of an effect in females.


What are the Advantages of Gottesman + Shield's (1996) Twin Study?

- Gottesman used standardised tests such as personality and thinking tests, which was the same procedure for all participants, making findings reliable. Therefore the study can be replicated in a similar way to give similar results and findings.

- Gottesman's twin study is ecologically valid, as the twins were brought up in their natural environment. Therefore, findings about genes causing schizophrenia reflect natural behaviour.

- Gottesman's study has application for doctors who could be as a family history of schizophrenia to see whether genes or upbringing causes schizophrenia, and see whether any future offspring could have schizophrenia.


What are the Disadvantages of Gottesman + Shield's (1996) Twin Study?

- As Gottesman only used twins, it is unsure that the findings of genes and upbringing having an affect on schizophrenia is generalisable to all of society.


Who are Adoptees?

Adoptees share no genetic material with their adopted families, but they have shared an environment throughout their upbringing. However, adoptees will share 50% of their genes with each biological parent, but not have lived with them for the majority of their life.


How do psychologists Experiment on Adoptees?

Groups of adoptees are studied and their behaviour is then correlated with their adopted families as well as their natural families.

If the behaviour of the adoptees shared more similarity with the adopted family we might assume that the behaviour in question was more likely to be the rest of the shared environment. But if the behaviour of the adoptees correlated more strongly with the biological family, and is not associated with the behaviour of the adoptive family, then it could be concluded that the behaviour being studied is caused by a biological component.


What is the General Evaluation against Adoption Studies?

1) It is virtually impossible to separate nature completely from nurture

2) It is rare for a child to be adopted by a family immediately from birth, so they may have lived with their biological family or foster care, which are confounding variables which affect the validity of findings.

3) Children who are being adopted tend to be placed with families that closely reflect the family background they came from. It may be unreliable to assume that any similarities between the adoptee + their biological family is the sole result of nature; because the similarity could well be due to similar life events they have experienced.

4) It is not easy to recruit a large + diverse group of MZ and DZ twins, making the generalsability of studies problematic


What is an Example of an Adoption Study?

Cadoret and Stewart (1991):

An adoption study of attention deficit/hyperactivity/aggression and their relationship to adult antisocial personality


What was the Aim of Cadoret and Stewart's (1991) study?

•To investigate the relationships among genetic background, environmental factors, and clinical outcome with various psychiatric / behavioural problems (attention deficit/hyperactivity, aggressivity, and adult antisocial personality (ASP)) amongst adoptees.


What was the Procedure of Cadoret and Stewart's (1991) study?

• A sample of 283 male adoptees were chosen to take part in a longitudinal study, the age of the participants was between 18-40.

• The adoptees were divided into 2 groups based on whether or not biological parents showed evidence (from adoption agency records) of psychiatric problems or behavioural disturbance.
Group 1 = Biological parent with psychiatric or behavioural problems
Group 2 = Biological parent with no psychiatric or behavioural problems

• Researchers carried out an evaluation of biological parents from agency records, and direct evaluation of adoptees and adoptive parents was also carried out.

• Relationships between genes and clinical outcome were examined. Relationships between environmental factors and clinical outcomes were also examined.


What were the Findings of Cadoret and Stewart's (1991) study?

• Adopted boys were at an increased risk of attention deficit/hyperactivity and aggression as children if they had a biological parent who had been convicted of a crime in adulthood.

• Boys were more likely to be aggressive or have a diagnosis of attention deficit/hyperactivity if there were psychiatric problems in members of the adoptive family.

• Environmental factors of socioeconomic status (SES), and psychiatric problems in adoptive family members correlated significantly with various clinical outcomes of aggressivity, attention deficit/hyperactivity, and ASP.


What are the Strengths of Cadoret and Stewart's (1991) study?

G: 283 ppts were used, which is a very large sample size.

I.V: A control group was used, where one group had parents with no psychiatric or behavioural problems

Practical Application


What are the Weaknesses of Cadoret and Stewart's (1991) study?

