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Research Methods in Psychology

A summary of the research methods and statistical analysis used in psychology
by

Gerald Carey

on 12 February 2017

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Transcript of Research Methods in Psychology

in Psychology
Research Methods
Sample
and
Population

Making sense of research
Experiments
Experimental Analysis
Self-reporting methods
Making sense of research
Qualitative
Observation
and observational methods
Quantitative
Research
Data can also be collected by
Experiments
Factors that influence outcomes of
An example: Harlow's experiment on attachment in monkeys
Descriptive Statistics
Making sense of research
Using graphs
Distribution and variability
Psychologists want data and information that is:
Data is collected from large or small groups or
populations
of people (or animals)
Example
populations:
All people in Australia
All students at a School
All drivers who are 17-25
All people who watch TV between 8:30-9:30pm
But it is often expensive and time consuming to collect data from the whole
population
- so we choose a
sample
The people or animals in the
sample
group should be chosen at random and should represent a wide range of people or animals in the population
Example
samples
of the previous populations:
Sample
: 200 people chosen at random from anywhere in Australia
Sample
: Drivers who are 17-25 who park their car at Tea Tree Plaza
Sample
: All people who watch TV in every fifth house of every fifth street in one suburb.
Sample
: Five students selected from each homeroom at the school
Do activity 2.1 p 31
accurate (i.e. relevant and related to the area under study)
reliable (i.e. consistently produce the same results)
is ethical (i.e. the process used to collect data does not harm the participants)
Psychologists want data and information that is:
Psychologists want data and information that is:
Psychologists want data and information that is:
Summary - watch the first 2 minutes
Collection of numerical data
e.g. count of dog's tail wags
heart beats when under stress
Intelligence test scores
collection of data
by observation
by experimentation
by survey
Collection of non-numerical data
Gather data to help understand and give reasons for behaviours
Questions might include: what, when and where.
e.g. interview people after an accident
observe child behaviour with strangers
Questions might include: why and how.
Do Activity 2.1 Q2 & 3 page 35
Quantitative methods involve the...
Qualitative methods involve the...
Read more on pages 33-4
Objective data
and
Subjective data
Measurement of participant's behaviour that can be observed and verified by the researcher
Personal description of participant's own behaviour based on their experiences and feelings.
More information on page 35-6
"Observation" includes any examination of an observable event.
Observations can include
Scores
Values
Written responses
Spoken responses
Observations in psychology should
be done systematically
using set procedures
Psychological research involves the
which look at
how
to observe behaviour
and can be divided into
Quantitative
observational methods
Qualitative
observational investigations
Ways to observe behaviour include:
Naturalistic observation
Non-participant observation
Participant observation
Behaviour is observed by the researcher without the participants knowing of their presence.
Behaviour is observed by the researcher with the participants knowing of their presence but where the researchers are not involved in the activity that causes the behaviour.
Behaviour is observed by the researcher with the participants knowing of their presence and the researcher involves themselves in the situation that causes the behaviour.
Out of six people how many will return money 'accidently' dropped?
Why kind of research method is this?
Data
Data
Advantages
Limitations
of observational methods
of observational methods
Allows the possibility of long-term study of behaviour
May be the only study method possible because all other methods are unethical
The behaviour being studied is more natural and therefore more realistic.
It may take a while for the behaviour under study to occur.
It is difficult to determine the cause of behaviour in natural settings.
Some behaviours may be missed by the researcher or regarded as irrelevant.
Summary of Advantages/Disadvantages
Very dry!
Experiments are used to
Test to see if one variable can influence or cause a change in another variable
Does talking to friends reduce reaction time when driving?
Experiments can be done in the
Laboratory
Field
Conditions can be controlled ie less variables
Behaviour viewed is more natural
Dependent
Independent
Variable: something that changes in amount or kind over time or some difference between people or groups of people
Variable chosen or changed by the experimenter
Variable that is used to measure the effect of the independent variable.
More information on page 40
Do Learning activity 2.6, p 41
When testing the effects of the
Independent variable
, participants can be placed into two groups:
Experimental
Control
Participants subjected to conditions where the
IV
is changed
Participants subjected to the same conditions as the experimental group but the
IV
is
absent
Randomly assigned
Results
Results
Is there a difference between the two groups?
Yes
No
Conclusion
The
IV
may affect the
DV
The
IV
may NOT affect the
DV
For example does
Advanced Driver Training
lead to
less accidents for 17-25 year olds
Experimental
Control
Fifteen 17-25 year olds are given 20 hours of advanced driver training
Randomly assigned
Results
Results
Is there a difference between the two groups?
Yes
No
Conclusion
The
Advanced Driver Training
may reduce
accidents in this age group
Fifteen other 17-25 year olds are given no advanced training
The
Advanced Driver Training
may
NOT
reduce
accidents in this age group
Go here for more examples: http://www.lhup.edu/sboland/independent_and_dependent_variab.htm

