Flashcards in Research methods Deck (291)
Name 5 different methodologies in psychology?
What is data?
Information produced from a research study.
What are the two types of data that can be produced from a research study?
What is quantitative data?
Numerical data that can be statically analysed.
What is Qualitative data?
Written, richly detailed, descriptive accounts of what is being studied.
What are the strengths of quantitative data?
Quicker to gather and analyse
Can be presented in ways that are easily and quickly understandable
What are the downsides of quantitative data?
Data can be superficial
Lacking depth and detail of participants' subjective experience
What are advantages of qualitative data?
This allows participants to express themselves freely.
What are downsides of qualitative data?
Can be costly to collect
Difficult to analyse and suffer from problems of subjectivity.
Data gathered by psychologists can be of three types, what are these?
What is primary data?
Directly collected by the psychologist them self e.g. questionnaires, interviews, observations, experiments.
What is secondary data?
Data collected by others e.g. official statistics, the work of other psychologists, media producers such as film or documentary.
What is a meta-analysis?
Refers to when a psychologist draws together the findings of conclusions of many research studies into 1 single overall conclusion.
What are laboratory experiments?
Lab experiments are the most complex methodology in terms of their logic and design.
Any lab experiment begins with an aim.
What is an Aim?
An aim is a loose, general statement of what we intend to investigate.
E.g. does alcohol affect driving performance?
What does every experiment look at?
The cause-effect relationship between 2 variables.
What is a variable?
A variable is any factor/thing that can be measured and changes.
Intelligence, aggression, score on authoritarian personality scale, short term memory capacity etc.
What is Operationalising variables?
In psychological research we often want to find a way of expressing a variable numerically. This is referred to as operationalising a variable.
How can a variable be operationalised?
Intelligence can be operationalised through an IQ test.
Authoritarianism can be operationalised through a questionnaire
STM capacity can be operationalised through a task such as seeing how many digits a participant can remember at once.
What is the independent variable?
The indecent variable is the variable the experimenter changes, which is assumed to have a direct effect on the dependent variable.
What is the dependent variable?
The dependent variable is the variable the experiment measures in their experiment.
What do we do in experiments with independent variables and dependent variables?
In an experiment we usually test 2 conditions of independent variables against the dependent variable to see if there is a significant difference between how the 2 conditions of the independent variable affect the dependent variable.
Give an example of an experiment you could do to measure the cause-effect relationship between alcohol and driving performance?
To do this we could recruit 100 volunteer participants, randomly split them into 2 groups of 50, give the 1st group a measure of alcohol and then let them drive on a driving simulator which would produce a score of x/20 for driving performance.
The 2nd group would be given no alcohol and then allowed to drive on the simulator. Therefore, we would end up with 50 scores of x20 for those who had driven after consuming alcohol, and 50 scores of x/20 for those who had driven and consumed alcohol.
We could take the mean average score for each group and compare them. For example, we may find that those who had drunk alcohol scored a mean average of 10/20 whereas those who hadn't consumed alcohol scored an average of 16/20. What we have done in this experiment is to test 2 conditions of independent variables (alcohol and no alcohol) against the dependent variable (driving performance) to see if there is a significant difference between how the 2 conditions of IV affect the DV.
If we find a significant difference between how the 2 conditions of the IV affect the DV we have found evidence that there is a case effect relationship between alcohol consumption and poor driving performance.
FOR FLASHCARDS IN THIS SECTION IV=Independent variable AND DV=Dependent variable.
How do we formulate a hypotheses?
From the aim of our experiment we formulate our hypotheses.
What is a hypothesis?
A hypothesis is an exact, precise, testable prediction of what we expect to find in an experiment.
What is an experimental hypothesis?
A statement predicting that we will find a difference between how the 2 conditions of the IV affect the DV.
E.g. there will be a significant difference in driving performance between participants who have and have not consumed alcohol.
What are non-directional hypotheses?
This means that they do not make a prediction about the direction of results.
i.e. they don't predict that 1 of the groups is going to do better or worse than the other, they just predict that some kind of difference will occur.
What are directional hypotheses?
A hypothesis that does make a prediction about the direction of the results of the experiment.
What is an example of a directional experimental hypothesis?
Participants who have consumed alcohol will show significantly poorer driving performance than participants who have not consumed alcohol.
Why would an experimenter choose a directional (or 1-tailed) hypothesis?
If the experimenter strongly expects that the results will go in a certain direction or previous research indicates this he may choose to apply a direction hypothesis.
What is experimental design?
In any experiment we always have at least 2 groups of participants performing in at least 2 experimental conditions.
The ways in which we allocate participants is the experimental design.
What is the independent groups design?
An experimental design where participants are split into 2 groups, each group performing in 1 condition only.
What are the limitations of the independent groups design?
Participant variables, the fact that individual differences between participants may affect the DV without us being ware of it will reduce the validity of our results.
It requires more participants than a repeated measures design.
What are the strengths of the independent groups design?
An advantage of this design is that we will not encounter Order Effects.
How can you reduce the effect of participant variables affecting the validity of results?
By having larger samples in our experiments and by randomly allocating participants to the 2 conditions.
What is the repeated measures design?
An experimental design, where all participants perform in the 1st condition and then perform in the 2nd condition. Allowing us to directly compare participants' performance across the 2 conditions.
What are the limitations of the repeated measures design?
Order effects, when participants perform in condition 1 then condition 2 their performance in the 2nd condition may either improve due to practise or ego worse due to boredom or tiredness.
Participants may work out the aim of the study and exhibit demand characteristics.
What are Order effects?
Order effects can occur in a repeated measures design and refers to how the positioning of tasks influences the outcome e.g. practice effect (improved in task set due to practise) or boredom effect on second task.
What can be used to overcome the problem of order effects?
Counterbalancing, this involves 50% of the participants performing in condition 1 first, then condition 2, while the other 50% of participants perform in condition 2 first then condition 1.
This is thought to balance out the problem of order effects.
What are the advantages of the repeated measures design?