G: Only males were used, which isn't generalisable to the wider population as it also consists of women


Who were the Participants used in Cadoret and Stewart's (1991) study?

• A sample of 283 male adoptees were chosen to take part in a longitudinal study, the age of the participants was between 18-40.

• The adoptees were divided into 2 groups based on whether or not biological parents showed evidence (from adoption agency records) of psychiatric problems or behavioural disturbance.
Group 1 = Biological parent with psychiatric or behavioural problems
Group 2 = Biological parent with no psychiatric or behavioural problems


What do Correlations show us?

Correlations show us whether or not there is a relationship between two variables, or in other words, whether the 2 variables have an effect on each other.

Correlations do not tell you if one variable caused another.


How are co-variables in Correlations measured?

Co-variables can be measured directly by the researcher, or they are gathered from secondary data from other sources.


How are correlations plotted?

Correlations are plotted on a scatterplot or scattergraph. For each data point, 2 scores are plotted, for example number of genes a person shares, and a behavioural characteristic such as aggression. A place is marked on the graph for each participant, showing both scores.


What are the Types of Correlation that can be found?

A line of best fit is drawn across all of the scores of each participant. Three types of correlation may be found:

1. Positive correlation: there is a positive relationship between the 2 variables, therefore as one variable increases, so does the other variable.

2. Negative correlation: there is a negative relationship between the 2 variables, therefore as one variable increases, the other variable decreases

3. No correlation: there is no relationship between the two variables.


What are the Correlation Coefficients?

Studies rarely produce perfect correlations. In order to tell how strong the relationship is between two variables, the correlation coefficient is calculated. This is a number that falls between -1 and 1.

-1:Perfect negative correlation
0:No correlation
1: Perfect positive correlation

The closer to (+/-) 1 it is, the stronger the correlation


How does a Perfect Negative/Positive Correlation look like on a graph?

The correlation is perfect if the line of best fit covers every participant’s score.


What are the Strengths of Correlational Research?

It uses quantitative data, which is objective.

They involve a reliable procedure, of gathering numerative data and plotting it on a graph

Researchers can use information gathered by other psychologists for their study, making them practical and cost effective in comparison to primary data


What are the Weakness of Correlational Research?

If data relies upon self report, for example asking participants to self rate their aggression levels, then the correlation may be invalid due to subjectivity

Any secondary data used for the correlations may be cherry picked


What Inferential Statistic should you use for Correlations?

Spearman's Rho


What is Primary Data?

Information on mental health that researchers gather themselves. This can take the form of experiments, interviews, questionnaires etc

This might be concordance rates of twins when assessing the extent to which mental disorders are genetic.

Interviews and questionnaires that ask patients about their symptoms comparisons can be drawn regarding differences/similarities between particular groups

Primary data can be collected for a case study on a patient suffering from a particular mental disorder


What is an Example of using Primary Data to research mental health?

Rosenhan (1973) field study into mental health in institutions.


What are the Strengths of Primary Data?

More valid conclusions surrounding the reason for a particular mental disorder can be gathered if the experimenter collects their own data relevant to their aim.

The experimenter can ensure trustworthy data has been collected (in secondary data, some researchers have manipulated data by rounding statistics up or down), leading to valid conclusions.

Relevant to the aim of the study as variables will have been operationalised with the aims

Primary data will in mind e g. to measure how effective therapy or medication is. However secondary data might have been gathered for a different reason (e.g. government statistics on prescription rates in GP practices) s might not be focussed on the aim of the study


What are the Weaknesses of Primary Data?

Primary data is more expensive because money will be required for paying for brain scans on mental health patients, genes to be analysed, neurochemicals to be tested etc

Mental health patients may be unwilling to let researchers investigate about their mental illness or may not be in touch with reality to consent to be investigated.

It will take a long time to analyse primary data this may be through statistical analyses or subjective interpretation of interview/questionnaire scripts when describing their mental illness.


What is Secondary Data?

