OCR SPEC UNITS 1 &
AS PSYCHOLOGY COURSE HANDBOOK
Welcome to the Psychology Department at Academy 6. This
Handbook will guide you through your course. Please keep it safe
and bring it along to all our sessions.
Welcome to AS Psychology 3
How to Succeed 3-4
Course Outline 5
Subject Content AS
Psychological Investigations 6
Methods used by Psychologists 7-14
Glossary of psychology research terms 16-19
Ethical guidelines for research 20-21
Subject Content AS Core Studies 22-23
Themes & Perspectives 24-25
Studying the core studies, helpful hints! 26-27
The Approaches/perspectives, issues, 28-29
and methods arising from the core studies
Assessment Objectives 30
The AS Exams 31
Useful websites and the intranet 32-33
Linking AS to A2 Psychology 34
Core Studies Evaluation Sheet 35-36
Welcome to AS Psychology!
Psychology Staff: Vicki Wilken and Ruth Grier
We would like to welcome you to the course. Psychology is a fascinating subject. It will teach you
a variety of skills that will enable you to link to other scientific disciplines, i.e. biology, sociology,
philosophy, and critical thinking.
How to Succeed!!
Your brain is a muscle, if you do not use it, you will lose it! Follow these simple steps to realise
Attend 100% of your Psychology Lessons.
Be 100% punctual to your lessons.
Come equipped to your lessons with your working folder, textbook, calculator and pens.
Hand in all homework assignments, completed to the best of your ability, by the
Achieve your minimum target grade on all assignments and tests.
Complete the weekly set reading and summary notes.
Catch up promptly on any notes, assignments and tests missed through absence.
Attend subject extensions when you or your teacher identifies that you need help to
Work with commitment on classroom activities.
Comply with the Psychology Health and Safety requirements.
Monitoring your Progress Prepare or prepare to fail!
Every term I will carry out a review of your progress. You will get a report of;
Your attendance and punctuality
Your homework submission
Your homework grades
Your test and tracking test grades
An effort grade
WHAT YOU SHOULD EXPECT FROM US
1) Clear guidance about the content of the specification and its assessment.
2) Assignments set and marked promptly with positive and constructive feedback.
3) Feedback on your progress and constructive target setting through testing marked work
and individual progress reviews.
4) Guidance about effective study habits and preparation for examinations.
5) A willingness to be available for students needing help or advice about their work.
6) A positive, healthy and safe environment from which to fully engage in all areas of
As part of the course you will learn about 15 Core Psychological Research Studies in depth. You
are required to read each study before we start to look at it in class. You need to spend at least 4.5
hrs each week on studying Psychology outside of lesson times. The classes are for supplementing
your individual learning and you must turn up to class properly prepared. Reading the core
studies and making notes on them in advance will give you a head start in identifying key issues.
SETTING YOUR OWN TARGETS
Reflecting on your experience at GCSE, what are your strengths as a student?
What are your areas for development? Action I will take over the next 3 weeks.
AS Psychology Course Outline
The syllabus is set by the Oxford, Cambridge and RSA Examination board
(OCR). It is summarised as follows.
AS Unit G541: Psychological Investigations, Exam Date: Wed 13th Jan 2009 am
In this unit, you will be involved in the design and conduct of small-scale
research activities throughout the teaching unit. You will keep a written record
of these activities.
As Unit G542: Core Studies, Exam Date: Thurs 10th June 2009 am
This unit looks at 15 core studies in depth, helping you to build on the skills you
would have acquired throughout unit G541.
2.1 AS Units
Unit G541: Psychological Investigation
Candidates will need to be familiar with four techniques for collecting/analysing data.
2• Experiment (repeated measures and independent measures, matched subjects
Candidates will be required to answer questions relating to:
1• An outline of an existing piece of research;
2• The data produced by a piece of a research;
3• An outline of a proposed piece of research.
Unit G542: Core Studies
1• Fifteen core studies; three studies from each of the five approaches: social, cognitive,
physiological, developmental and individual differences.
2• Issues, debates, perspectives and methods arising from the studies.
Subject Content AS Unit G541: Psychological Investigations
You will need to be familiar with the following four techniques for collecting and
Self-report; There are many techniques for gathering self report data.
These range from the superficial survey of many people to
the in-depth assessment of individuals. You will
demonstrate knowledge and understanding of rating scales
and open and closed questions and the strengths and
weaknesses of each.
