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Research attempts to . .

  • Increase Understanding
  • How and Why do we behave the way we do.


How does research start

  • noting an interesting question
  • stating the question in a way that it can be answered Undergoing the scientific Method


There are different types of research design (2)

  • Non Experimental 
    • True Experimental
    • Quasi Experimental
  • Experimental
    • Descriptive
    • Historical
    • Correlational
    • Qualitative


How are the research types different

  • nature of the question asked
  • method used to answer questions
  • degree of precision of the method


Non Experimental Research

  • describes relationships between variables
  • cannot test cause-and-effect relationships
    • descriptive
    • historical
    • correlational
    • Qualitative


Descriptive Research

  • describes characteristics of an existing phenomena
  • provides a broad picture
  • serves as basis for other types of research


Historical Research

  • Describes past events in the context of other past or current events
  • Primary and secondary sources of data


Correlational Research

  • Asks what several events have in common
  • Asks whether knowing one event can allow prediction of another event
  • Does not imply causation


Qualitative Research

  • Asks what several events have in common
  • Asks whether knowing one event can allow prediction of another event
  • Does not imply causation


Types of Research Design (Table)


What is the difference between a variable and a value?

  • A variable is a factor that can be measured
  • A value is a subset of a variable

Eg: height is a variable, 186cm is a value


Independent Variable

  • A group or condition in a study
  • Is what we are measuring
  • Divided into levels
  • Directly or indirectly manipulated by researcher
    • Direct Manipulation: drug treatment
    • Indirect Manipulation: school grades


What makes a good IV?

  • Not confounded
  • IV Levels do not vary systematically with other variables
  • DV is sensitive to changes in the IV
  • Called Dependant because its “Scores’ depend  on  experimenter manipulation


Dependant Variable

  • The thing being assessed or measured
  • Measures outcome or performance
  • Example: Amount of time looking at screens (IV); level of health and fitness (DV).
  • Needs to be operationalised



  • Clearly defined IV & DV
  • Specific description of how you will define and measure a variable
  • define as it is used in your study.


Control Variables

  • Variable whose influence you want to control

Ie: sex difference in thrill seeking behaviour you may control for income


Extraneous Variables

  • Confounding occurs when an extraneous variable either: 
    • Varies systematically across levels of IV
    • Is correlated with the DV


Define True Experiment

  • Participants randomly assigned to groups
  • Treatment variable is controlled by researcher
  • control of potential causes of behaviour




  • Participants are assigned to groups
  • useful when researcher cannot manipulate variables


What is a variable?

  • An entity that can be measured and can take on different measured values

eg: height, weight, intelligence, hair colour, time, performance, income, level of depression


Moderator Variables

  • Also called mediator variables (although there is a difference between them)


Mediator Variable

  • Is thought to describe the psychological process that occurs to create the relationship


Moderator Variables

  • Change the strength of an effect or relationship between two variables


Dependent Variable Definition and AKA

 A variable that is measure to see whether the treatment or manipulation of the independent variable had an effect

AKA: Outcome variable, Results Variable, Criterion Variable


Independent Variable Definition and AKA

  • A variable that is manipulated to examine its impact on a dependent variable

AKA: Treatment, Factor, Predictor Variable


Control Variable Definition and AKA

  • A variable that is related tothe dependent variable, the influence of which needs to be removed

AKA: Restricting Variable


Extraneous Variable Definition and AKA

  • A variable that is related to the DV or IV that is not part of the experiment

AKA: Threatening Variable


Moderator Variable Definition and AKA

  • A variable that is related to the DV or IV and has an impact on the DV

AKA: Interacting Variable


Between Subjects Design

  • Also known as an indepedent sample
  • each subject is exposed to one level of each IV


Within Subjects design

  • Also known as a repeated measures design
  • Each subject is exposed to all levels of each independant variable