Information on mental health that is collected by someone other than the researcher for a different purpose. This can include previous studies research /medical records government statistics.

Peer-assessed/reviewed articles or public statistics.

Meta-analysis meta-analysis uses a statistical approach (inferential statistics) to combine the results from multiple studies related to mental disorders to gain more valid and generalizable conclusions. (see below)

Government statistics on how many people have been diagnosed with a mental disorder or institutionalised.


What is an Example of Secondary Data used to research mental health?

Gottesman and Shields (1966) Schizophrenia concordance in MZ and DZ twins from medical records showing there is a genetic cause


What are the Strengths of Secondary Data?

It is cheaper to use secondary data as there are already statistics on mental disorder rates and concordance rates of mental illnesses. Researchers can simply do a meta analysis with the data, which requires less funding. "

Using a meta analysis means comparisons regarding the conclusions on mental health research can be made, making conclusions more valid. "


What are the Weaknesses of Secondary Data?

Data may have been gathered for another aim (looking at a range of mental disorders), so may not fit the needs of the secondary investigation (if you are just looking at one disorder) "

The data could be outdated-with DSM changing, the population might be diagnosed differently today, meaning comparisons with studies regarding concordance rates may be outdated. "

Researchers aim to get a significant result-researchers often round statistics up or down to make results significant. Therefore if a researcher investigating mental illness uses secondary data, their conclusions regarding mental illness may be invalid

Lack of knowledge on the reliability or validity of original research means this can reduce the validity of the findings on mental disorders.

Potential of cherry-picking which is when researchers only publish studies that show positive results leading to a bias in the literature, for example only publishing studies that show antidepressants to be effective

Findings are produced after the research has taken place, decreasin validity.


What are Cross Cultural Studies?

Samples are taken from different cultural groups to draw comparisons about the similarities and differences between them in terms of how they experience mental disorders.

It looks at whether the experience of patients suffering from schizophrenia or other mental illnesses is the same in different cultural groups.


What is an Example of using Cross Cultural Studies to research mental health?

Mandy et al. (2014) chose to test the DSM-5 diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder to see if the diagnosis in the USA and UK would generalise to other cultures.


What are the Strengths of using Cross Cultural Studies?

Allows clinicians to understand how culture plays a role in the validity and reliability of diagnoses:

Can identify elements of abnormal behaviour that can be attributed to purely biological factors by identifying trends in mental disorders that are unaffected by cultural variation.

Aids in the understanding of cultural factors that should be taken into account when diagnosing and treating patients. This can reduce ethnocentrism (bias towards one culture, which in mental health, is usually the Western European or American culture)


What are the Weaknesses of using Cross Cultural Studies?

Conducting research across cultures is likely to create conflict between the cultural values of some of the participants and those of the researcher


What is a Meta Analysis?

Involves looking at secondary data from multiple studies and drawing the findings together to make overall conclusions.

Conducted when there is a large amount of psychological research where firm conclusion on mental disorders or treatments cannot be drawn without comparing the research or where findings may be inconsistent.

A large amount of information gathered from a large overall sample can be easily considered.

Meta-analysis of research looking at the effectiveness of CBT will focus its analysis on the size of the effect of CBT found by ALL of the research gathered.


What is an Example of using a Meta Analysis to research mental health?

Stafford et al. (2015) used it to look at treatments of psychosis and schizophrenia in children, adolescents and young adults by using studies that compared any drug, psychological or combined treatment for psychosis or schizophrenia that looked at children, adolescents or young adults.
In total, 27 trials were used which had 3,067 participants.


What are the Strengths of using a Meta Analysis?

Conclusions regarding treatment and mental disorders can be drawn from a vast array of different areas and a huge overall sample

Time and cost-effective due to the fact that data already exists and must only be combined and analysed using statistical analyses

No ethical concerns as the researchers do not have direct contact with the patients /participants.


What are the Weaknesses of using Meta Analysis?

Much like secondary data, the research has not had direct involvement so issues in reliability andlor validity are unknown and may cause inaccurate conclusions on mental health to be drawn.