Experiment; All experimental methods involve the manipulation of an
Independent Variable (IV) and the control of all other
variables. This means that the effect of changing the IV can
be assessed (measured) in terms of change in the Dependent
Variable. In other words this allows us to test Cause and
You will need to know about independent measures and
repeated measures and the strengths and weaknesses of
Observation; Psychologists often simply observe behaviour in real life
situations without manipulation of the IV. Observations
involve the precise measurement of behaviour in an
objective way. You will need to know about participant and
structured observation, time sampling and event sampling
and the strengths and weaknesses of each.
Correlation; Correlation is a method of data analysis used when we want
to test for an association between two variables (unlike an
experiment, when we are usually testing for a difference
between two conditions). A positive correlation means that
as one variable increases so does the other, and a negative
correlation means that as one variable increases the other
decreases. This does not tell you that there is a cause and
effect relationship between two variables, only that there is
some form of relationship between them. Correlational data
may be plotted on a scatter gram and analysed using
statistical techniques to give a correlation coefficient.
METHODS USED BY PSYCHOLOGISTS
All experimental methods involve the manipulation of an
INDEPENDENT VARIABLE (IV) and the CONTROL of all other
variables. This means that the effect of changing the IV can be
assessed (measured) in terms of change in the DEPENDENT
VARIABLE. In other words, this allows us to test CAUSE and
In the laboratory the experimenter deliberately manipulates the
independent variable (IV) and maintains strict control over all
other variables. See the Core Studies by Loftus and Palmer
(eye witness testimony) and Bandura, Ross and Ross (imitation
of aggression) as examples of laboratory experiments.
ψ Manipulation of the IV ψ Total control over all
indicates cause and variables is not possible
effect relationships. ψ Artificial conditions may
ψ Increased control and produce unnatural
accurate measurement behaviour that lacks
ψ Standardised ecological validity
procedures, therefore ψ Results likely to be
replication possible biased by sampling,
ψ May raise ethical
problems of deception
Field experiments are carried out in a natural environment but
the IV is still manipulated by the experimenter. See the Core
Study by Piliavin, Rodin and Piliavin (Subway Samaritan) as an
ψ Greater ecological ψ Difficulty in controlling the
validity situation, therefore more
ψ Less likelihood of bias from extraneous
demand characteristics variables
(if participants are ψ Difficult to replicate
unaware of study) ψ Time consuming
ψ Ethical problems of
invasion of privacy etc.
These take place in circumstances which allow the researcher
to examine the effect of a naturally occurring independent
variable (often used where artificial manipulation would be
impossible or unethical). Quasi-experiments are any
experiments where control is lacking over the IV. Sperry (split-
brains) did not manipulate a variable but examine its effects.
ψ Greater ecological ψ Difficult to infer cause
validity – since the and effect due to lack of
change in the IV is control over extraneous
natural variables and no
ψ If participants are manipulation of IV
unaware of being studied ψ Impossible to replicate
there will be very little exactly
bias from demand ψ May be subject to bias if
characteristics participants know they
ψ Allows researchers to are being studied
investigate areas that ψ Ethical problems of
would otherwise be consent, deception,
unavailable to them invasion of privacy etc
ψ Increased validity of
findings due to lack of
Psychologists often simply observe behaviour in real life
situations without manipulation of the IV. Observations involve
the precise measurement of behaviour in an objective way.
Naturalistic observation involves the recording of
spontaneously occurring behaviour in the participant’s own
ψ Hiqh ecological validity ψ Cannot infer cause and
(especially if observer is effect relationships
hidden) between variables that
ψ Can be used to generate are only observed and
ideas for or validate not manipulated
findings from ψ Lack of control means
experimental studies replication difficult
ψ Often the only practical ψ Risks of observer bias
or ethical method for ψ Ethical problems:
certain research invasion of privacy
Controlled observation involves the recording of spontaneously
occurring behaviour but under conditions contrived by the
examiner. The Core Study by Dement & Kleitman (dreaming)
was a controlled observation
ψ More control than ψ Low ecological validity
naturalistic observation ψ Demand characteristics
ψ Can allow more accurate ψ Behaviour may be
observations Greater unnatural if aware of
control = easier being observed
replication ψ Cause and effect cannot
ψ Avoids problems of be inferred
etc(unless observer and
research purpose are
hidden from participants)
Participant observations involve the researcher being involved
in the everyday life of the subjects, either with or without their
knowledge. The Core Study by Rosenhan (sane in insane
places) is an example of participant observation.