The advantage of this design is that there is no possibility of participant variables threatening the validity of the study.
What is the Matched Pairs Design?
An experimental design, where before the study begins we find participants who we can match with each other in terms of relevant characteristics such as age, gender, IQ etc.
The study then runs as an independent groups design.
What are the advantages of a matched pairs design?
This design overcomes the problem or order effects as participants don't complete both tasks and participant variables because each participant is matched with another participant in the other condition participant variables are less of a problem.
What are the disadvantages of the matched pairs design?
The disadvantage of this design is it may be costly, time consuming and difficult to find participants who match precisely.
What is validity?
Validity generally refers to the truthfulness and accuracy of our findings.
Why is validity important?
It is highly important because if experiments are not well designed and run, findings may be inaccurate and lead us to draw false conclusions.
What are the 2 types of validity?
Internal and External validity
What is internal validity?
This related to whether we are really measuring what we think we are measuring. In any experiment we are trying to isolate the effect of the IV on the DV. Therefore, we need to ensure that no other unwanted, uncontrolled extraneous variables are affecting the DV without our knowledge.
What happens if an extraneous variable affects our DV without our knowledge?
If an extraneous variable does affect our final results, we refer to it as a confounding (i.e. confusing) variable.
What is External validity?
This related to the extent that the findings of the study can be generalised beyond the research setting.
External validity can take 3 forms, what are they?
What is ecological validity?
This relates to the problem of whether studies conducted under highly controlled, artificial, lab situations can produced findings that can be generalised to everyday life , or whether behaviour shown by participants will be artificial.
E.g. in the drink-driving study, participants use a driving simulator which is not really similar to driving in a real car on a real road.
What is population validity?
If we only use small or biased/unrepresentative samples of participants, we may not be able to generalise findings to human behaviour in general.
What is temporal validity?
If studies were conducted a long time ago, it can be argued that their findings are not relevant to the present day.
E.g. Asch's conformity study was conducted in 1950's America and it has argued that the climate of America at this time was particularly conformist. Social change since the 50's has meant that people are now far more non-conformist and indepedent.
What is an Extraneous variable?
Extraneous variables are variables which the experimenter has failed to eliminate or control which are affecting the DV without us being aware of it. This threatens the validity of the study and the accuracy of our findings.
What can cause extraneous variables to occur if not controlled or in place?
(There is 7 so name 4)
Random allocation of participants to experimental conditions.
To avoid any bias on the behalf of the researcher, participants should always be divided into groups randomly.
Standardisation of instructions and procedures.
Participants should be given exactly the same instructions as each other and go through exactly the same procedure as each other to avoid differences in these acting as extraneous variables.
Participants' age, intelligence, personality and so on should be controlled across the different groups taking part.
The experimental setting and surrounding environment must be controlled. This may include the time of day, the temperature or noise effects.
Participants may improve or get bored performing in different conditions. This can be controlled by using independent groups, matched participants or counter balancing.
Demand Characteristics or Investigator Effects.
A control group is a group of participants from who act as a baseline from which differences in the experimental group are measured.
What are the 3 techniques used to check for and ensure validity?
What is Face validity?
Is the extent to which a test is subjectively viewed as being able to measure the concept it claims to measure.
In other words, a test can be said to have face validity if it "looks like" it is going to measure what it is supposed to measure.
What is content validity?
Content validity involves independent experts being asked to assess the validity, accuracy and appropriateness of instruments and tests used to measure a variable.
E.g. agreeing that a particular IQ test is a valid measure of intelligence.
What is concurrent validity?
Concurrent validity involves comparing the validity of a new test/measure against an established test/measure whose validity is already known and trusted.
For example the results of a new form of IQ test could be tested against an old, established IQ test. If scores correlate between the 2 tests they are said to have concurrent validity.
If a study is to be regarded as credible it must be?
How can the relationship between researcher and participants result in us not getting a valid picture of how people behave in the real world?
The fact that an experiment is a social situation means that behaviour may be affected by the presence of others (experimenter and other participants) and the expectations that participants have.
What are demand characteristics in experiments?
Demand characteristics refers to the fact that participants realise they are in an experiment and are being observed and tested. They may, therefore, alter their behaviour either to behave in ways they think the experimenter wants them to behave in or according to how they think they should behave.
Participants may try to work out the aim of experiment and modify their behaviour accordingly. They may also show 'social desirability bias'- giving response they believe are correct or moral, rather than answering honestly.
What are investigator effects in experiments?
Investigator effects refers to the fact the experimenter may consciously or unconsciously give hints or clues to research participants about how he wants or expects them to behave.
What does Reliability of a study refer to?
The issue of if we conduct the study again will the study produce similar results.
What are the two types of reliability?
What is inter-rater reliability?
This means that observers are all defining behaviours and recording observations in the same way as each other.
Thus, before the study begins observers should be trained through the use of, for example, a training video where they learn and are tested on how to define and categories behaviours in the same way as each other.
How can you assess inter-rater reliability?
By analysing the correlation between different observers score on the same behaviour. This will produce a correlation coefficient e.g. +0.96= a strong positive correlation (they are rating things in the same way as each other).
What is test-retest reliability?
Reliability of a test or questionnaire can be tested by asking a participant to complete the test/questionnaire, then complete it again 2 weeks and a month later. If answers are similar over a period of time, then the test/questionnaire can be said to have reliability.
How can you assess test-retest reliability?
By analysing the correlation between different test scores. This will produce a correlation coefficient e.g. +0.96 a strong positive correlation (high similarity between different test scores)
What are pilot studies?
A pilot study is a small scale version of the main study that is conducted in advance.
Why are pilot studies used?
The procedures of the study will run smoothly
That equipment/tests are functioning accurately
That participants understand instructions
That all extraneous variables are controlled.
What are the strengths of laboratory experiments?
High degree of control, laboratory experiments can control all varies in the experiment. The IV and DV can be precisely defined (operationalised) and measured to assess cause-effect relationships. For example the amount of caffeine given IV and reaction time DV. This leads to greater accuracy and objectivity
Replication, other researchers can easily repeat/replicate the experiment and check results for reliability. This is much easier in a controlled laboratory situation as opposed to a field experiment conducted in the real world.