Publication bias cherry picking may impact validity researchers only publish studies that show positive results leading to a bias in the literature, for example only publishing studies that show antidepressants to be effective.

A way of finding out trends about a mental health issue and any relationships that might exist.

Research method, procedure, sampling and decision-making are likely to differ between studies. This makes analysis difficult and perhaps in accurate.


What are Longitudinal Studies?

Takes place over a long period of time for example a group of people with a mental disorder might be tracked over many years.

Often compares a single sample group of people with a mental illness with their own performance over time, allowing for time- based changes to be seen. Clinicians may be interested in monitoring changes in symptoms in a patient group undergoing treatment

Allows the psychologist to see how effective the treatment is over time.

Includes questionnaires and observations to patients taken at intervals over many years.


What is an Example of using Longitudinal Studies to research mental health?

Hankn et al. (1998) carried out a ten-year longitudinal study looking at gender differences in how depression emerges in young people from pre-adolescence to young adulthood, using structured interviews which they administered five times over ten years.


What are the Strengths of using Longitudinal Studies?

Allows clinician to see if treatments have the ability to significantly improve a patient's quality of life in the long term.

Only way to reliably measure the effect of time on the behaviour or mental illness.

A good way of finding out how development of mental illnesses can occur.


What are the Weaknesses of Longitudinal Studies?

Expensive and time consuming due to needing to gather data repeatedly, track patients over many years and keep in communication in between interviews etc

Even as have very different symptoms and experiences even if suffering from the same illness, there is no difficulty i making comparisons between different people that could be affected by individual differences.

Patients may drop out, die, lose contact, making the final outcome less valid.

Ethical considerations: following people for a long period of time may be intrusive especially those suffering from mental disorders


What are Cross Sectional Studies?

This is a quick snap-shot of a group of people suffering from a mental disorder where a sample is taken and tested and conclusions are drawn for the target population.

Patients might be tested using methods such as interviews, questionnaires, tests of cognitive functioning, brain scans, blood tests and other methods

For example, researchers might be interested to know about the experience of people with schizophrenia at different ages, and so take a large sample of participants suffering from schizophrenia of various ages (rather than conducting a longitudinal study over many years)


What is an Example of using Cross Sectional Studies to research mental health?

Wijesundera et al. (2014) looked at tobacco use and antipsychotic medication in out-patients with schizophrenia in one hospital in Sri Lanka, using systematic sampling (every third patient diagnosed with schizophrenia was chosen).


What are the Advantages of Cross Sectional Studies?

Data can be collect much more quickly and therefore acted upon allowing for more immediate benefits for those suffering from mental disorders

Results on symptoms and the efficacy of treatments are more valid as they are reported at the time rather than years later


What are the Disadvantages of Cross Sectional Studies?

Individual differences are likely to have an effect on the results due to the fact that comparisons are made between different people

Cohort effects can be an issue whereby the results of results might be due to being raised in a certain time and place, for example those affected by war, famine, recession or other socio-economic factors.

When researching mental health, not all groups would have been exposed to the same cultures and such which means they cannot be comparable because they were exposed to different environments. For example when studying anorexia, groups are not comparable as they have been influenced by different cultures and social environments


What are Case Studies?

Case studies investigate detail about a mental health rather than cause and effect relationships

Individuals / small groups are studied, they will have a particular mental disorder, or a unique trait or experience connected to the disorder.

Researchers use a range of methods in case studies, for example interviews, questionnaires, observations. These might be given to those suffering from a mental disorder and their families.

Researchers triangulate data from different methods they draw them together and form overall conclusions about mental health.

Researchers use mainly qualitative data on mental health in case studies, but there can be some quantitative data too.


What is an Example of using Case Studies to research mental health?