Try them first before scrolling down to see the answers!
Many factors may influence the results of an experiment. These factors (or
extraneous variables
) should be identified before the experiment begins.
Participant variables
Situational variables
Experimenter effects
For example:
Gender
Personality
Cultural background
Level of education
The placebo effect
The importance of 'blinding' the participants
For example:
Time of day
Day in the week
Season
Climate
Noise
Try activity 2.11 p 46
Try activity 2.10 p 45
For example:
Mood of the experimenter
Gender and attractiveness of the experimenter
Experimenter bias
Importance of the double-blind test
Try activity 2.12 p 47
Read through Harlow's experiments on page 47
Which were the experimental and control groups?
What are some examples of the participant, situational and experimenter effect variables in the experiment?
What was the difference between what was written for the Results, Conclusion and Generalisation parts of the report?
Results: summarise the key information collected during the experiment.
Conclusion: a judgement on what the results might mean for the participants.
Generalisation: what the results might mean for the population under study.
Questionnaires, surveys and interviews
Rating scales
Likert scale
Focus groups
Delphi techniques
Advantages
Disadvantages
Advantages
Disadvantages
Able to see a cause/effect process more easily
Able to repeat the process more easily
Other experimenters can more easily replicate the experiment
This helps confirm the reliability of the results
Laboratories are artificial and may not reflect what happens in the real world.
Somethings cannot be reproduced in the lab.
Experiments
Used to obtain information about thoughts and feelings
Four common self-reporting techniques in Psychology
Assumes participants are
honest
and can
accurately
recall information in a
detailed
manner.
Self-reporting
List of questions
Questionnaire used with a small sample of population
Questionnaire may be used one-on-one with a number of individuals
Can collect lots of data
Researcher is not confined to the list of questions
People are given a scale to rate their response
Scale gives measures the direction of an attitude
A process used to collect information from experts on a topic.
Do activity 2.16 p 53
More details from page 54-5
The term focus group is used to refer to a group interview technique that obtains data through discussion between research participants in a group setting.
Self-reporting techniques
Self-reporting techniques
Self-reporting techniques
Self-reporting techniques
Focus group about cars
Rating scales and fixed question surveys are easy to complete and analyse
They can give information that has richness and depth.
Prone to errors of recall, participant and researcher bias and difficulty in the classification of answers.
Cannot adequately determine cause and effect for a behaviour.
May be limited to adults that may speak and write confidently
Self-reporting methods
Data is usually collected from a random
sample
of a
population
.
What is the difference?

