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PSYA4 - Research methods


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  • 1. Research Methods
  • 2. What makes a science a science?• Based on empirical methods (info. Gained fromdirect observation and experiments)• Objective (based on fact rather than opinion)• Falsifiable (if something is UNFALSIABLE it canneither be proved nor disproved)• Only one paradigm (Kuhn, 1970)• Based on testing hypotheses(Karl Popper 1935, and his hypothetico-deductivemodel)
  • 3. Peer review:• Assessment of scientific research by experts inthe field• Ensures published research is of high quality• Also used for:1. Allocation of research funding2. To test quality of university departments3. Aid publication of works in journals and books(Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology –2002)
  • 4. Peer review – Evaluation:• Anonymity used toremove bias• It isn’t always possible tofind an expert in the field• Publication bias – asjournals tend to preferpublishing positive results• Once a study ispublished, if fault is laterfound, it cannot beremoved from the publicdomain
  • 5. What is an aim?• A general overview of what you set out to find
  • 6. What is a theory?• A well-established principle that has beendeveloped to explain an aspect of the naturalworld.• Arises from repeated observation andincorporates facts, laws, predictions andtested hypothesesMore general than a hypothesis
  • 7. What are hypotheses?• Specific, testable statements of prediction, itstates what the research expects to find out• To operationalise the hypotheses, you need toclearly state how the IV will be manipulated, andhow the DV will be measured• IV – Independent Variable (what you change)DV – Dependent Variable (cause of that change)
  • 8. Null hypothesis:• Statement of no difference.• Example:‘there will be no significant differencebetween… blah blah blah’
  • 9. Directional hypotheses:• 1-tailed test• States the direction of the predicteddifferencefor example: ‘Participants given pictures willremember significantly more items from a listof 10 than participants given a list of 10words’
  • 10. Non-directional hypotheses:• 2-tailed hypothesis• States there will be a difference, but we don’tknow what direction that difference will be.
  • 11. Correlation hypothesis:• Similar to null, directional and non-directionalhypothesis• Just look for the word ‘correlation’ in thehypothesis
  • 12. Looking for significance:• In psychology, we look for the P≤0.05 value• This means that the results could be 5% dueto chance, however we are 95% sure thevalue is significant
  • 13. Type 1 and type 2 errors (ooh fun…):Type 1:• Reject Null (acceptalternative hypothesis)• Likely to occur if theprobability is TOO LENIENT• E.g. from using P≤0.10instead of P≤0.05Type 2:• Accept null (rejectalternative hypothesis)• Likely to occur if theprobability is TOOSTRINGENT• E.g. From using P≤0.01instead of P≤0.05
  • 14. Statistical tests:
  • 15. Content analysis:• Changing qualitative data into quantitative data• So it can be statistically analysed• Used in the past to analyse Kennedy & Nixon’s speech(Schneidman, 1963) Quantitative Objective If there is agreement, inter-rater reliability is easilytested Reductionist Subjective
  • 16. How to draw graphs and tiiing:Independent variable/categoriesX-axisDependentvariable(Freq/units)Y-axisTitle
  • 17. When to use what graph:Chart When it’s usedBar chart Nominal data, gaps between barsFrequency polygon Interval/ordinal data, class intervalsrepresentedHistogram Interval/ordinal data, intervalsrepresented by midpoint, no gapsbetween barsLine graphs Show continuous dataScattergram Relationships between 2 variables
  • 18. Journals:Mnemonics to help you rememberTheAlienInMyRoomDoesn’tReadA lotTheAppleInMyRearDoesn’tReallyAche
  • 19. Title(The)Short, but informative about the contentof the paperAbstract(Alien)Brief summary inc. problem, method,results and conclusionsIntroduction(In)The problem, and how it’s beinganswered, and why it is (or isn’t)important.Method(My)How you went about your project,subsections: subjects, materials,procedure (subheadings make it easier toread)Results(Room)Summary of findings, results of statisticaltests. Graphs & charts tooDiscussion(Doesn’t)Begin with summary of results, and whatthey indicate, say what can and cannot beconcludedReferences(Read)List of articles cited, alphabetical, journalslisted like “volume, year, page numbers”Appendix(A lot)Raw data goes here, (all original data) alsoany data which was collected but notused
  • 20. Types of research methods –Laboratory study:• Internal validity –controlled variables• Control increasesreplicability and ifconsistent results areachieved, reliability• Demand characters(may reduce validity)• May have reducedexternal validity asexperiments conductedaren’t always like real-life