One case study by Lavarenne et al. (2013) referred to a session known as the Thursday group a group of patients, most of whom suffer from schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, who meet every week. The purpose of the group is to support the patients by giving them some structure to help them cope with their illness, and encourage a sense of connection with others for a group who are generally quite isolated in everyday life. There are ten members of the group who are referred from various local out-patient and in-patient services in the local area. The group is currently made up of members who have been attending for between 3 weeks and 22 years. The sessions themselves are never recorded but, immediately afterwards, the group leaders note down key points about the patients' behaviour, expressions and comments. The case study reports on one specific session with six patients present, which was just before Christmas, where the group members were facing a break of more than seven days before their next meeting because of the holidays. The key theme the leaders noted in this session was that of 'fragile ego boundaries a breakdown in the line that people draw between the real and the unreal, or their own thoughts and those of other people. They suggested that the group may be reacting to the potential change in routine by having a break from the group for more than the usual one week.


What are the Strengths of Case Studies?

Valid as in depth and detailed information about the individuals and groups i gathered so a detailed understanding of mental health is obtained.

Case studies can be used to find out information about rate situations and individuals for example those with rare kinds of brain damage leading to mental health issues. These individuals often cannot be researched using experimental methods due to the fact that a large sample is not obtainable

Triangulation of data can be used to test for reliability through consistency between different methods, and this therefore helps establish whether findings about mental health are valid/accurate and credible trustworthy.


What are the Weaknesses of Case Studies?

Samples are not representative as they are small or atypical, therefore findings about mental health may not generalise to society

Researchers involved in case studies often get to know the individual (s) very well which might causes bias in the recorded data, and subjectivity in the interpretations and conclusions about mental health


What are Interviews?

Interviews involved verbal questioning of patients to gather information about mental health.

They can be structured with specific questions about the mental disorder, unstructured with no questions but a general theme that is explored with spontaneous questions, or semi structured which has a range of possible themes and questions that can be followed and adapted.

All interviews will have some standardisation in terms of the instructions, the aims of the interview and ethical issues.

The interviewer will also find out about personal data needed for the study such as gender, age, employment, marital status.

The responses can be recorded as an audio recording, video, or in written note form.


What is an Example of using Interviews to research mental health?

Research reported by Vallentine et al. (2010) used semi structured interviews to gather nformation from a patient group on their experiences as part of a psycho-educational group treatment programme. The patients were 42 males detained in Broadmoor high-security hospital, most of whom had received a diagnosis of schizophrenia or a similar disorder. They were part of a programme aimed at helping them understand and cope with their illness, and several measures were taken to assess the impact of this on their symptoms. The aim of the interviews was to understand their experience better, but also get information about how the group could be improved in the future Following the interviews, a content analysis was conducted on the data gathered to pick out key hemes in the responses. Four core themes were identified in the data: "what participants valued and why, wiat was heipful about the group, clinical implications' and 'what was difficult/unhelpful ome of the key findings were that patients valued knowing and understanding their illness, and he group sessions allowed them not only to understand their own symptoms, but also how other eople's experiences were similar Many aiso reported increased confidence in dealing with their iness, which made thern more positive about the future


What are the Strengths of Interviews?

Interviews allow patients to fully explain their point of view which helps researchers to understand the experiences of those suffering from mental disorders more clearly.

Unstructured interviews are useful for obtaining rich detailed qualitative data that therefore is considered to provide valid information about mental health.

Structured interviews are considered reliable due to the fact that they are highly standardised and therefore questions about mental health are exactly the same for all patients


What are the Weaknesses of Interviews?

Interviewer bias might occur where the researchers affect the findings on mental disorders due to the way they ask questions or other aspects of their appearance tone and personal beliefs. This reduces the validity of findings regarding mental health

Subjectivity can affect the analysis of answers to any open questions about mental disorders from interviews, as the researchers' personal judgements and experiences might shape the way they identify categories and themes within the qualitative data


What is Grounded Theory?

