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Research methods in psychology Simple revision points.

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1 Research methods in psychology Simple revision points

2 What two approaches are there to research?  Quantitative research is concerned with the collection of numerical data.  Qualitative data is concerned with the collection of data concerned with behaviours, and is descriptive, often of emotions and feelings

3 What methods are available?  Experiments – variable controlled  Correlation research – patterns sought  Observational research – people watched  Surveys – questions asked  Case Studies – individuals studied

4 What experimental methods are used?  Laboratory experiments where variables are controlled  Field experiments are in a natural environment but variables are controlled  Natural experiments are in a natural environment and there is little control over variables

5 What three experimental designs are there?  Repeated measures – same participants measured in all values  Independent groups – different participants in the groups  Matched participants – similar key characteristics are sought in groups

6 List strengths to laboratory experiments  Scientific in intent.  Cause and effect can be established  Control over variables is established  Experiments are repeatable and therefore reliable

7 List weaknesses to laboratory experiments  Total control is impossible  Artificial environments produce artificial results  Participants may guess purpose of study and this influences behaviour  There may be ethical problems of deception

8 What types of question can be asked?  Closed questions are where participants choose an appropriate response from a number on offer.  Open questions are where participants can respond in a way that allows them to expand on their answers

9 What should a good questionnaire look like?  Well laid out.  Easy to read  Easy to respond to  Understandable so the participants know what is required

10 What are the advantages of a questionnaire?  Creates a lot of data  Easy to collate  Easy to repeat and therefore reliable  Convenient and relatively cheap to produce

11 What are the disadvantages of a questionnaire?  May not gather enough detail  Cannot return to participants to get them to explain responses  Sometimes a low response rate  Quality of responses depends on quality of the design

12 What three types of interview are there?  Fully structured – similar to a questionnaire with closed questions  Semi-structured – more relaxed and more open questions  Unstructured – resembles a conversation and researcher responds to participant

13 What advantages are there to interviews?  Data is rich in detail  Interviewee can clarify responses  Offers qualitative data

14 What disadvantages are there to interviews?  Time consuming  Requires skilled interviewers  Difficult to analyse  Expensive to run  Small samples

15 What advantages are there to observation?  Naturalistic in approach  Has high ecological validity  Ethical – if overt and participants know they are watched  Useful if people do not want to cooperate, or cannot be questioned e.g studies of children

16 What disadvantages are there to observations?  Ethical issues if covert and participants do not know they are watched  Unreliable as cannot be replicated  Observer bias is possible  Variables are difficult to control  Observers may not be consistent in classifying observations

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