Psychological Research and Scientific Method A2 Workbook Is Psychology a science?You will need to recall the associated debate that you have already covered and usethe notes related to this.Visit the website www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/may/03/medicalresearch.healthRead the news article. Quite often we can be fooled by information that appears to bescientific and objective. Can you identify the type of bias that is prominent? Whatother issues can often occur as a result of press coverage? 1
If Science isn’t always objective how can Psychology possibly fulfil all the criteria? List all the key terminology that you can think of that reflect the major features of science IfPsychology mainly deals with subjective factors like feelings or attitudes can they ever beconsidered scientific?Read p276-277Did Kuhn consider Psychology was scientific ?What did Popper propose? 2
Validating new knowledge and the role of peer review p278-279 In order to be published research has to undergo peer review. Peers do not always manage to encourage falsification, or detect fraudulent research and plagiarism. What are these?Selection and application of research methodsYou may have to consider in a question what research method to use in a specific scenario.What methods could you use to research the following subjects? Identify their strengthsand weaknesses. 1. An anorexic’s attitudes to food. 2. The link between illness and stress. 3. The aggression displayed by politicians in a pre-election debate! 4. Predicting people’s voting behaviour. 5. The effect of taking RedBull on concentration. 3
Identify the 3 types of research design recalling their advantages anddisadvantages. Remember that some disadvantages can be overcome. 4
SamplingDon’t forget that in order to do research you have to go out and select your victims. Youneed to read over the sampling methods handout. The piece of research you are presentedwith may have sampling issues such as gender or social bias. Remember that psychologistsoften do not seek to be representative of society in general. They want to focus on aspecific group. This is called --------- or ----------- sampling. Ethical Guidelines Remember that BPS ethical principles have to be adhered to. Think back to Unit 2. List guidelines that you hopefully adhered to when undertaking your independent research on perception 5
Data analysis and reporting on investigationsThis really reflects all the skills and factors that you considered for your research.Conventions of reporting This refers to how a piece of scientific research is set out. Thereport starts with an abstract and ends with a discussion of the results, suggesting futureresearch on the topic. Keep the copy of your research to refer to when you go touniversity. Remember that it is presented in the past tense and third person!Graphical representation What would you use to summarise data for the following typesof results? 1. Food preferences for different ethnic groups. 2. The relationship between two variables. 3. Recall performance for a list of items from LTM, using a sample of students in a specific year group.Probability and statistical significanceProbability refers to the fact that the results from research are not due to ------.The level of significance that is usually adopted is 0.05 or can be written as a percentageof __ . A level of 0.01 is more --------- and is used for ------- research.Using a suitable level of significance will iron out the chance of Type 1 and Type 2 errors.Explain what these are : 6
Selecting the right most appropriate inferential statistical testIt is important that the right test is applied in order to find out if the results support theoriginal hypothesis.Understand the flow diagram which aids selection. In the exam you will only be askedwhich test is most appropriate for a given set of results. The specifications do not requireyou to calculate an answer so you can sigh with relief!What is the difference between nominal and ordinal data?Which test is used for checking nominal data?Which test is used for correlations?The test for repeated measures is called:That for independent groups:All of the above are known as non parametric tests and are relatively free of restrictionsrelating to their use. Parametric tests are usually used for more precise measurementsand are more stringent. What is the difference between Interval and Ratio data? (see p39) Analysis and interpretation of qualitative data Finally remind yourself how it is possible to interpret and analyse qualitative data. Explain how it can be both valid and reliable.