ψ Very high ecological ψ Difficult to record data
validity if researcher promptly and objectively
‘undisclosed’ ψ Impossible to replicate
ψ Very detailed and in- ψ Researcher's presence
depth knowledge can be may change situation or
gained behaviour of participants
ψ Researcher gains 'first- ψ Ethical problems,
hand' knowledge (not especially deception,
'second-hand' as with consent and
surveys etc.) confidentiality
ψ Cause and effect cannot
Techniques similar to observation also exist for the observation
of material such as television programmes or newspaper
reports (content analysis) and for the observation of speech
There are many techniques for gathering self report data.
These range from the superficial survey of many people to the
in-depth assessment of individuals.
All interviews involve direct (face to face) questioning of the
participant by the researcher but they differ in how structured
the questions are. Generally the advantages are that they
produce a great deal of useful data (especially about internal
mental states / beliefs / opinions) but a disadvantage is that
relying on self report methods may not be reliable.
Contain fixed questions and structured ways of replying (yes /
ψ Easy to quantify and ψ Data may be distorted
analyse due to restricted
ψ Reliable, replicable and answers
generalisable ψ Some important
information may be
Contain guidelines for questions to be asked, but phrasing etc.
are left up to the interviewer and some questions may be
open-ended. Clinical interviews are 'semi-structured' (e.g.
used in therapeutic contexts and by Piaget to explore
children's cognitive development).
ψ Fairly flexible and ψ Less reliable - open to
sensitive experimenter bias.
ψ Fairly reliable and easy to ψ Data is harder to analyse
analyse ψ Difficult to replicate
This method may contain a topic area for discussion but no
fixed questions or ways of answering the questions. The
interviewer is able to ask for clarification or explore answers in
more detail. The core study by Thigpen & Cleckley used
interviews to gather information.
ψ Data is highly detailed ψ No standardisation - so
and valid less reliable.
ψ Very flexible and ψ Difficult to replicate and
unconstrained difficult to generalise
ψ Difficult to analyse
Questionnaires are written methods of gaining data from
participants. They do not necessarily require the presence of a
researcher. They include attitude scales and opinion surveys
and may involve closed or open-ended questions.
ψ Large amounts of data ψ Lack flexibility
can be collected ψ Based on self report (i.e.
relatively quickly and may not tell the
cheaply, which increases truth/memory may be
representativeness and unreliable)
generalisability ψ Social desirability bias,
ψ Replicable acquiescence, response
ψ Closed questions are set
easy to score / analyse ψ Very low response rate
statistically to postal questionnaires
Questionnaires also include PSYCHOMETRIC TESTS such as
personality and IQ tests which, when standardised, are easy to
administer and score, and allow us to make comparisons
between individuals, especially in applied settings. However, it
is difficult to construct reliable and valid tests. Some
psychometric tests such as projective tests are much more
Correlation is a method of data analysis used when we want to
test for an association between two variables (unlike an
experiment, when we are usually testing for a difference
between two conditions). A positive correlation means that as
one variable increases so does the other, and a negative
correlation means that as one variable increases the other
decreases. This does not tell you that there is a cause and
effect relationship between these two variables, only that there
is some form of relationship between them.
Correlational data may be plotted on a scatter gram and
analysed using statistical techniques to give a correlation
ψ Gives precise information ψ No cause and effect can
on the degree of be inferred.
relationship between ψ Correlation coefficients
variables may miss interesting
ψ No manipulation of patterns in data
behaviour is required so ψ Technique is subject to
can be used in situations any problems associated
where experimentation with the method used to
would be impossible or collect data
ψ In some cases, strong
can suggest ideas for
experimental studies to
determine cause and
Such articles are produced when researchers do not obtain
their own data (primary data) but instead read and review a
great many studies already published and draw general
conclusions from them.
ψ Large amounts of data ψ Studies being reviewed
can be examined may be flawed.