What are the limitations of laboratory?
Lack of ecological validity
(This relates to the problem of whether studies conducted under highly controlled, artificial, lab situations can produced findings that can be generalised to everyday life , or whether behaviour shown by participants will be artificial)
( Demand characteristics refers to the fact that participants realise they are in an experiment and are being observed and tested. They may, therefore, alter their behaviour either to behave in ways they think the experimenter wants them to behave in or according to how they think they should behave.
Participants may try to work out the aim of experiment and modify their behaviour accordingly. They may also show 'social desirability bias'- giving response they believe are correct or moral, rather than answering honestly.
What is a field experiment?
A field experiment is an experiment that is carried out in the real world rather than under artificial laboratory conditions.
Participants are exposed to 'set-up' social situations to see how they respond.
The 'naive' participants are unaware they are taking part in an experiment.
What are the strengths of field experiments?
As the experiment is conducted in the real world levels of ecological validity are increased meaning that we can generalise behaviour to real-life behaviour.
As participants do not know they are involved in an experiment they will not show demand characteristics.
(WHEN DOING LONG QUESTION EXPLAIN DEMAND CHARACTERISTICS AND ECOLOGICAL VALIDITY)
What are the limitations of field experiments?
As the study is not conducted under tightly controlled laboratory conditions there is a greater chance that extraneous variables will influence the DV without the researcher being aware of this.
Field experiments often involve breaking ethical guidelines, e.g. failing to get participants consent, deceiving participants, failing to inform them of their right to withdraw or debriefing them etc.
What is a Quasi (natural) experiment?
This is a not a true experiment as the psychologist does not manipulate or 'set up' a situation to which participants are exposed to. Rather the psychologist observers a change in the natural world (the IV) and tries to assess whether it has an effect on another variable (the DV).
For example, psychologists have looked at the introduction of TV into remote communities (the 2 conditions of the IV are (i) no TV, and (ii) TV) and measured whether this had an effect on aggressiveness among children (DV).
What are the strengths of Quasi (natural) experiments?
As the experiment is conducted in the real world levels of ecological validity are increased.
As participants do not know they are involved in an experiment they will not show demand characteristics.
(EXPLAIN DEMAND CHARACTERISTICS AND ECOLOGICAL VALIDITY IN FULL IF LONG ANSWER QUESTION)
What are the limitations of quasi (natural) experiments?
As the study is not conducted under tightly controlled laboratory conditions there is a greater chance that extraneous variables will influence the DV without the researcher being aware of this.
Natural experiments may involve breaking ethical guidelines e.g. failing to get participants consent to be observed, failing to inform them of their right to withdraw or debriefing them.
What is a correlation study?
A correlation study involves measuring the relationship between 2 co-variables e.g. height and weight, stress and illness.
What are the three different possible correlations?
What is a positive correlation?
As 1 variable increases do does the other.
E.g. stress and illness
What is a negative correlation?
As 1 variable increases the other decreased.
E.g. age and dependency on mother.
What is a neutral correlation?
No relationship between the co-variables.
E.g. IQ and height.
What do you need to conduct a correlation study?
You need to operationalise the 2 co-variables and their relationship can then be plotted on a scattergram for each participant.
The general pattern revealed should indicate whether the relationship is positive or negative and how weak or strong the relationship is.
What is a correlation co-efficient?
A number somewhere between -1 and +1 which will indicate the exact direction and strength of relationship between the 2 co-variables.
What is the value of a strong negative correlation co-efficient?
What is the value of a medium negative correlation coefficient?
What is the value of a weak negative correlation coefficient?
Just below 0
What is the value of a weak positive correlation coefficient?
Just above 1
What is the value of a medium positive correlation coefficient?
What is the value of a strong positive correlation coefficient?
What are hypotheses for correlation studies?
Hypotheses for correlation studies predict there will be a 'relationship' between 2 co-variables.
Hypotheses can be direction or non-directional depending on whether or not past research indicates whether we should expect to find a relationship (either positive or negative).
What are the strengths of correlation studies?
Correlation studies allow us to assess the precise direction and strength of relationship between 2 co-variables using correlation coefficients.
Correlation studies are a valuable preliminary (initial research tool. They allow us to identify relationships between variables that we may then decide to investigate in more detail through experimentation.
What are the limitations of correlation studies?
Correlation studies only tell us that there is some kind of relationship between 2 variables, they do not tell us about cause-effect relationships, and thus they are a weaker methodology than lab experiments.
We may sometimes find a correlation between 2 variables by pure chance, even when no real relationship exists between the variables, thus they may be misleading.
For example, there is an almost perfect negative correlation between Nigerian iron exports and the UK birth rate between 1870 and 1920 even though these factors are completely unrelated.
What are observations?
Observations simply involve observing behaviour in the natural environment.
What are the four types of observations?
What is an Overt observation?
The psychologist's presence is made known to the group being studies. This may lead to demand characteristics and participants behaving in unnatural ways.
What is a Covert observation?
The psychologist's presence is hidden. Either he appears as a normal member of the public or his presence is concealed in some way (e.g. CCTV camera).
Although this overcomes the problem of demand characteristics, there are ethical issues to do with deception, lack of consent and invasion of privacy.
What is a participant observation?
The psychologist joins the group being studies. This may be covert or overt.
What is a non-participant observation?
The psychologist remains outside the group being studied. This may be covert or overt.
What are the two types of observations?
Naturalistic observation, natural observation in the natural environment
Structured observations, a more objective way in which quantify behaviours are observed in an artificial manipulated environment.
What is event sampling?
Recording the number of times a particular event occurs.
What is time sampling?
Recording what is occurring at certain time intervals e.g. every minute.
What are the two ways of recording behavioural categories?
If a number of different observers are conducting the same observation study, what do we need to ensure the observers have?
When would you use time sampling?