  • 21. Field study:• Experimentereffects/demandcharacteristics –reduced• Higher ecologicalvalidity, as it’s a naturalsetting• Less control overextraneous varibles• Demand characteristicsmay be present if pptsknow they’re beingstudied
  • 22. Natural experiment (natural IV):• Only way to study somethingse.g. effects of privation• Validity may bereduced, no randomallocation• Low replicability andtherefore reliability?• Not necessarilygeneralisable
  • 23. Correlation:• Shows relationships• Can be conducted on alot of data• Easily replicated• No cause/effect can beestablished• May lackinternal/externalvalidity
  • 24. Observation:• Rich data as naturalbehaviour is observed(especially in covertobservations)• Demand characteristicsin overt observations• Observer bias• Inter-rater reliabilityshould be used to test
  • 25. Content analysis (again):• Inter-rater reliability canbe easily tested• Unobtrusive• Highly subjective• Time consuming• Reductionist
  • 26. Self-report techniques (interviews andquestionnaires):• Have large samplesfairly quickly• Open questions usedfor quantitative data(easily analysed)• Closed questions forqualitative• Social desirability bias• Leading questions couldreduce calidity• Closed questions canreduce validity as it maynot allow full response
  • 27. Types of sampling method –Opportunity:• Participants selected onwho is most easily available Easy to conduct Easy to get large samples (intheory) Biased (selection bias –researcher more likely toengage with smiley peopleand give non-verbal cues) Only allows a small sampleof target population May not be representative
  • 28. Volunteer sampling:• Participants selected byasking for volunteerse.g. Advertisementsor national newspaper(more representative)• If it’s a men-onlysurvey, then better offto use a men’s healthmagQuickReach a wide variety ofpeople Those who volunteermay not berepresentative of thetarget population asthey may be moremotivated/outgoing
  • 29. Random sampling:• Identify target population• Make sure all members ofthe population have anequal chance of beingpicked• E.g. Putting names in ahat and picking outhowever many you need• Or assigning them allnumbers and using arandom numbergenerator to pick them Less biased (more equalchance of selection) Still same bias as somepeople may refuse to takepart
  • 30. Ethical issues:• Informed consent• Confidentiality and anonymity• Right to withdraw at any time• Protection from harm• Deception• Debriefing
  • 31. Dealing with ethical issues:Alternatives to informed consent:1) Presumptive consent (assuming the ppt would becool with whatever you’re testing)2) Prior general consent (slightly misinforming the ppt)Alternatives to deception:1) Complete info. (ppts told everything, however Galloet al (1973) found that sometimes this DOES affect theoutcome, and sometimes it DOESN’T.2) Role playing (ppts informed about the generalnature of the study and asked to role-play, howeverthis could lead to unreliable findings)
  • 32. Reliability:• Whether, when replicated, the findings areconsistentWays to test…• Inter-rateror inter-observer tested by findinga strong correlation between their results
  • 33. • Internal reliability – All items measure thesame thing. Tested using the split-half methodwhere test is split in two and you need astrong correlation between both halves
  • 34. • External reliability – Produce the same resultson different occasions by differentresearchers. Tested using the test-retestmethod on same ppts, however this requires agap between 1st and 2nd test.
  • 35. Validity:• To what extent the research measures what it setout to measure• Internal validity – How well the method beingused measures what you set out to measure e.g.a behaviour• To ensure internal validity variables should bewell controlled and you can use triangulation…where research is analysed from multipleperspectives…
  • 36. Testing internal validity:NaturalisticobservationInterviewLaboratoryexperiment
  • 37. Internal validity can also be tested by usingcounterbalancing:Also tests that order effects aren’t affectingthe outcome
  • 38. • External validity/ecological validity – Howwell the research can be applied to the realworld, e.g. recalling nonsense words isn’t areal-life task
  • 39. What happens when you get a designquestion? 1. Don’t panic2. If it’s a 12 marker, you gotta include this stuff:- Hypothesis- Independent variable- Dependent variable- Method- Design- Sample- Procedure/participants- Ethics- Control- (Analysis?)Mnemonic: High iguanas don’tmind drugs so pick… ecstasy/cannabis?
  • 40. Handy dandy template for AO2:1) Start with further evidence (make sure it’srelevant)2) Methodological criticisms (case studies/smallsamples/ecological validity)3) Positive IDA4) Negative IDA5) (Any additional research )6) Conclusion