The participants response is influenced by how they are
expected
to behave rather than how they would respond
naturally
.
For example, a patient in pain who asks for pain relief might expect that the medicine they are given is to relieve their pain and will respond to that.
Because of the placebo effect, patients should not know if they are in the experimental or control groups.
However, it could be that all they were given was sugar pills!
It is important that the
patient/subject
AND the
researcher
not
know if they are in the experimental or control groups
Interesting summary of the power of the placebo effect.
Measures of central tendency
Graphical representation of data
Mean
Median
Line graphs
Frequency distribution
Bar graph
Histogram
Normal distribution
Skewed distribution
Variability
Standard deviation
Range
If a lot of
quantitative
data is collected from a big sample, it is useful to find the
average
to get an idea of what is '
typical
' for that sample/population.
For example, the average height of Reception children is much smaller than Year 11 students.
We can use this information to help us design desks and chairs that suit the average Reception or Year 11 student.
Receptions
Year 11s
How do we work out what is '
typical
' for each population?
Add
up all the measurements/scores and
divide
by the number of scores (data)
If you are struggling with this, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has a good introductory page here: http://www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/a3121120.nsf/home/statistical+language+-+measures+of+central+tendency
How would you calculate the 'mean' per capita (per person) consumption of beer drunk over the time period 2006-11?
When is the best time to use 'mean'?
when scores cluster around a central score
Arrange
scores from highest to lowest.
The median is the
middle value
.
Example scores in a maths test:
13, 35, 17,19, 23, 24, 31
Arranged in order:
13, 17, 19, 23, 24, 31, 35
Median Value
When is the best time to use 'median'
When the data is skewed or has outliers
In this example the median is a better indicator of what is 'typical' in this data.
Do Learning Activity 2.18, p 59
Q 1 and 2.
You heard right!
Height of students
Show a relationship between two variables - usually the
independent
and
dependent
variables
This example shows how the
minimum wage per hour
has changed from
1930 to 2000
.
This is most useful when the data is
continuous
(as opposed to discrete or categorical data)
Display information to show how often (
frequency
) a value or score occurs.
This information can then be displayed as a...
A way of displaying
discrete
information in a series of bars (or columns) on a graph
that do not touch.
Population
Bar graphs are useful when the data to be displayed is
discrete
and in
categories
.
A way of displaying
continuous
information in a series of bars (or columns) on a graph
that touch.
Histograms are useful when the data to be displayed is
continuous
.
Use Excel to graph the data in Learning Activity 2.21
When graphed, data can show
patterns.
The
pattern
on the left is an example of a normal distribution (represented by the solid line) of the height of female students in a class.
This ideal is rarely achieved.
Positively skewed
Negatively skewed
Large cluster of
low
scores
Large cluster of
high
scores
Do Learning Activity 2.26 on page 66.
Use Excel to table and graph the data.
Mean and Median are good ways to find 'typical' or 'average' data but sometimes we need more than this.
We might need to know much our data
deviates
from 'normal' or 'average'.
We can use two measures...
Also called: 'variation', 'scatter' or 'spread' of data.
Find the mean of these two sets of data
A: 4, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6, 6, 7, 7, 7, and 8.
B: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
The mean of both data sets is 6.
Clearly there are differences in the two sets of data.
A: 4, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6, 6, 7, 7, 7, and 8.
B: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
The Range is calculated by taking the
lowest value
away from the
highest
.
Range for A =
8
-
4
= 4
Range for B =
11
-
1
= 10
Clearly Group B has a
wider range
or
scatter
of data than Group A
You can also see this in the column graph of the data
Also is a measure of the
spread
or
scatter
of data from the mean in particular
Here is the formula for calculating standard deviation
Sum of
Individual data value
the mean
Total number of data values
Standard deviation
Fortunately, you don't need to know how to calculate standard deviation for this course!
Try Learning Activity 2.28 p 67
Revision:
Introduction to Psychology
Page 27, Q 1-12 are all good. You might struggle with question 9 and 10.
Page 28, Q 1-3 are good short answer questions.
Page 28 Extended response questions 1 and 2 could be useful.
Psychological Methods
Page 77, Q 1- 13 (although Q3 won't make too much sense.
Page 78 Q 1-10 are good short answer questions.
Page 78-9, Any question would be useful to help with the essay style question you might get.
Nice summary
Information based on the textbook: "Introduction to Psychology Stage 1 South Australia" by Linda Carter and John Grivas.
The 'typical' 6 year old is about 115 cm tall
The 'typical' 16 year old is about 172cm tall
Reception chairs
Year 11 student chairs!
Population
: All people in Australia
Population
: All students at a School
Population:
All drivers who are 17-25
Population
: All people who watch TV between 8:30-9:30pm
are when we test to see if one variable (e.g. age, gender, cultural group)
influences or causes
a change in another variable (e.g. reaction time, drug taking, violent behaviour)
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