ψ Brings research together ψ Reviewer may be biased
often for the first time- ψ Difficult to ensure that a
increases knowledge representative sample of
ψ Easier to access than all the relevant literature
many original papers is reviewed
Long term and detailed study of an individual or particular
group. The case study method is often applied to unusual
examples of behaviour which may provide important insights
into psychological theories. The Core Studies by Freud (Little
Hans) and Thigpen and Cleckley (multiple personality) are
examples of case studies.
ψ Produce highly detailed ψ No cause and effect
and in-depth data which relationships can be
other methods might inferred.
miss ψ Cannot be generalised to
ψ Often the only suitable wider population
(or possible) method for ψ Low reliability due to
studying some forms of many case studies being
behaviour retrospective (memory
ψ Particularly appropriate distortion)
for the study of ψ Questioning may produce
'exceptional’ cases demand characteristics
ψ Researcher may
ψ Impossible to replicate
ψ Expensive and time
The researcher studies the same individuals over a period of
time so changes in relevant variables can be monitored. The
Core Study by Freud is an example of a longitudinal study.
ψ Can identify changes ψ Attrition: some
which are common to participants drop out
most people over the years, making
ψ Can compare the long their data of limited use
term effects of an ψ Expensive: requires long
experience term funding which may
(institutionalised and non be hard to get
institutionalised children) ψ Difficult to change the
study once started
ψ Can identify
ψ Findings may be out of
date by the end of the
could either persist or
ψ Social changes may
ψ No participant variables
affect the variables being
ψ Possible to study in measured
CROSS SECTIONAL or “SNAPSHOT” STUDIES
Cross sectional studies enable researchers to investigate
changes by comparing participants at different ages or stages
and studying them all at the same time. For example, instead
of following children from age 4 to 16 in a longitudinal study, we
could study children aged 4, 8, 12 and 16 simultaneously. This
is a quasi experiment and an example is the Samuel and Bryant
Core Study on cognitive development
ψ Provides immediate ψ Individual differences
results between groups can bias
ψ Cheaper than a results (although a large
longitudinal study sample may reduce this)
ψ Less likelihood of attrition ψ Social changes may
(participants dropping create differences
out) between groups (the 8
year olds may have
which the 12 year olds
ψ It tends to exaggerate
OVER TO YOU…
Use the following table to summarise the methods used in
psychology to collect data
METHOD ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
Psychology is a subject with its own language. You will need to
know what the following words mean and be able to use them. You
must complete this glossary. Use your course book and the books
in the LRC to help you find the meanings of the following words.
ETHICAL GUIDELINES FOR RESEARCH WITH
Investigators must consider the ethical The withholding of information or
implications and psychological the misleading of participants is
consequences for the participants in unacceptable if the participants are
their research. Threats to their typically likely to object or show
psychological well-being, health, values unease once debriefed.
or dignity should be eliminated Participants should never be
CONSENT deliberately misled without
extremely strong scientific or
Whenever possible, the investigator
should inform all participants of the
objectives of the investigation. DEBRIEFING
Research with children or with Debriefing does not provide a
participants who have impairments justification for unethical aspects of
that will limit understanding and / or any investigation. Some effects
communication (such as they are unable which may be produced by an
to give their real consent) requires experiment will not be negated by
special safeguarding procedures this process. Investigators have to
ensure that participants receive any
When research involves any person
necessary debriefing in the form of
under 16 years of age, consent should
active intervention before they leave
be obtained from parents or from those
the research setting.
in loco parentis.
Investigators should realise that they WITHDRAWAL
are often in a position of authority or (from the investigation)
influence over participants who may be At the onset of the investigation,
their students, employees or clients. investigators should make plain to
This relationship must not be allowed to participants their right to withdraw
pressurise the participant to take part from the research at any time,
in, or remain in, an investigation. irrespective of whether or not
The payment of participants must not payment or any other inducement
be used to induce them to risk harm has been offered.
beyond that which they risk without
payment in their normal lifestyle.
ETHICAL GUIDELINES cont…
Information obtained about a
participant during an investigation is
confidential unless otherwise agreed in
Investigators have a responsibility to
protect participants from physical and
mental harm. Where research may
involve behaviour or experiences that
participants may regard as personal and
private, the participants must be
protected from stress by all appropriate
measures, including the assurance that
answers to personal questions need not
In research involving children, caution
should be exercised when discussing
the results with parents and teachers.
