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OCR A-Level Psychology > Research Methods And Techniques > Flashcards

Flashcards in Research Methods And Techniques Deck (29):

Cause and Effect

The belief that a cause can be established for every event. In an experiment, the independent variable is hypothesised as the cause and the resultant change in behaviour is the effect.


Extraneous Variables

Variables that could affect the dependent variables if not controlled, for example noise, temperature, age.


Strengths of a Laboratory Experiment

A) Highly controlled so the effect of extraneous variables is minimised
B) Easily replicable
C) Can show cause and effect


Weaknesses of Laboratory Experiment

Low in ecological validity.
Often prone to demand characteristics.
Ethical considerations; deception is often used and stress may occur.


Ecological Validity

The extent to which findings from one situation can be generalised to other situations, i.e. do the findings reflect real life situations?


Demand Characteristics

Cues in the environment which give away the aim of the study. These can lead the participant t wither behave in a way that will support the research or ensure the research does not get the anticipated results.


Strength of a Field Experiments

High in ecological validity.
Demand characteristics can be minimised.


Weaknesses of Field Experiments

Low control over validity.
Difficult to replicate.
Difficult to record data.
Ethical concerns; lack of consent, deception, invasion of privacy, stress.


Strengths of Quasi experiments

Naturally occurring independent variable.
Highly controlled so the effect of extraneous variables is minimised.
Can show cause and effect.


Weaknesses of Quasi Experiments

Low in ecological validity.
Not easy to replicate.
Often prone to demand characteristics.
Ethical concerns; deception is often used and stress may occur.


Participant Observation

Involves the researcher becoming part of the group whose behaviour is being observed and monitored. This may be done either with or without the participants’ knowledge.


Non-Participant observations

Involves the researcher recording participants’ behaviour while not, themselves, being involved in the situation under observation. This may be overt or covert.


Structured Observation

Involves the use of an explicitly designed coding framework/chart for recording behaviour. This may be participant or non-participant, overt or covert.


Unstructured Observation

In old the observer recording a non-specified, wide range of behaviours including any that seem relevant to the study. This may be participant or non-participant, overt or covert.


Controlled Observation

Involves the recording of spontaneously occurring behaviour under conditions contrived by the researcher. Such observations can take place in either a laboratory or the participants’ normal environment. This may be participant or non-participant, overt or covert.


Overt Observation

Where participants are aware they are being observed. The observer may be participant or non-participant.


Covert Observation

Where participants are unaware they are being observed. The observer may be participant or non-participant.


Strengths of Observation

What people say they did is often different to what they actually do, so observations give a different take on behaviour.
A means of conducting preliminary investigations in a new area of research, to produce hypotheses for future investigations.
Able to capture spontaneous and unexpected behaviour.
Frequently high in ecological validity.
Pre-Determined coding systems make the recording of behaviours easy.


Weaknesses of Observations

Observers may ‘see’ what they expect to see.
Poorly designed behaviour checklists reduce reliability and lead to low inter-rather reliability.
If participants are unaware they are being observed, ethical concerns arise; such as deception, invasion of privacy.
If participants are aware the are being observed they may respond with demand characteristics or socially desirable behaviour.
Observations cannot provide information about what people think or feel.


Structured Interviews

The interviewing asking predominantly closed questions in a fixed order. Questions are usually scripted so they are standardised and every participant is asked the same questions, in the same order.


Semi-Structured Interviews

The interviewer asking a fixed list of both open and closed questions. The researcher can introduce additional questions if required to clarify and/or expand on particular points or issues.


Unstructured Interviews

The interviewer usually starting the interview with a standard question which is asked of every participant. From there on, questions depend on the respondent’s answers, though the interviewer may have a list of topics they wish to cover.


Strengths of Self-Report

Large amounts of standardised data can be gathered from a large number of people relatively quickly and conveniently, making results generalisable.
Questionnaires and structured interviews are highly replicable, so trends and similarities in behaviour ca be identified.
Unstructured questionnaires allow for in-depth, qualitative data to be gathered.


Weaknesses of Self-Report

Questionnaires and structured interviews lack flexibility so participants cannot qualify or expand on their responses.
Unstructured interviews are impossible to replicate.
Responses are often influenced by demand characteristics and/or social desirability.


Positive Correlation

A relationship where the two variables increase together, such that an increase in one accompanies and increase in the other.


Negative Correlation

A relationship were as one variable increases, the other decreases.


No/Zero Correlation

Where no relationship is found between the variables being measured.


Strengths of Correlations

Use quantifiable messers of each of the variables being measured.
Give information about the relationship between the variables being measured.
Strong negative or positive correlations can form the basis for further experimental research to establish cause and effect.


Weaknesses of Corelations

Cause and effect cannot be established.
Findings can be misleading, as they can imply cause and effect relationships that do not exist.