This is a method of developing theory from research evidence (inductive method), rather than testing existing theory using research evidence (deductive method) developed in Glaser and Strauss in the 1960s

This method is very useful in Clinical psychology to research the beliefs, opinions and experience of service users of the NHS or mental health professionals, since the themes in people's experience are only known once data is analysed

Grounded theory involves thematic analysis, in which first, "codes" and "categories" are identified in qualitative data. These codes are general at first, and become more specific as patterns emerge. Concepts are then grouped according to their similarities and differences, and the researcher takes notes on this process, allowing their thought processes to be followed (this is called "memo-ing") Once clear concepts become obvious, the researchers start to selectively code only the relevant data, and they will move to sampling that gathers more evidence to support what they have started to see (e.g. by to particular of people)

After the researcher has conducted the thematic analysis, they will attempt to create a theory or model that can explain the data. This might also involve looking at other literature and research. This is the part that makes the process "grounded theo (rather than just thematicanalysis)


What are the Advantages of using Grounded Theory?

Grounded theory means that evidence is integrated into the theory, therefore the theory should be an accurate explanation of the experiences of patients with mental health issues.


What are the Disadvantages of using Grounded Theory?

Grounded theory has issues with subjectivity and bias, since the researchers might selectively sample and use data that supports a theory about mental he lth that is emerging and unintentionally miss any vital evidence that challenges their emerging theory

Since the researchers opinions are used to identify the themes in the qualitative data, this process is also highly subjective and open to interpretation. There might be issues with reliability since it is possible that another person conducting the same research might come to different conclusions about mental health.

Grounded theory does not promote falsification as a means of testing the accuracy of theories regarding mental health (and falsification is considered to be an important feature of science). This is because the theory evolves from the data so by definition the research supports the theory.


What is an Independent Variable?

The variable that the experimenter changes


What is a dependent variable?

The variable that the experimenter measures/manipulates


What is meant by Operationalisation?

Making the IV and DV measurable


What is a null hypothesis?

The experimenter predicts the IV will have no effect on the DV/ no significant effect will be found


What is an alternative / experimental hypothesis?

The experimenter predicts the IV will have an effect on the DV/ a significant effect will be found


What is a one-tailed hypothesis?

The experimenter knows what type of effect will occur
(e.g. the results will be lower in category A)


What is a two-tailed hypothesis?

There will be an effect, but the experimenter doesn’t know what way it will go
(e.g. there will be an effect, but we don’t know if it will go higher or lower)


What are extraneous variables?

Factors related to the participants/environment the researcher must try to control so only the IV affects the DV


What are situational variables?

Factors related to the situation that affects participants/ the DV


What are confounding variables?

Factors other than the IV that affect the DV.


What are demand characteristics?

When participants are acting a certain way as they believe it will fit the experimenters’ aim/ what they think they want


What are experimenter effects?

How the experimenters may influence participants’ behaviour


What are order effects?

When the performance of participants gets better or worse over time. This is a problem as only the IV should affect the DV


What are practice effects?

As participants become more practiced at the task, they do better over time


What are fatigue effects?

Over time, participants become more bored + tired, and so do worse at the task


What is counterbalancing?

A systematic allocation of different people to different condition orders

Ppts will experience order effects for different conditions, cancelling them out.


What is meant by randomisation?

Allocating participants to different condition orders randomly.

(e.g. Some participants starting with semantically similar, then getting acoustically similar)


What are the Measures of Central Tendency?



What is meant by Central Tendency, and Dispersion?

Central Tendency - A descriptive statistic that calculate the average almost typical value in the dataset; that is the average score recorded

Dispersion - A descriptive statistic that calculates the spread of scores in the dataset. Measures of central tendency can be misleading without knowing the variation between the scores.


What is the Mode?

Calculates The most frequent score in a data set. The mode is the value that occurs most frequently


What is the Median?

The middle number within an ordered set of values


What is the Mean?

The average number within a set of values


What type of data is the mode, median and mean typically used for?

Mode - Nominal
Median - Ordinal
Mean - Interval/Ratio Level


What are the Strengths + Weaknesses of the Mode?

The mode is very easy to determine. It is not affected by extreme scores.

However it is not a useful measure of central tendency on small data sets, with frequently occurring same values


What are the Strengths + Weaknesses of the Median?

