Methods
Experimental
Field studies
Adv: Participants are in a natural environment and should behave naturally. They do not...
Repeated measures design
A repeated measures design consists of testing the same individuals on two or more
conditions.
Ad...
Self reports
Adv: interviews and questionaires generally give large amounts of data for analysis
Adv: Easy to replicate in...
Issues
Ethics
Issues include consent, harm, deception, confidentiality, debriefing, withdrawal
Adv: It may simulate a real...
Qualitative Approach
Qualitative data is data that cannot be quantified but it expresses a
completedescriptive, in-depth a...
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  1. 1. Methods Experimental Field studies Adv: Participants are in a natural environment and should behave naturally. They do not know their behaviour is being recorded and there are no demand characteristics Adv: Participants are subject to many outside influences which are not as controlled as they would be in a laboratory Adv: The setting is real life and the task/behaviour is real so ecological validity is very high Disadv: Control of extraneous variables is very difficult Disadv: Recording the behaviour may be difficult due to natural obstructions Disadv: There are ethical problems, participants are not giving consent, may be deceived, have no right to withdraw and there may be no debrief Laboratory Studies Adv: Allows manipulation of one variable, the IV, and use of controls means that cause and effect relationships are more likely Adv: Control over many extraneous variables is likely Adv: Laboratory setting should mean easy collection of data eg: one way mirror, EEG Adv: In a laboratory so participants must give consent so it is likely to be more ethical Disadv: Controlling more variables is reductionist, can any behaviour be explained in isolation from others? Disadv: The task performed is unlikely to be true to life meaning the setting itself is low in ecological validity Disadv: Participants know they are taking part in a study and may respond to demand Characteristics Control of Variables Adv: More control over extraneous variables and therefore the DV is likely to be due to the IV Adv: Participants behave in more predictable ways meaning fewer demand characteristics Disadv: It isolates behaviour from real life where other variables may exist therefore lowering ecological validity and is reductionist Disadv: Participants behaviour is less likely to be natural Disadv: There are more extraneous variables meaning results are more likely to be confounded Experimental designs Matching Participants Adv: Participant variables are partly controlled Adv: Cause and effect relationship between IV and DV are more likely to be determined Adv: No point to the study without matching Disadv: Still may not give cause and effect relationship between IV and DV Disadv: Cannot match on all the variables Disadv: Difficult to find matches, may have a small sample, can be time consuming to find matches Disadv: Loss of one member may be a loss of a matched pair
  2. 2. Repeated measures design A repeated measures design consists of testing the same individuals on two or more conditions. Adv: That individual differences between participants are removed as a potential confounding variable. Adv: The repeated measures design requires fewer participants, since data for all conditions derive from the same group of participants. Disadv: The range of potential uses is smaller than for the independent groups design. For example, it is not always possible to test the same participants twice. Disadv: Potential disadvantage resulting from order effects, although these order effects can be minimised. Order effects act as a confounding variable but can be reduced by using counterbalancing. If there are two conditions in an experiment the first participant can do the first condition first and the second condition second. The second participant can do the second condition first and the first condition second and so on. Therefore any order effects should be randomised. Independent measures design If two groups in an experiment consist of different individuals then this is an independent measures design. Adv: That there is no problem with order effects. Adv: Allows the researcher to show differences between groups Disadv: The most serious is the potential for error resulting from individual differences between the groups of participants taking part in the different conditions. Disadv: If participants are in short supply, then an independent groups design may represent an uneconomic use of those available to participate, since twice as many participants are needed to obtain the same amount of data as would be required in a two-condition repeated measures design. Case Study Method Adv: Richness of the data gathered, often done over a long period of time = longitudinal Adv: Ecological validity is high as the participant is studied as part of everyday life Adv: Sample may be self selecting and not chosen by the researchers Disadv: May be only one or few participants so cannot generalise to others Disadv: Participant may be unique or not normal and researchers may draw false conclusions or not know how to proceed Disadv: Researchers may become emotionally attached if studying one participant over time Observations Adv: Observed behaviour is more natural, high in ecological validity Adv: Data is quantitative, allows statistical analysis Adv: Participants are unaware of observation, unaffected by demand characteristics Disadv: Participants do not say why the behaviour occurred, not qualitative Disadv: Observers may be obstructed, may have a limited view, not reliable
