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Resourcd File

  1. 1. Research Methods Checklist In preparation for your exam you should be confident that you can do the following: Section 1: Methods and techniques      Describe different types of experimental methods (Lab, field, natural) Give characteristics of each type of experimental method Outline the strengths and weaknesses of each experimental method Explain the difference between a natural experiment and a field experiment Explain what is meant by ‘mundane realism’ Case study:     Describe what is meant by a case study Describe at least two techniques that you could use to collect data in a case study Outline strengths and weaknesses of using a case study approach Know when it is appropriate/necessary to use a case study method Correlational studies:     Know what is meant by a correlational study Know when it is appropriate/ necessary to conduct a correlational study Know the strengths and weakneses of carrying out observational research Be able to present correlational data in a table or scattergram Observational studies:  Describe what is meant by observational techniques  Collect data from observational studies  Know the strengths and weaknesses of carrying out observational research Self report techniques:  Know what is meant by self report techniques (including questionnaire and interview)  Know the strengths and weaknesses of self report techniques  Know when it is appropriate to use self report techniques Section 2: Investigation design Aims:  Know the purpose of an ‘Aim’  Identify the aim of a study  Write a suitable aim for a study Hypotheses:       Know the difference between directional (one tailed) and non-directional (two tailed) hypotheses Explain why you would use a directional hypothesis Write fully operationalised hypotheses Identify the hypothesis from a given study Explain the difference between an alternative hypothesis and a null hypothesis Write a null hypothesis
  2. 2. Experimental design:      Identify different experimental designs (independent groups, matched pairs and repeated measures) Know when it is appropriate to use each experimental design Describe the strengths and weaknesses of each experimental design Know what order effects are and how they can be dealt with (counterbalancing) Know how individual differences can be overcome when selecting experimental design Observations:       Design naturalistic observations Draw a suitable table for recording observations Identify strengths and weaknesses of conducting observational research List appropriate behavioural categories that can be used in a given study Know the difference between a naturalistic observation and a controlled observation Suggest one strength and one weakness of studying participants using structured observational techniques Questionnaires and Interviews:                 Design questionnaires to collect appropriate data Know the difference between open and closed questions Write examples of open and closed questions Write an example of a leading question Know how leading questions can be a problem in questionnaires and interviews Be able to identify whether questions are producing quantitative or qualitative data Explain the difference between a questionnaire and an interview Design interviews Explain the difference between structured and unstructured interviews Explain why it might be preferable to use an unstructured interview rather than a structured interview Explain why reliability is important when conducting interviews Explain how you can assess the reliability of an interview Explain why ‘interviewer bias’ and ‘social desirability bias’ cause problems in interviews Suggest how an interviewer might be able to avoid social desirability bias Explain how social desirability bias might affect the validity of a study using a self-report technique Justify why an interview is preferable to a questionnaire in a given scenario (and vice versa) Variables:       Know what independent and dependent variables are Identify the independent and dependent variables from a study Be able to identify different levels of the independent variable Operationalise variables Explain what is meant by ‘operationalisation’ Know what extraneous variables are (including participant and situational variables) Extraneous Variables:     Be able to identify extraneous variables Identify order effects, participant variables, situational variables and investigator effects Know why it is important to control variables Know the difference between an extraneous variable and a confounding variable
  3. 3. Pilot study:     Describe what a pilot study is Describe why a pilot study is required Know the advantages of conducting a pilot study Be able to apply your knowledge of pilot studies to information in a question stem Validity:             Understand the concept of validity Recognise the difference between internal and external validity Identify threats to internal validity Identify threats to external validity Explain what is meant by the term demand characteristic Be able to identify demand characteristics in a study Know how to deal with demand characteristics Explain the terms ‘investigator effect’ Know how to deal with experimenter/ investigator effects Know how issues of validity affect research findings Know the difference between ecological, population and historical validity Validity issues in self report techniques: social desirability bias, interviewer bias, leading questions, content validity  Know how to assess validity Reliability:      Understand the concept of reliability Recognise the difference between internal and external validity Know how to assess reliability (split half method/ test-retest method) Know how to improve reliability Know what is meant by inter-observer reliability Ethics:        Awareness of the BPS code of Ethics Describe ethical issues and know how to deal with them Identify relevant ethical issues associated with information in the question stem Be able to explain in what way it is an issue for the given study (ie relate the issue to the context) Understand why ethical issues need to be considered and dealt with Discuss the strengths and limitations of psychological research that raises ethical issues Know what should be included in a debriefing Sampling:          Know why it is desirable to select a representative sample Know that all sampling methods aim to be representative of the target population Understand the concept of bias samples Describe different sampling methods (Random, opportunity and volunteer sampling) Know how a researcher would obtain each type of sample Describe the strengths and weaknesses of each sampling method Suggest a suitable sampling method based on information provided in a question stem Justify the use of a particular sampling method Know which sampling method is most likely to be biased
  4. 4. Section 3: Data analysis and presentation:         Present data in a table Present data in a graph (bar chart, scattergram, histogram) Write an appropriate title and correctly label the axis of a graph Interpret and draw conclusions from graphs and tables Calculate measures of central tendency (mean, median, mode) Know which measure of central tendency is most appropriate for summarising the data Know when to use measures of dispersion (range and standard deviation) Analyse and interpret correlational data- be able to identify positive and negative correlations and know if they are strong, moderate or weak Qualitative analysis        Explain what is meant by qualitative data Give an example of a question that would produce qualitative data Explain in what way a content analysis is a form of observation Know the processes involved in content analysis Suggest items that can be used as behavioural categories Write operationalised definitions for these items Explain how observer bias might affect the findings of a content analysis Quantitative data     Explain what is meant by quantitative data Give an example of a question that would produce quantitative data Explain why it is better to know about the mean and range of a data set rather than just the mean Explain why it might be better to know the standard deviation of a data set rather than the range Correlational analysis       Give strengths and weaknesses of using correlational analysis is a given scenario Know what a correlation coefficient tells you about a set of data Explain what examples of correlation coefficients mean (eg +1.00, -.60) Sketch a scattergram to represent a given correlation coefficient Draw conclusions from scattergrams Explain what is meant by a strong/ weak positive/negative correlation (ie. What does this tell us about the relationship between the variables?