The median is not affected by extreme scores or a skewed distribution

However, it is less sensitive than the mean and is not useful on data sets that have a small number of values, as it may not represent the typically score


What are the Strengths + Weaknesses of the Mean?

It is the most powerful measure of central tendency because all of the scores in the data set are used in the calculation

It can be affected by extreme values, or when there is a skewed distribution


What are the Measures of Dispersion?

Standard Deviation


What are the Problems with the Range?

The range is affected by extreme scores, so it may not be a useful descriptive statistic if there are outliers in the dataset.

It also doesn't tell us if the scores or bunched around the mean all more equally distributed around the mean

If the dataset has extreme scores, it is often better to calculate the interquartile range


What are the Strengths + Weaknesses of the Standard Deviation?

The other advantage of SD is that along with mean it can be used to detect skewness.

The disadvantage of SD is that it is an inappropriate measure of dispersion for skewed data.


What does the Inferential Statistics Table look like?


Chi2, Sign, Chi2
MWU, Wilcoxon, Spearmans Rho


What does it mean by 'Ordinal +' ?

The levels of measurement are ranked in terms of sophistication- Nominal, then Ordinal, then Interval.

Ordinal + just means ordinal and interval data. The ones used for interval are no longer really used anymore, we just use the ordinal one for them.


What are the types of Graphical Representations of data?

Bar Graph
Pie Chart


What are Bar Graphs?

Bar graphs are used to present data from a categorical variable, such as the mean/medium/mode.

The categorical variable is placed on the x axis, and the height represents the value of that variable


What are Histograms?

The histogram is used to present the distribution of scores by illustrating the frequency of values in the dataset.

Unlike a bar chart, the bars on a histogram are joined to represent continuous data rather than discrete data.

The possible values are presented on the X axes and the height of each bar represents the frequency of the value


How would a Graph always be Labelled?

Relevant graph title
Relevant X axis title
Relevant Y axis title

Plot anything you want (say for practical), or is relevant to the question.


What does it mean to have Normal Distribution?

Normal distribution is characterised by symmetry around the midpoint. The mode median and mean should be aligned around the midpoint.

The tail ends should not meet the horizontal axis and we can estimate the percentage of people that fall under the curve at each standard deviation.


What is the Normal Distribution curve?


What does it mean to have a Negative Skew?

If the aptitude of the sample is unusually high, it told me that most people score highly. This leads to a negative skew, where many people score above the average/mean score


What does it mean to have a Positive Skew?

If the aptitude of the sample was low it will mean that most people will achieve a lower score below the mean. This will lead to a positive skew


What does a Positive and Negative Skew look like on a diagram?


What are the different levels of measurement?



What is Nominal Data?

Where data forms discrete categories. We know nothing about each value within the categories, we just know the category names.

E.g. 1 - hair can only be nominal data because it can only be described in its categories of blonde, brown, red or black.

E.g. 2 - if you divide the class into students under 1.85m tall and over 1.85m tall, and calculate the frequency in each category, you would have nominal data. You would not know the actual heights of each individual student, or their height in relation to one another


What is Ordinal Data?

A level of measurement where numbers are rankings rather than scores in themselves. It tells us about the position, but does not tell us what was actually achieved or the difference between each rank

E.g. a rank order for attractiveness on a scale of 1 to 5


What is Interval/Ratio Data?

Data where an individual score for each participant is gathered, and the score can be identified using a recognised scale with equal distances between each score

E.g. cm, seconds, minutes, kilograms, etc


How can you judge significance? What does p<0.x mean?

For example, p < 0.10

This means the probability of whether the results are due to chance is 10%


What are Type I errors?

A type one error occurs because the level of significance is too lenient

When the null hypothesis is rejected and alternative hypothesis is supported when the effect was not real


What are Type II errors?

A Type II error occurs because the level of significance is too stringent

When the alternative hypothesis is rejected and the null retained when there was actually a real effect


Which probability do psychologists normally use?