  3. 3. Self reports Adv: interviews and questionaires generally give large amounts of data for analysis Adv: Easy to replicate interviews and questionaires increasing reliability [needs to be a structured interview] Adv: questionaires easy to score unless open questions Disadv: data may be untrue due to socially desirable answers Disadv: questionaires and structured interviews lack flexibility and biased by lack of motivation to complete Disadv; difficlut to construct highly reliable, valid tests Reliability Reliability refers to the consistency of a measurement. A test or measure is reliable if it gives similar results when carried out again in similar circumstances. Adv: replicability as there is likely to be a highly standardised procedure Adv: high control of variables and hence cause and effect can be established Disadv: lack of ecological validity as research often takes place under laboratory conditions Disadv: can be seen as reductionist as data collected is largely quantitative and provides little/no explanations for the findings. Validity Validity refers to whether a method measures what it intends to measure Adv: high control of variables and hence cause and effect can be established Adv: allows findings to be generalised to other situations or participants Disadv: can be seen as reductionist as data collected is largely quantitative and often provides little/no explanations for the findings Disadv: research often takes place under laboratory conditions so not always true to real life Sampling methods Opportunity Sampling Adv: quick and convenient Adv: often most economical and so the most common Disadv: very unrepresentative samples Disadv: often biased on the part of the researcher to choose ‘helpful’ participants Self Selecting Sampling Adv: relatively convenient Adv: usually ethical due to informed consent given Disadv: often unrepresentative samples Disadv: may be biased in terms of participant variables; volunteers are unlike non-volunteers in many ways Random sampling Adv: best chance of an unbiased sample Disadv: if a large target population it is very difficult to get a true random sample Stratified sampling Adv: a deliberate effort is made to identify characteristics of a sample in order to make it representative Disadv: can be very time consuming in identifying sub-categories
  4. 4. Issues Ethics Issues include consent, harm, deception, confidentiality, debriefing, withdrawal Adv: It may simulate a realistic situation Adv: The ends justify the means of getting the results Disadv: Something may go badly wrong Disadv: Discourages future participation in research Disadv: Lowers the status of psychology Ecological Validity This involves research using everyday situations so that behaviour isnatural. This may be described in terms of the setting/ the nature of the task/ the sample used. Adv: using everyday situations so that behaviour isnatural. Adv: allows findings to be generalised to other situations or participants Disadv: Research is often in field settings so control of extraneous variables is very difficult Disadv: There are potentially ethical problems if research is carried out in natural settings, participants are not always giving consent, may be deceived, have no right to withdraw and there may be no debrief Snapshot studies Adv: Quick way to collect data, especially if long term development is not relevant Adv: Can be good way of getting preliminary evidence before getting locked into expensive longitudinal study Adv: May give an indication of how people may behave in the future Adv: Data is likely to be quantitative and therefore we can apply statistical tests to it Disadv: Not possible to study how behaviour changes over time, cannot see the long term effects, impact of treatment, exposure to certain stimuli Disadv: Behaviour recorded is limited to that time, culture and place, cannot see development Disadv: Data is likely to be quantitative and therefore does not give us explanations for the behaviour Longitudinal studies Adv: Less bias from subject variables/individual differences Adv: In some areas such as abnormal psychology, it is the only way to get information as to how a disorder/behaviour progresses/develops Disadv: Time consuming and likely to be expensive Disadv: Likely to lose participants due to attrition/drop out Disadv: Very difficult to replicate exactly, loses reliability Quantitative Approach Quantitative data is data where behaviour is measured in numbers orquantities. Adv: Numbers allow statistics to be applied and comparisons of participants in different conditions to be made Adv: Data is objective and more scientific Disadv: Results are often produced in isolation causing them to be reductionist and may only be gained from a snapshot study Disadv: It ignores the subjective element and explanations for why the behaviour occurred
  5. 5. Qualitative Approach Qualitative data is data that cannot be quantified but it expresses a completedescriptive, in-depth and insightfulaccount of what people think or feel. Adv: In depth data, rich in detail, insightful and therefore not reductionist Adv: Can help us understand why people behave in a certain way Disadv: difficult to make statistical comparisons Disadv: May be problems of interpretation. Words and descriptions are more subjective than numbers and are more open to bias or misinterpretation Disadv: May be prone to researcher bias as they can select the information they want to use to fit their hypothesis Disadv: Participants may give socially desirable answers

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