There are occasions in which it might be useful for the researcher to gather an insight into where there are behaviour trends that occur over particular time periods.
What are the strengths of covert observations?
There are high levels of ecological validity and no demand characteristics.
Participants are unaware that they are being observed and they are in a natural environment, thus we are observing behaviour as it naturally occurs.
What are the weaknesses of covert observations?
Ethical issues arise concerning invasion of privacy, lack of consent and lack of right to withdraw.
What are the strengths of participant observations?
The psychologist can question participants and get a much more in depth insight into the behaviours, beliefs and motivations of the group being studied. Thus, a much deeper, richer, descriptive picture of behaviour is produced.
What are the weaknesses of participant observations?
The researchers present might influence the participants' behaviour due to evaluation apprehension.
What are the strengths of overt observations?
It is possible to inform participants in advance and obtain informed consent.
What are the limitations of overt observations?
With overt observations participants may exhibit demand characteristics and act in socially-appropriate or otherwise unnatural ways.
What are the strengths of non-participant observations?
Investigator effects and evaluation apprehension are less likely as the researcher is not visible.
What are the limitations of non-participant observations?
Due to a lack of proximity the researcher might overlook or miss behaviours of interest
What are the strengths of natural observations?
High ecological validity as the researcher records naturally occurring behaviour in a natural environment, without any outside interference from the researcher.
What are the weaknesses of natural observations?
Cannot be replicated to check reliability, as the researcher is not in control of variables.
What are the strengths of controlled observations?
Can be replicated to check reliability, as the researcher is in control of variables and therefore can repeat the method as they wish.
What are the limitations of controlled observations?
Low ecological validity as the researcher records behaviours in an artificial (manipulated) environment, with potential outside interference from the researcher.
What does self-report mean?
The term self-report simply means that the participant is reporting on their own perception/view of themselves- either using a questionnaire or an interview.
What can be the problem with self-report methods such as questionnaire surveys and interviews?
Social desirability bias may be an issue in that if a participant knows their answers will be read/heard by someone else they may say what they think is socially acceptable/desirable rather than the truth.
Self report studies are also subjective in that the individuals perception of themselves may be quite different from how others view them.
What are the two types of self-report methods?
Questionnaire surveys and interviews
How can you combat socially desirability bias in self-report methods?
To combat this, questionnaires can be kept anonymous and confidential.
What are the two types of questionnaires?
What is a close ended questionnaire?
A close ended questionnaire is one which allow us to produce quantitative data e.g statistical statement such as 35% of participants agreed.
An example close ended question is:
I intended to vote for Donald Trump
So we can say e.g. 35% participants agreed.
What is an open ended questionnaire?
A opened questionnaire is one which produces lengthier, that are descriptive qualitative data.
E.g. Explain why you intend to vote for Donald Trump.
When constructing questionnaires what must the questions we ask be?
Clear, concise, non-ambiguous and easily understandable, and will be interpreted by all participants in the same way as each other.
What is a good way to test the reliability of a questionnaire?
Through test-retest reliability
What are the strengths of close-ended questionnaires?
Close-ended questionnaires are capable of providing large amounts of information from large amounts of people fairly cheaply and quickly.
Close-ended questions can be statistically analysed to allow us to make statements about the percentages of people who hold certain beliefs etc.
What are weaknesses of close-ended questionnaires?
They can suggest ideas that the respondent would not otherwise have.
Respondents with no opinion or no knowledge can and may answer anyway.
What are strengths of open-ended questions?
Open-ended questions allow us to gain an in depth insight in participants' personal opinions and the motives that underlie behaviours and beliefs.
What are weaknesses of open-ended questions?
Open-ended questions can be difficult to interpret and analyse as participants may give lengthy answers. This makes it hard to understand broad patterns and trends in participants' beliefs and behaviours.
What is one weaknesses of all types of questionnaires?
If socially sensitive questions are asked participants may give socially appropriate responses. E.g. if a questionnaire asks whether someone holds racist beliefs it is unlikely they will admit to this to a researcher. This can be overcome by making questionnaires anonymous and confidential.
What are reasons that some questionnaires may need to be anonymous and confidential?
To prevent socially desirability bias
To ensure the that socially sensitive questions are answered without fear of repercussions.
What are interviews?
Interviews can be conducted with individuals or groups either face to face or telephone/internet. The respondent can describe their response to questions in depth and in detail and say what they want to say rather than filling out pre-set answers.
What are the two types of interview questions?
What are structured interview questions?
A pre-set list of questions is asked.
What are unstructured interview questions?
The interview progresses as more of an on-going conversation between interviewer and interviewee..
What are the strengths of interviews?
Interviews provide richly detailed qualitative descriptions of participants' subjective (personal) understanding of their behaviour, beliefs and motivations.
With open-ended questions, interviewees may be able to suggest and shed light on further areas of research and interest relating to the topic they are being interviewed about.
Structured interviews allow all participants to be asked the same questions, making general patterns in answers easier to analyse and keep the interview limited to the subject matter the interviewer wants to cover.
What are the limitations of interviews?
If socially sensitive questions are asked participants may give socially-appropriate responses. E.g if an interviewer asks whether someone holds racist beliefs it is unlikely they will admit to this.
Open-ended questions can be difficult to interpret and analyse as participants may give lengthy, personal answers. This makes it harder to analyse broad patterns and trends in participants' beliefs and behaviours.
What are case studies?
These are longitudinal studies (studies conducted over a long period of time) which focus in great detail or an individual or a small group.
Where are case studies mainly used?
They are often used in the field psychopathology and child development.
What methods are used generally in case studies?
They include a variety of methods such as unstructured interviews and observations.
What are the strengths of case studies?
Case studies provide richly detailed descriptions of participants' subjective (personal) understanding of their behaviour, beliefs and motivations.
Case Studies usually follow the progress and changes an individual goes through over time.
What are the weaknesses of case studies?
Case studies are associated with problems of subjectivity and personal interpretation on the behalf of the psychologist.
