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Psychology AS Research methods lesson 1
Transcript of Psychology AS Research methods lesson 1
To explore the different ways in which psychologists conduct their research
Research is conducted to generate data. Data can either be:
Quantitative - Number based (Quantities such as time, amounts, ratings)
Qualitative - Not number based (verbal accounts)
The main method that Psychologists use to generate data is the EXPERIMENTAL method and in particular the LABORATORY experiment.
Laboratory experiments are SIMULATIONS, where VARIABLES can be controlled, changed (manipulated) and measured by the researcher.
Anything that can be measured and that can be changed (or vary) such as age, weight, time, test scores.
Variables are compared to see whether one will CAUSE or EFFECT another variable
This is known as a 'cause and effect' relationship
There are 3 key features to an experiment (also known as the 'true' experiment):
The researcher manipulates (controls) an INDEPENDENT variable in order to determine if it changes the DEPENDENT variable.
Any other variables that may also change the DV are controlled, eliminated or held constant. These 'other' variables are known as CONFOUNDING variables
Participants are selected randomly.
The researcher will formulate a HYPOTHESIS - a statement that will predict that one variable (the IV) will effect another variable (the DV)
When an experiment is lacking in one of the 3 key features of the true experiment criteria.
Laboratory experiments provide the setting to achieve the highest level of control over variables.
REPLICABILITY - laboratory experiments are carefully designed so that they can easily be replicated and achieve similar results.
Access to sophisticated equipment
It is easy to control confounding variables in a laboratory, therefore cause and effect relationships can be easily identified.
Lacks VALIDITY - by controlling the variables, the experiment becomes artificial and unnatural.
Lacking in ECOLOGICAL validity - the extent to which the results can be generalised to the general public
DEMAND CHARACTERISTICS - participants will alter their behaviour because they know that they are being studied
Use of animals
Field experiments are investigations that are carried out in a natural environment (such as a school or hospital) in order to improve the REALISM of the research. As with a laboratory setting, the IV is still deliberately controlled to show its effect on the DV.
Improved ecological validity
Reduction in demand characteristics
Difficult to control independent and confounding variables
Dependent variables maybe difficult to measure
Replicability is compromised due to inability to maintain high levels of control of the variables
High levels of realism yet low levels of generalisability as results are specific to the setting.
Confidentiality and anonymity
In contrast, a NATURAL experiment is one where the researcher makes use of the naturally occurring differences in the IV - there is no control of the IV by the researcher (Quasi-experiment).
Reduction in demand characteristics
Researcher has no effect on the research situation
Confounding variables are more likely to effect the results therefore it is difficult to establish a cause and effect relationship between the IV and DV.
Research opportunity may be an issue as specific behaviour maybe only occur infrequently.
Protection from harm