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  1. 1. Edexcel GCSE 9-1 Psychology Topic 11 Research Methods Understanding research methods (pp. 143-144) Learning objectives: 1) To learn about the different types of research methods used by psychologists. 2) To understand the types of research for which they are suitable. 3) To consider the strengths and weaknesses of each research method. Task 1: Key terminology: try to write it in your own words! Type of experiment Definition Examples Laboratory experiment Field experiment Natural experiment Task 2: Answer the following questions: 1) List two features of a laboratory experiment. 2) What do we mean by IV and DV? 3) What were the IV and DV in Bartlett’s The War of the Ghosts study? [1]
  2. 2. 4) Describe how you would design a laboratory experiment to test the influence of exercise on sleep. In your description, you should include variables, apparatus, research and experimental design, and controls. (5 marks) 5) List two features of a field experiment. 6) What is a strength of a field experiment? 7) What were the main features of Piliavin et al’s. (1969) experiment that identify it as a field experiment? 8) What do we mean when we say that natural experiments are generally ‘opportunistic’? 9) Look back at Charlton et al’s. (2000) study from Criminal Psychology. Identify the IV in this study. Task 3: Complete the following table: [2]
  3. 3. Strengths Weaknesses Lab experiment Field experiment Natural experiment Task 4: Identify what type of experiment is being described in the following examples: a) Researchers wanted to see whether using animals in a local residential care home for the elderly improved the residents’ feelings of well-being. b) Researchers set up an experiment at a local train station to see if people were able to identify the perpetrator of a staged crime. c) Researchers conducted a memory experiment in a controlled setting to see if people recalled more words from a list that was either organised or randomly arranged. Edexcel GCSE 9-1 Psychology Topic 11 Research Methods Interviews (pp. 144-146) [3]
  4. 4. Learning objectives: 1) To learn about the different types of research methods used by psychologists. 2) To understand the types of research for which they are suitable. 3) To consider the strengths and weaknesses of each research method. Task 1: Key terminology – try to write in your own words! Definition Examples Interview Structured interview Interview schedule Semi-structured interview Unstructured interview Social desirability bias Interviewer effect Task 2: Answer the following questions: 1) What does an interview involve? 2) In what types of formats can interviews be carried out? 3) Which format do you think is the most useful? Explain your answer. [4]
  5. 5. 4) Explain how a structured interview, semi-structured interview and an unstructured interview differ. Task 3: Exam-style question A researcher wanted to investigate the impact of a new postnatal care programme on a small, local maternity ward. The researchers were interested in what women felt about the postnatal experience and if they thought it could be improved. Explain what type of interview would be most suitable for this type of investigation. (3 marks) Task 4: Complete the following table. Strengths and weaknesses of interviews: Strengths Weaknesses Structured interviews Semi-structured interviews Unstructured interviews [5]
  6. 6. Task 5: Recap: Read the following article: A group of psychology students wanted to conduct an investigation to see if a new design of key pad on a mobile phone had an influence on texting speed. They put a notice on the board of the sixth form common room, asking people who wanted to participate to come to a particular classroom on a designated day. Seventeen people arrived to participate. Individuals were first asked to use their own mobile phone. They were asked to enter the researcher’s telephone number in the address bar. When they had all done this, at the sound of a buzzer, they all had to type in the words to the song “Happy birthday” as quickly and they could and then press the send button. After this, all participants were given the new mobile phones. They were given two minutes to practise on the new key board. The researchers then stopped them and instructed all participants to enter the designated phone number in the address bar. The same procedure was then followed as previously, with participants being required to type in the words to “Happy birthday” as quickly as they could and then press send. 1) Identify the IV in this experiment. 2) Identify the DV in this experiment. 3) How was the DV measured? 4) What sampling method was used? 5) Which was the control condition? 6) What experimental design was used? Edexcel GCSE 9-1 Psychology Topic 11 Research Methods Questionnaires (pp. 146-147) Learning objectives: 1) To learn about the different types of research methods used by psychologists. 2) To understand the types of research for which they are suitable. [6]
  7. 7. 3) To consider the strengths and weaknesses of each research method. Task 1: Key terminology – try to write it in your own words! Definition Examples Questionnaires Closed-ended questions Open-ended questions Task 2: Design a questionnaire to find out about people’s social media habits. Your questionnaire must contain at least 10 questions containing open-ended questions, closed-ended questions and some Likert-type questions. Task 3: Complete the table illustrating the strengths and weaknesses of questionnaires. Strengths Weaknesses Inexpensive because… Ethical because… [7]
  8. 8. Lack of social desirability because… Response rate is low so… Produce quantitative data so… Respondents may not feel the right option is available to them so… Open-ended questions offer more freedom… Open-ended questions are more difficult to analyse so… Task 4: Exam-style questions: 1) State one strength of a questionnaire. (2 marks) 2) State one weakness of a questionnaire. (2 marks) 3) Describe what is meant by open-ended questions. (2 marks) 4) Describe what is meant by closed-ended questions. (2 marks) Edexcel GCSE 9-1 Psychology Topic 11 Research Methods Correlations (pp. 147-148) Learning objectives: 1) To learn about the different types of research methods used by psychologists. 2) To understand the types of research for which they are suitable. 3) To consider the strengths and weaknesses of each research method. [8]