Unless those observed give their
consent to being observed,
observational research is only
acceptable in situations where those
observed could expect to be observed
Subject Content AS Unit G542: Core Studies
You will examine 15 core studies. You will need to demonstrate a good sound
knowledge and understanding of each one.. You will evaluate and place the
studies in the wider perspective of psychological approaches/perspectives,
theories, issues, concepts and methods. You will be asked to make comparisons
and distinctions between a number of core studies as well as placing them within
the broader context of general debates within psychology.
The Core Studies
LOFTUS, E. & PALMER, J. (1974) Reconstruction of automobile destruction.
Journal of Verbal Learning & Verbal Behaviour. 13. 585-589
BARON-COHEN, S., JOLLIFFE, T., MORTIMORE, C. & ROBERTSON, M. (1997)
Another advanced test of theory of mind; evidence from very high functioning
adults with Autism or Asperger Syndrome. Journal of Child Psychology and
Psychiatry. 38: 813-822
SAVAGE-RUMBAUGH, S. Spontaneous Symbol Acquisition and
Communicative Use by Pygmy Chimpanzees.
SAMUEL, J. & BRYANT, P. (1984) Asking only one question in the conservation
Experiment. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 25. 315-318
BANDURA, A., ROSS, D. & ROSS, S. (1961) Transmission of aggression through
imitation of aggressive models. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. 63.
FREUD, S. (1909) Analysis of a phobia of a five year old boy. Pelican Freud
Library. Vol 8. Case Histories
MAGUIRE, E. A., GADIAN, D. G., JOHNSRUDE, I. S., GOOD,C. D.,
ASHBURNER, J., FRACKOWIAK, R.S. & FRITH, C. D. (2000) Navigation-related
structural changes in the hippocampi of taxi drivers. Proceedings of the National
Academy of Science, USA. 97. 4398-4403
DENENT, W. & KLEITMAN, N. (1957) The relation of eye movements during
sleep to dream activity. Journal of Experimental Psychology. 53 (5). 339-346
SPERRY, R. (1968) Hemispere deconnection and unity in consciousness.
American Psychologist. 23. 723-733
MILGRAM, S. (1963) Behavioural study of obedience. Journal of Abnormal and
Social Psychology. 67. 371-378
REICHER, S. & HASLAM, S. A. (2006) Rethinking the psychology of tyranny.
The BBC Prison study.
PILIAVIN, I., RODIN, J. & PILIAVIN, J. (1969) Good Samaritan; an underground
phenomenon? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 13 (4). 289-299
The Psychology of Individual Differences
ROSENHAN, D. (1973) On being insane in insane places. Science. 197. 250-258
THIGPEN, C. & CLECKLEY, H. (1954) A case of multiple personality. Journal of
Abnormal and Social Psychology. 49. 135-151
GRIFFITHS, M.D. (1994). The role of cognitive bias and skill in fruit machine
gambling. British Journal of Psychology. 85. 351-369
Research and theory surrounding each core study will be assessed. We need to
understand why the study was done (background and context); perhaps an event
that triggered. Sometimes a core study will be based on a theory that is a crucial
part of psychological knowledge. Occasionally a core study will stimulate further
research, either by the same author(s) or others. The table below indicates the
approaches/perspectives, issues, and methods arising from the core studies.
You need to relate this to each core study
Approaches • .Physiological
• Individual differences
Perspectives • Behaviourist
Methods • Experimental
• Case Study
• Methodological issues such as reliability and validity
Issues • Ethics
• Ecological validity
• Longitudinal and snapshot
• Qualitative and quantitative data
Candidates • Describe and evaluate each approach;
should be able to • Describe and evaluate various methodologies used by each
• Consider pertinent issues, perspectives and debates, context and
theory, strengths and limitations and the implications of core
studies of each approach.
THEMES & PERSPECTIVES
APPLICATION OF PSYCHOLOGY TO EVERYDAY LIFE
This refers to the extent to which we can explain everyday behaviours using the
results of the core studies. What practical applications might each study have?
This is the argument that our behaviour is determined by
factors outside our control. Behaviour may be determined by biological factors
such as genes or hormones or by situational factors such as the reinforcements
that we receive from others. The opposite argument is the free will argument
which states that individuals are free to choose how to behave. Most
psychological research is deterministic as it is trying to identify the factors or
variables that determine behaviour.
If a piece of research is high in ecological validity it is easy to relate to real life.