E.g. The psychologist may be biased in their viewpoint and interpretation of events and behaviour.
The fact they are only carried out on one individual or one group means that case studies suffer a lack of reliability and generalisability.
What is content analysis?
This is a technique where researchers identify themes or behavioural categories and count how many times they occur. It is often used with written or visual material such as diaries, magazines, newspapers, films etc.
A coding system of categories will be developed whereby we count certain times a particular piece of content arises.
For example, we might ask mothers with children who have just started primary school to keep a diary of their child's response to questions then count how many times categories, questions such as 'child crying', 'child showing clingy behaviour', ' child showing anger to mother' occur.
What are the strengths of content analysis?
It allows qualitative data (writing or visual material) to be put into a qualitative form (counting behaviours), so that statistical analysis can take place and data can be represented in tables or graphs.
What are the limitations of content analysis?
Constructing a coding system involves the risk of an investigator imposing their own meaning on the data. The investigator might choose coding categories they think are important and overlook categories which actually are important. Thus, there may be problems of subjectivity and personal bias with content analysis.
Why is selecting participants important when conducting research?
It is important to select participants carefully when conducting research to ensure the study has population validity.
What does population mean?
The term population refers to all the people within a certain category whom we wish to study.
E.g. all schizophrenics, all 5-11 year olds, all pregnant women etc.
Once we have found the population how do we select participants?
From this population we draw a smaller sample.
Ideally, we want our sample to be fairly large and to be representative of the population as a whole, thus it must have a good cross-section in terms of age, gender, ethnicity etc.
What type of sample of participants should we have in order to be able to generalise our findings to the population?
In order to generalise our findings to the population as a whole, the sample needs to be a large, representative, random sample.
Name 5 different sampling methods.
What is random sampling?
The sample is randomly selected from the population with every member of the target group having an equal chance of being selected for the sample.
E.g. By assigning a number to each member, and then selecting from the pool by using a random number generator.
What are the disadvantages of random sampling?
Although this method is truly random it does not guarantee a representative sample.
What is Volunteer (self-selecting) sampling?
Participants respond to an advert placed by the researcher e.g. Milgram's obedience study.
What are the advantages of volunteer sampling?
Volunteers are likely to make motivated and co-operative participants in research
What are the disadvantages of volunteer sampling?
This method is not random and doesn't guarantee a representative sample as only certain types of people are likely to volunteer.
What is Opportunity sampling?
Potential participants are approached by the researcher and asked whether they would be willing to take part in a study.
What are the advantages of Opportunity sampling?
Participants are likely to make motivated and cop-operative participants in research
Inexpensive to carry out.
What are the disadvantages of opportunity sampling?
This method is not random and doesn't guarantee a representative sample as only certain types of people are likely to agree to take part.
What is systematic sampling?
A systematic method is chosen for selecting from a target group, e.g. every fourth person in a list could be used in a sample.
What are the strengths of systematic sampling?
It is unbiased and uses an objective method.
What are the weaknesses of systematic sampling?
Not random or guaranteed to be representative.
Takes time and effort as a complete list of the population is required.
What is stratified sampling?
The population is assessed for what proportion of particular characteristics it contains (e.g. age, gender, ethnicity, social class, etc.) and representative numbers of participants possessing these characteristics are randomly sampled (the method) to form the sample.
Stratify the following population, if we wanted a sample of 100 students,
A school population of 1000 students has 40% boys and 60% girls, and 50% of all students are below the age of 16 and 50% are 16+
40 Boys and 60 girls
Then sub-divide into age.
20 boys below the age of 16
20 boys above the age of 16
30 girls below the age of 16
30 girls above the age of 16
What are the strengths of stratified sampling?
it is truly representative and random.
It avoids the problem of misrepresentation sometimes caused by purely random sampling.
What are the weaknesses of stratified sampling?
It takes more time and resources to plan.
Care must be taken to ensure each key characteristic present in the population is selected across strata, otherwise this will design a biased sample.
Who publishes ethical guidelines which psychologists are supposed to follow eon planning and conducting research?
The British Psychological Society. (BPS)
What are the five main points of the ethical guidelines for psychological studies?
Right to withdraw
Protection from physical and psychological harm
What are the ethical guidelines to do with deception in psychological studies?
Participants should not be deceived (lied to) or involved in experiments unless they have agreed to take part.
What is a way of dealing with deception in psychological studies?
One way of dealing with this is to make sure that the participant is told precisely what will happen in the experiment before requesting that he or she give voluntary informed consent to take part.
Why is it difficult to get fully informed consent in studies?
In reality, many experiments require some level of deception to avoid demand characteristics, hence it is often difficult tor achieve fully informed consent as the psychologist cannot tell the participants the aim or the validity of the study is limited.
What is the difference between consent and informed consent in psychological studies?
Consent is when you agree to take part in the study, informed consent is when participants know the true aim of the study and consent to take part of it.
What are ways of dealing with deception and lack of informed consent in psychological studies?
Prior general consent
What is debriefing as a way of dealing with deception and lack of informed consent in psychological studies?
At the end of the experiment participants should be informed about the aims, findings and conclusions of the investigation and the researcher should take steps to reduce any distress that may been caused by the experiment. This may be in the form of counselling.
What is presumptive consent as a way of dealing with deception and lack of informed consent in psychological studies?
The general public are surveyed and asked whether they believe that breaking ethical guidelines in a particular study is justified or not. This solution is often used in relation to experiments where participants cannot be asked fo consent as the study requires them to remain naive e.g. field experiments.
What is prior general consent as a way of dealing with deception and lack of informed consent in psychological studies?
Prior general consent is when people volunteer to take part in research at some point in the future. Thus, they serve as a pool of participants who may used at some point in the future.
What is retrospective consent as a way of dealing with deception and lack of informed consent in psychological studies?
Retrospective consent involves asking participants for consent after they have participated in the study.
What is parent/guardian consent as a way of dealing with deception and lack of informed consent in psychological studies?