  9. 9. Task 1: Key terminology – try to write it in your own words! Definition Picture Correlation Co-variables Positive correlation Negative correlation Task 2: Identify whether each of the following is appositive correlation, a negative correlation or no correlation at all. a) As temperature rises, ice cream sales increase. b) Time spent on social media decreases grades at GCSE level. c) Parents who have university degrees have children with university degrees. d) The more you revise, the higher your grades at A-level. e) The less rainfall, the drier the ground is. f) The higher the rate of vaccination, the lower the occurrence of the disease. g) The higher you go above sea level, the lower the temperature. h) The more time you spend running on the treadmill, the more calories you will burn. i) As you spend more hours in direct sunlight, the more likely you are to get severe sunburn. j) As a child goes, so does their clothing size. Task 3: Complete the following points to demonstrate that you understand the strengths and weaknesses of correlations: Point Explanation A strength of correlations is they are useful for examining relationships between many variables… A further strength is [9]
  10. 10. correlations compare co- variable rather than manipulate behaviour. A weakness of a correlation is that a cause and effect cannot be established. Task 4: Exam questions: 1) Explain one weakness of correlations. (2 marks) 2) Explain on strength of correlations. (2 marks) Stretch: Write two more exam questions about correlations. Now, answer them. Edexcel GCSE 9-1 Psychology Topic 11 Research Methods Case Studies and Observations (pp. 148 - 150) Learning objectives: 1) To learn about the different types of research methods used by psychologists. 2) To understand the types of research for which they are suitable. 3) To consider the strengths and weaknesses of each research method. Key terminology: Case study A study of a single person, group or event. Task 1: Answer the following questions: [10]
  11. 11. 1) How many people does a case study generally focus on? 2) What types of research methods are used in case studies? Why would this be? 3) What types of people are case studies generally used on? Explain why. Task 2: Complete the following table outlining the strength and weaknesses of case studies: Strengths Weaknesses They can be used in situations… They cannot be replicated… They provide in-depth… They are not generalisable… They can stimulate new research… Researcher bias can occur… Homework: Investigate the case study of Genie or Koluchova’s Czech Twins (both from the area of child psychology). Why were case studies carried out in these cases? What research methods were used? What did the researchers find? Task 3: Key terminology: try to write it in your own words. Definition Picture Observation Naturalistic observation Overt observation [11]
  12. 12. Covert observation Participant observation Non-participant observation Inter-rater reliability Observer bias Task 4: Read each of the following examples and decide which type of observation they were. (covert vs. overt, participant vs. non-participant, naturalistic vs. laboratory) – careful – there may be some studies that are not observations. a) Bandura’s Bobo doll study where the children watched an adult playing with a doll and the experimenters watched from a one-way mirror. b) Gunderson et al – looking at parental praise given to children in their homes. c) Ainsworth – placed mothers, their babies and a stranger in a playroom and observed how the child reached when the mother left the child. d) Damasio et al – they made a3D replica of Phineas Gage’s skull using his actual skull as a guide. e) Researchers watched wild chimpanzees in Tanzania. f) Festinger – he joined a religious cult and then observed what happened when the end of the world did not come and how the cult members reached. g) Charlton et el. – the island of St Helena finally got TV in the late 1990s. The researchers observed how the children’s behaviour changed after the introduction of TV. h) Milgram’s obedience experiment – the researchers watched the behaviour of the ‘teacher’ from another room. i) Bartlett used serial reproduction and repeated reproduction to test recall of a story. Task 5: Complete the following table to show the strengths and weaknesses of observations as a research method. Strengths Weaknesses They can be unreliable… Observations can lack validity because… [12]
  13. 13. The reliability can be checked using inter-rater… There may be ethical issues such as … Task 6: Exam style question. Top tip – explain which type of observation you are referring to. 1) Explain one strength and one weaknesses of an observation. (4 marks) 2) Participant observation occurs when a researcher actually takes part in the everyday life activities of a certain social group. TRUE FALSE 3) Which of the following types of observations is conducted in secrecy, where the identity and intentions of the researcher are hidden from the group? OVERT COVERT NON-PARTICIPANT PARTICIPANT 4) Which of the following are weaknesses of overt observations? (select 2) a) THEY PRODUCE LOTS OF ETHICAL ISSUES b) THE RESEACHER MORE LIKELY TO BE REFUSED ACCESS c) THEY CAN PRODUCE THE ‘HAWTHORNE’ EFFECT d) THE RESEACHER CAN ASK TOO MANY QUESTIONS 5) Which of the following are weaknesses of covert observation? (select 3) a) THEY PRODUCE LOTS OF ETHIC ISSUES, SUCH AS DECEPTION b) THEY ARE LESS LIKELY TO BE ACDCEPTED c) THE RESEARCHER CANNOT ASK CLARIFYING QUESTIONS d) THERE IS STILL A POSSIBILITY OF THE ‘HAWTHORNE EFFECT’ e) OBSERVATIONS AREN’T TRUE TO LIFE [13]
  14. 14. 6) General weaknesses of observations include… (select 3) a) NOT TRUE TO LIFE b) TIME AND MONEY ARE CONSUMED c) THE DATA PRODUCED IS NOT DETAILED d) THEY ARE VERY UNRELIABLE e) THEY ARE OFTEN NOT REPRESENTATIVE 7) A key strength of structured observations is that they a) DO NOT RELY ON THE RESEARCHER’S ABILITY TO TAKE NOTES b) DO NOT IMPOSE ANY EXPECTATIONS ON THE BEHAVOUR OF THE RESPONDENTS c) THE RESEARCHER IS IMMERSED AS A PARTICIPANT IN THE FIELD THEY ARE STUDYING d) ALLOW YOU TO OBSERVE PEOPLE’S BEHAVIOUR DIRECTLY. [14]

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