For example, an experiment conducted in very realistic conditions vvould be said
to be high in ecological validity and an experiment conducted in very artificial
conditions would be said to be low in ecological validity.
The British Psychological Society issues ethical guidelines for those engaged in
psychological research. These guidelines are basically a set of rules outlining
what is acceptable and what is not acceptable in research. For example,
participants in psychological research should give their informed consent before
the research starts, should not be deceived or distressed in any way and should
have the right to withdraw from the research made clear to them.
This is defined as the tendency to interpret human behaviour from the viewpoint
of our own ethnic, social or other group. This can lead to serious problems of
'scientific racism'. The term ethnocentrism is also used to refer to the tendency to
favour our own group over others.
INDIVIDUAL AND SITUATIONAL EXPLANATIONS
This refers to the explanations of behaviour offered by the studies. An individual
explanation would be something about the person (they fell over because they
are clumsy) and a situational explanation would be something about the
situation (they fell over because the floor was slippery). Some research suggests
individual explanations of behaviour and some suggests situational
NATURE AND NURTURE
This is a very important debate in psychology and concerns the relative
influences of inheritance and experience. Nature refers to the inherited or genetic
make up of a person and nurture refers to all other influences from the moment
of conception. Some of the core studies suggest the influence of inheritance and
others suggest the influence of experience. As with many of these debates, some
research suggests an interaction between the two.
Psychometric tests measure 'mental characteristics. These include intelligence
and personality and also aptitudes for certain jobs, and tendencies towards anti-
QUALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE MEASURES
Quantitative measures are numbers. Much research records behaviour in
quantitative ways, for example by counting the number of aggressive acts or by
asking people to rate their own behaviours or feelings on numerical scales.
Qualitative measures do not use numbers and rely more on descriptions and
interpretations of behaviour. Some research simply describes the behaviour of
some individuals and an alternative to a numerical rating scale would be a more
open-ended question where people simply describe how they feel.
This is the way in which psychologists often explain complex psychological
phenomena by reducing them to a much simpler level, often focusing on a single
factor. Most research is reductionist to an extent, as most experimental studies
choose to examine the influence of single factors on complex behaviours.
Another word for reliability is consistency. If a measure is reliable it will give you
consistent results. For example a reliable psychometric test will give you the
same (or similar) results if you test the same person on more than one occasion
and a reliable observation schedule will mean that two or more observers will
record the same results when observing the same behaviours.
This concept refers to the attempt to use the results of psychological research to
influence the behaviour of people. Some of the Core Studies have results which
have been or could be applied in this way.
USEFULNESS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH
This refers to the extent to which psychological research can be used to improve
something. This has obvious overlaps with Application of Psychology to
everyday life and it is worth considering the uses to which the findings from
each Core Study might be put.
Does a measure actually measure what it claims to be measuring? Does a test of
intelligence really measure intelligence or some other factor?
STUDYING THE CORE STUDIES – SOME HELPFUL
KNOWLEDGE & UNDERSTANDING
For each of the 15 core studies you will need to know the following:
DISCUSSION AND EVALUATION
Evaluation is not that hard. It means providing
a commentary on what you have learned. It
could include some or all of the points
below. You don’t have to be an expert in
psychology to evaluate a study – just
think about some of the following
points in relation to each one. All the
terms below will be explained and
discussed throughout the course. Don’t
be afraid to ask questions in class. The
chances are that everyone else is thinking the same
thing but is too embarrassed to ask and will be relieved that
someone has the nerve to. Your teachers are here to help, not bite.
When we have worked through each core study, we will go back and consider
some of the wider themes and issues.
ψ What STRENGTHS and WEAKNESSES of the way the study was
conducted can you think of? (Each method has strengths and weaknesses
which will be considered throughout the course.)
ψ How REALISTIC was the study? (Psychologists call this “ecological
ψ Was there any BIAS? (for instance, in selecting samples, or measuring
ψ Were there any features of the study that might have given the
participants “clues” as to how to behave? Psychologists call these
ψ What are the ETHICAL concerns with the study? For instance, did the
participants give informed consent? Did they suffer? Were they
deceived? Were they properly debriefed?
ψ How USEFUL was the research? Can you think of any practical
applications it might have?