In the case of young children or the mentally ill, parents or guardians can provide consent if they judge a procedure is in the client's best interests, e.g. whether a child with ADD should be prescribed a drug. Approval could also be obtained after consulting professional colleagues e.g. psychiatrists debating whether a depressed patient would benefit from a drug treatment.
What is the right to withdraw at an ethical guideline for psychological studies?
Participants should have the right to withdraw from an experiment at any time. They should be informed of this right in the standard briefing instructions given to them before the experiment commences. They have the right to insist that any data they have provided during the experiment should be destroyed.
What is protection from physical and psychological harm as an ethical guideline for psychological studies?
Participants should be exposed to no more risk than they would encounter in their normal lives. They should also be protected from any kind of psychological harm such as stress, embarrassment or damage to their self-esteem. If participants are showing signs of distress they should be reminded of their right to withdraw.
What is confidentiality as an ethical guideline for psychological studies?
Information about participants' identifies remain anonymous and confidential.
For example Frued, gave his client pseudonyms e.g. Little Hans.
If asked to write a consent form to get full marks you must?
Provide sufficient information on both ethical and methodological issues for participants to make an informed decision. You must also write as it would be read out to participants.
If you have to write a consent form what should it contain?
Need to know them all there is at least 9
The purpose of the study
The length of time required of the participants
Details of any parts of the study that participants might find uncomfortable.
Details about what will be required of them, and what they will have to do.
There is no pressure to take part in the study at all
Right to withdraw (They can leave at any time, without giving a reason, keep any money they have been paid, and any data collected on them will be destroyed.
Reassurance about protection from harm.
Reassurance about confidentiality of the data.
They should feel free to ask the researcher any questions at any time.
They will receive a full debrief at the end of the programme.
What and how do you produce a standardised instruction form for participants?
You need to use the details in the description of the study to write an appropriate set of instructions for participants.
The instructions should be clear, concise, use formal language and be as straightforward as possible.
What must a standardised instruction form for participants contain?
Explain the procedures of this study relevant to participants.
Include a check of understanding of instructions.
What is Peer review?
Peer review is the process by which psychological research papers are subjected to Independent scrutiny by other psychologists working in a similar field who consider the research in terms of its validity and significance. Such people are generally unpaid. Peer review happens before research is published.
Why is Peer review important part of the process of publishing psychological studies?
Peer review is an I'm portent part of this process because it provides a way of checking the validity of the research, making a judgement about the creditability of the research, and assessing the quality and appropriateness of the design and methodology. It is a means of preventing incorrect data entering the public domain. This is important to ensure that any funding is being spent correctly.
What does the peer review process help ensure?
That any research paper published in a well-respected journal can be taken seriously by fellow researchers and the public.
What do the peers actually do in peer review for psychological studies?
Peers are in the position to judge the importance of the research in a wider context. They can also assess how original the work is and whether it refers to relevant research by other psychologists. They can then make a recommendation as to whether the research paper should be published in its original form, rejected or revised in some way.
What is Science?
Science is the unbiased observation and measurement of the natural world. It is the only tool humanity has developed for establishing factual truths about the world.
What is the scientific method?
Systematic procedure of observing and measuring phenomena to answer questions about it, involves interaction between theories, hypotheses and research.
What are major features of the scientific method?
What is Empiricism?
A feature of the scientific method, empiricism is information gained through direct observation or experiment on physically observable and measurable phenomena rather than by reasoned argument, unfounded beliefs, faith or superstition.
What is a phenomenon?
Is a general result that has been observed reliably in systematical empirical research.
What is Objectivity?
A feature of the scientific method, objectivity says that Scientists should strive to be unbiased and non-interpretative in their observations and measurements. Prior expectations and preconceptions should be put aside.
What is subjective?
Subjective can be thought as biased, personal and interpretive.
What is Replicability?
A feature of the scientific method, replicability is a way to demonstrate the validity of any observation or experiment by repeating it.
If the outcomes the same, this confirms the truth of the original results, especially if the observations have been made by a different person. In order to achieve such replication it is important for scientists to record their methods carefully so that the same procedures can before followed in the future.
What is Control?
A feature of the scientific method, Scientists seek to demonstrate casual relationships between variables, in order for this to be a 'fair test' all other conditions must be kept the same i.e. controlled. This allows us to establish the cause-effect relationships which underlie the laws of nature.
What is theory construction?
A feature of the scientific method, one aim of science is to record facts, but an additional aim is to use these facts to construct theories to help us understand and predict the natural world. A theory is a collection of general principles that explain observations and facts. Theories should be based on a sound body of valid and reliable scientific studies.
What is Hypothesis testing?
A feature of the scientific method, a good theory must be able to generate testable hypotheses. Popper developed the concept of falsification, the only way to really prove a theory correct is to disprove it, it it can't be disproved it must be correct.
Are psychological investigations written up/reported in the same way by all psychologists?
.What is an Abstract?
An abstract is as summary of the study covering the aims/hypothesis, method/producers, results and conclusions.
What is Introduction/Aim/Hypotheses?
What the researchers intend to investigate. This often includes a review of previous research (theories and studies), explaining why the researchers intend to conduct this particular study. The researchers may state their research predictions and or a hypothesis or hypotheses.
What is a method?
A detailed description of what the researchers did, providing enough information for replication of the study.
What is included in a method?
Must know all
Information about the participants (how they were selected, how many were used, and the experimental design)
The independent and dependent variables
The testing environment
Procedures used to collect data
Any instructions given to participants before (the brief) and afterwards (the debrief).
How do you get full marks when writing the method section of a psychological report?
For full marks, the method section should be written clearly, succinctly and in such a way that the study would be replicable. It should be set out in a conventional reporting style, possibly under appropriate headings. The important factor here is whether the study could be replicated.
What is the Results section of a psychological report?
This section contains statistical data including descriptive statistics (tables, averages and graphs) and inferential statistics.
What are inferential statistics?
The use of statistical tests to determine how significant the results are.
If you are asked to outline and discuss the results of a study what should you write down?
Write the results out clearly in words e.g 'the mean number of objects remembered for participants listening to music was seven, but for those not listening to music was nine'
Refer to the standard deviation or range and explain what they mean e.g. 'those listening to music had a higher standard deviation then those not listening to music, meaning that their scores varied more around the mean. So there was more individual differences in participants' memories when listentnicng to music
Say whether the results were significant and how you know this (refer to OV,CV and levels of significance), and what it means if they were.
Discuss issues of validity
Discuss issues of reliability.
What is the discussion section of a psychological report?
The researchers offer explanations of the behaviours they observed and might also consider the implications of the results (how it can be applied to the real world) and make suggestions for future work.
The researchers must consider their work critically, and evaluate it in terms of validity, reliability, and short-comings or criticisms etc.
Discuss how their research relates to the background research discussed in their introduction.
What is the reference section of a psychological report?
The full details of any journal articles or books that are mentioned in the introduction.
What are the 6 sections of a psychological report in order?
How much do Psychology university receive annually in grants?
In what professions and fields are psychological research used?
In diverse fields such as medicine, psychiatry, therapy, social work, childcare, advertising, marketing, business, forensic in crime, the army, education, etc.
How can psychological research potentially benefit the economy?
Psychology indirectly contributes to the economy, for example, in the UK, 40% of people claiming in capacity benefits are doing so due to anxiety or depression, therefore, psychotherapy may assist the long-term unemployed in returning to work which causes increased tax revenue.
Psychology may also assist in finding solutions to wider social problems relating to crime, aggression, child abuse etc. This could contribute to the economy by reducing levels of crime (theft and damage to properties), reducing prison population (paid for by the tax-payer) and increased taxation (people working rather than being in prison).
What does measures of central tendency mean?
This refers to the 3 forms of average- mean, median and mode- which tell us about the average within a set of data.
What are the advantages of the mean?
An advantage of the mean is that it is the truest form of average because it uses all scores within a set of data.
What are the disadvantages of using the mean?
a disadvantage is that the mean may be artificially inflated or deflated by extreme scores (outliers) in a set of data (in such a case we can say that the data is skewed).
What are the advantages of the median?
An advantage of the median is that it is not affected by extreme scores.
What is a disadvantage of the median?
It does not take into account the precise value of each observation and hence does not use all information available in the data.
What are advantages of the mode?
An advantage of the mod is that it is not affected by extreme scores (outliers).
What are the disadvantages of the mode?
Is that the mode can be altered a lot by small changes in a set of data.
Also, set of scores may have no mode value.
What are measures of dispersion?
These tell us about the spread/dispersion/variability within a set of scores.
What are the two measures of dispersion?
The standard deviation
What is the range?
ThIs simply tells us about the range of scores in a set of data.
The range is calculated by taking the highest score and subtracting the lowest score.
What is the standard deviation?
Standard deviation is a measure of dispersion that shows the spread of scores around the mean. The greater the standard deviation the great the spread of scores around the mean.
Why is standard deviation a stronger measure of dispersion than the range?
The SD is a measure of dispersion that is less easily distorted by a single extreme score.
The SD takes account of the distance of all scores from the mean.
The SD does not just measure the distance between the highest score and the lowest score.
What are four different ways you can display quantitative data?
What are graphs?
Graphs are used to display continuous scores (ordinal data).
For example, to record participants scores in a memory (x/20)
What are histograms?
They are graphs converted to show interval scores
MAKE SURE YOU KNOW HOW TO DRAW A GRAPH, HISTOGRAM, SCATTERGRAPH AND BAR CHARTS.
What are examples of characteristics that follow a normal distribution?
Height, weight, shoe size.
Explain how IQ scores show a 'normal' distribution?
IQ scores show a 'normal' distribution as most scores cluster around the mean average and as scores decrease or increase in either direction, fewer and fewer people possess these high or low scores.
68% of the population have an IQ between 85 and 115, only 2% of the population have an IQ between 130 and 145.
What does 'skewed' mean?
Distorted in one direction of another.
Can normal distribution curves be skewed?
Yes, positively and negatively skewed.
What is an example of a positively skewed normal distribution?
Salary in the UK, a small percentage of the population earn a very large salary.
What is an example of a negatively skewed normal distribution?
The IQs of children with Downs Syndrome would be negatively skewed, as there is lots with a low IQ, few with a high IQ.
What does a negative skewed distribution look like?
Starts of low and then rises and falls
What does a positive skewed distribution look like?
Instantly increases and then gradually falls
What do experiments and correlation studies involve assessing whether?
If there is a significant difference between how the 2 conditions of the IV affect the DV
If there is a significant correlation between 2 co-variables.
What does the term 'significant' refer to in the context of significant difference and significant correlation in experiments?
Significant can be thought of as referring to whether there is a real, interesting and importance difference or correlation between variables.
What is statistical analysis?
Statistical analysis is a tool to assess whether we have or have no found a significant difference or correlation in a study.
How do you decide which statical test is appropriate to analyse the data?
Whether the study is an experiment or a correlation study
Whether the study's design is an independent groups design or a repeated measures design
Whether data is at the ordinal, nominal or ratio level.
If you are conducting an independent groups design experiment with nominal data which statistical test should you use?
Chi-squared test (X^2)
If you are conducting an independent groups design experiment with ordinal data which statistical test should you use?
Mann-Whitney U Test
If you are conducting an independent groups design experiment with interval data which statistical test should you use?
Unrelated T Test
If you are conducting a repeated measures design experiment with nominal data which statistical test should you use?
If you are conducting a repeated measures design experiment with ordinal data which statistical test should you use?
If you are conducting a repeated measures design experiment with interval data which statistical test should you use?
Related T test
If you are conducting a correlation study with ordinal data which statistical test should you use?
Spearman's rank correlation co-efficient test
If you are conducting a correlation study with interval data which statistical test should you use?
Pearsons product moment correlation
What are the three types of quantitative data?
What is ordinal data?
Data which can be ranked from low to high.
E.g. scores in an IQ test, memory test or personality questionnaire
What is nominal data?
Data in the form of categories of information.
E.g. number of students studying particular participants in college.
What is interval data?
Ordinal data which has either been separated into intervals
E.g. 0-5, 6-10, 11-15, 16-20
What are the basic steps (generalised) that all statistical tests follow when trying to establish whether we have or haven't found significant results?
Data from an experiment or correlation study is processed through a statical/mathematical formulae. This will eventually produce one single number which 'describes' the data as a whole, this is referred to as the observed value. (OV)
The OV is then compared to a critical value (CV). This is a number found by cross-referencing certain information on a table of statistical significance.
What are the two different ways we test to see if we have found a significant difference/correlation?
In some tests if the observed value > critical value then the statistics test shows that we have a significant difference/correlation and can, therefore, accept the experimental hypothesis. If the OV < CV we reject the experimental hypothesis.
In other tests the reverse is true e.g. If OV < CV we reject the experimental hypothesis.
In the exam you will be told which of the 2 rules above applies to the statistics test concerned.
Why should psychologists never say that their findings are 100% accurate and true?
As there is always a probability that although results seem to indicate particular findings they are incorrect and findings have occurred by chance.
What is the concept of level of significance?
The concept of level of significance is used to indicate to readers to what percentage probability we can say that a particular set of findings are accurate and true, and to what extent results may have simply occurred due to chance.
For most psychological research what significance level is used?
P < 0.05
What does a significance level of P < 0.05 mean?
This indicates a 95% probability that results are accurate and true and a < 5% that results occurred due to chance.
When are high levels of significance set?
High levels of significance can be set went the accuracy of research findings is more important, for example in trials of a new drug.
What do findings that are significant at P < 0.01 mean?
This means that researchers are 99% confident results are true and there is only a 1% probability they occurred due to chance.
If the level of statistical significance is 0.1 what is the probability that results occurred due to chance?
It it better to have a higher or smaller level of statistical significance?
E.g. level of statistical significance 0.1 means that probability of results occurred due to chance is 10%.
Whereas a level of statistical significance of 0.001 means that the probability that results occurred due to chance is 0.1%.
What are the two types of errors?
Type 1 errors
Type 2 erros
What are type 1 errors?
Calling something true when it's false.
When a statistics test indicates that the experimental hypothesis should be accepted, but in fact, the results are due to chance random factors. If the level of significance is set at 5% there will always be a 1/20 chance of a type 1 error.
The higher the level of significance the greater the chance that a type 1 error will occur.
What are type 2 errors?
Calling something false when it's true.
When a statistics test indicates that the experimental hypothesis should be rejected but in fact, the results are significant.
The lower the level of significance the greater the chance that a type 2 error will occur.
What is the only statistics test that you need to know how to fully conduct?
The sign test
When is the sign test used?
The sign test are used in experiments with a repeated measures design and nominal data.
What does a Sign test table look like?
LOOK UP IMAGE or 802 in research methods.
How many steps are there to in a sign test?
What is the first step of a sign test?
Subtract the score for the experimental condition from the control condition. If the result is negative add a minus sign, if it's positive add a + sign; if there's no difference add a 0 sign.
What is the 2nd step of a sign test?
Count the number of times the less frequent sign occurs.
Call this value S
What is the 3rd step of a sign test?
Count the total number of + and - signs.
Call this value N
What is the 4th step of a sign test?
Decide whether a 1 or 2 tailed hypothesis was used.
What is the 5th step of a sign test?
Consult the table of statistical significance for the Sign Test fo find the critical value.
What is the 6th step of a sign test?
Look down the left hand column marked N until you get to the total number of + and - signs.
What is the 7th step of a sign test?
Cross reference N with he columns for either 1 or 2 tailed test and the level of significance value of 0.05.
Call this value the critical value.
What is the 8th step of a sign test?
If the critical value is greater or equal to S (the least frequent sign) then we have found a significant difference.
What are references?
The full details of any journal articles or books that are mentioned in the introduction of a psychological report.
How are references written?
Always written in the following format: surname, initials, year, title, where it was published, publisher.
For example, a book written by Sandra L Bem in 1993 titled 'The lenses of gender: transforming the debate on sexual equality' published in Newhaven by Yale University Press would be referenced:
Bem, S.L. 1993. The Lenses of gender: transforming the debate on sexual equality. New Haven. Yale University Press.
What is a paradigm?
A paradigm refers to the accepted and approved of ways of thinking, understanding, theorising and researching that exist and are shared within any one particular science.
For example, biologists all tend to work within a paradigm where they accept basic concepts (evolution and Darwinian theory) as true and agree on how biology should be studied (scientific experimentation).
Why is Psychology described as a pre-paradigmatic and thus what is pre-paradigmatic?
Psychology is often described as pre-paradigmatic as there is no complete, shared agreement between psychologists about how they should understand and explain human behaviour or what the best methods to study behaviour are.
Psychology encompasses a number of conflicting approaches e.g. (behaviourism, biological, cognitive etc) which disagree over what the major influences are on behaviour and what methods should be employed to study behaviour.
What is a paradigm shift?
A paradigm shift is something that occurs when there is a fundamental change in how scientists in a particular field understand and research subject matter due to evidence proving that the previous paradigm was inadequate/incorrect in some way.
For example, in the field of physics, nEWTON'S LAWS WERE THE DOMINANT PARADIGM FROM THE 18TH to the early 20th century before the work of Einstein resulted in a paradigm shift in the way in which physicists understood the physical laws of the natural world.
What is thematic analysis?
Thematic analysis involves analysing quantitative research techniques (interviews, opened questions e.g.) in terms of themes which occur in the content of responses given by participants.
We can count these themes to produce quantitative data.
For example, if we interviewed adults who had experiences maternal deprivation as an infant we could analyse what major themes occurred in interviews (e.g. feelings of loss, desire for love etc.d and count how many times these themes occurred.
What are the strengths of thematic analysis?
We can turn complex qualitative data into quantitative data which can then be statistically analysed.