The approaches/perspectives, issues, and methods arising
from the core studies
issues such as
AO1 Knowledge and Understanding
1• Recognise, recall and show understanding of scientific knowledge;
2• select, organise and communicate relevant information in a variety of forms,
including extended prose.
AO2 Application of Knowledge and Understanding
1• analyse and evaluate scientific knowledge when presenting arguments and ideas;
2• apply scientific knowledge to unfamiliar situations including those related to issues;
3• assess the validity, reliability and credibility of scientific information;
4• bring together scientific knowledge from different areas of the subject and apply
AO3 Science in Practice
1• demonstrate ethical, safe and skilful practical techniques selecting appropriate
qualitative and quantitative methods;
2• know how to make, record and communicate reliable and valid observations and
measurements with appropriate precision and accuracy, through using primary and
3• analyse, interpret, explain and evaluate the methodology, results and impact of their own
and others’ experimental and investigative activities in a variety of ways.
AO weightings in AS GCE
Unit % of AS GCE
AO1 AO2 AO3
AS Unit G541: Psychological 5 5 20 30%
AS Unit G542: Core Studies 30 28 12 70%
35% 33% 32% 100%
The AS Exams
AS GCE Psychology (H168)
AS Unit G541: Psychological Investigations
30% of the total This question paper has three sections:
AS GCE marks 1
h written paper
60 marks Section A: Candidates are required to answer all questions.
Section B: Candidates are required to answer all questions.
Section C: Candidates are required to answer all questions.
Candidates answer all questions.
AS Unit G542: Core Studies
70% of the total This question paper has three sections:
AS GCE marks 2
h written paper
120 marks Section A: Candidates are required to answer all questions.
Questions will be asked about specific detail of core studies, theories
on which studies are based, research surrounding core studies,
methods used by the core studies. Questions will also be asked about
issues and approaches raised by the core studies.
Section B: Candidates are required to answer one question.
Questions require considerable depth and knowledge of one core
Section C: Candidates are required to answer one question from a
choice of two. Questions focus on approaches, issues and methods.
Useful Websites and the Intranet Wiki
You will be able to access the college’s intranet site; wiki. If you have any
problems speak to your tutor. Wiki is a fantastic resource, which is available to
all students. You will be able to access it from your home computer, as well as
from the college computers.
Wiki has lots of information as well as links to fabulous websites to support your
learning. You will also find handouts that you can download, if you have had to
miss a class. Announcements are also posted here, such as work set if a teacher is
absent. So make sure you check the site regularly! You will also find the
mandatory on-line tests on Wiki and lesson updates. If you miss a lesson, you are
expected to check on Wiki what you have missed and catch yourself up before
the next lesson.
Please bear in mind that computers can be a black hole when it comes to time. It
is worth having a look at some interesting websites, but be careful not to get too
carried away on unfocused browsing. They can be fascinating, too, so use wisely
and enrich your experience of psychology.
To find the complete specification, look under qualification type: AS/A level
GCE; Psychology. You are strongly advised to study this document. Definitely
look at the course specification and look out for such items as specimen exam
papers. Please see OCR's website at:
Your best friend during the course should be the Holah website. It is crammed
full of very useful information and is specifically designed for the OCR AS
Psychology course. If you are feeling a little frustrated you can always try the
‘whack a Freud’ reaction time game! You will find the site at:
LEARN SOME STUFF
This is a great site, also designed specifically for the OCR syllabus. Definitely
worth a look. Find it at:
OTHER SITES WORTH A VISIT
www.garysturt.free-online.co.uk provides summaries of the core studies,
information on themes and perspectives and links to other sites.
www.psychology.org is a veritable encyclopaedia. Don't be overwhelmed.
www.bbc.co.uk/knowledge is good, but aim to stick to psychology!
www.bps.org.uk is the website of The British Psychological Society if you are
interested in continuing to study and possibly pursue a career in psychology
This is the book that you are required to bring to class for OCR
OCR Psychology: AS Core Studies and Research
By Philip Banyard, Cara Flanagan
• List Price: £17.50
• ISBN: 978-1-84169-728-4
• Published by: Psychology Press
NB: for recommendations for further reading, please see Blackboard.
AS PSYCHOLOGY CORE STUDIES EVALUATION
Choose THREE issues / themes and comment briefly on the named Core Study in relation to each issue /
Issue / theme 1:
Issue /theme 2:
Issue / theme 3: