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Resourcd File

  1. 1. Design a questionnaire to investigate factors which act as a risk for addictions The aim of the study is to investigate factors which act as a risk for addictions. We will use a non-experimental method, that of a questionnaire. We are interested in finding out about all risk factors, for example: self-esteem; attributions for addictions; social context; personality; observational learning; and socio-economic status. These are our variables of interest; there is no DV or IV. Questions will be piloted prior to the study ‘proper’ to ensure that they are easy to understand, are free from bias, and are easy to analyse. They will include both open and closed questions, and will yield a combination of quantitative and qualitative data. Examples of open questions include “Do you see alcohol as harmless?”, “Where were you raised and where do you live now?’”. Examples of closed questions include “How many people in your family use drugs?”, “How many units of alcohol do you consume in a week on average?”, and “What was the occupation of your mother and father?” Our sample will consist of 30 participants, 15 of each gender and of varying ages above the age of 16. Opportunity sampling will be used to recruit participants and we will go to various locations such as health centres, drop in centres, needle exchanges or Alcoholics Anonymous in order to recruit people with as wide a range of addictions as possible. Ethical issues will be dealt with by producing standardised instructions which will be printed on the top of each questionnaire. These will also act as the consent form, and will convey participants’ right to withdraw, to privacy, confidentiality and anonymity. Debriefing will also be carried out after the questionnaire has been completed. In this participants will be given the option to receive a copy of the final results of the study, and will be given the option of counselling if they wish. Data gathering will begin with the Psychologists standing outside a chosen location (such as drop in centres) and asking people if they would like to participate in the study. Willing participants will then be taken to a quiet place and given time to fill out the questionnaire. All participants will be asked to be honest in their responses, and to not think too much about what the study is looking for in an attempt to control for social desirability bias and demand characteristics. Materials needed will be a box of pens, 35 printed questionnaires with standardised instructions. Both qualitative and quantitative data will be collected. Content analysis will be used to analyse the qualitative data. Totals and descriptive statistics will be used to analyse the numerical data. Research Methods PSYA4 May 2011 Vicky Newham
  2. 2. Design a laboratory experiment on memory The aim of the study is to investigate whether participants remember words related to food or words related to sport. This will be investigated using an experimental method, that of a laboratory experiment. The hypothesis will be non-directional, as previous research is mixed, and predicts that type of word will affect the accurate recall of those words. The dependent variable (DV) will be the number of words recalled correctly. The independent variable (IV) will be the type of words shown. An opportunity sample of twenty A-level students will be used for the experiment. All participants will be over the age of sixteen. The experiment will use an independent groups design, with ten students viewing words related to food (eg. potato, bread, cheese), and another ten students viewing words related to sport (eg. football, tennis, swimming). A number of extraneous variables will be controlled to prevent them confounding the DV. These include gender as it could be argued that males may be more keen on sport, and therefore may remember such words better. Also, if any of the students are studying Psychology they mare guess the aim of the study and immediately start rehearsing the words. Word length may also confound results. Accordingly, no Psychology students will be allowed to take part; the sample will consist of half males and half females; and attempts will be made to use words of a similar length. Participants will be approached in the Sixth Form common room and asked if they would like to participate. Standardised instructions will be read to them to explain what the study involves, and to deal with the ethical issues of informed consent, right to withdraw, confidentiality and privacy. Participants who consent will then be allocated to either the ‘food’ group or the ‘sport’ group. They will then be shown into a quiet room where they will be shown ten words followed by a memory test asking them to recall as many of the words as they can. Once participants have completed the experiment, they will be debriefed and offered a copy of the results. The materials needed will be sheets with the words on them; standardised instructions; paper and pens to write with. The data collected will be ordinal. As the study used an independent groups design, Mann Whitney will be used to analyse the data to see if there is a significant difference between the recall of the two groups. Research Methods PSYA4 May 2011 Vicky Newham
  3. 3. Design an interview on employee stress The aim of the study is to investigate sources of stress in employees. A non-experimental method will be used, that of an interview. The interview will be semi-structured so as to gain the main benefits of both a structured interview (that it has good replicability) and an unstructured interview (that extra questions can be added in, and anxiety-provoking ones omitted). The variables of interest are all factors which could contribute to stress in employees, including workplace stressors and bio-psycho-social ones outside the workplace. Interview questions will be piloted for clarity, freedom from bias, and ease of analysis. Some will be closed questions (eg. “How many hours do you spend at work?”) as well as open questions (eg. “How do you feel about your job?”). They will ask about physical factors at work, responsibilities, and relationships. Participants will be asked about factors at home that might add to workplace stress, (eg life events) health problems, exercise habits, family history. A large volunteer sample of both genders will be recruited, with as large an age range as possible. All participants must be over 16 years. The sample will be recruited via advertisements in staff common areas, Human Resources and Personnel officers, in a range of different employment settings. These advertisements will be sent to both white and blue collar settings. Interviews will be scheduled to take place at each participant’s workplace in a quiet room for privacy. There are no extraneous variables to be considered with this method, as all variables will be explored in the interview questions. The interview will be video recorded (with consent) or audio recorded. If the participant doesn’t consent to either of these methods, their responses will be written down. All participants will be asked for their age. Ethical issues will be dealt with via the standardised instructions and consent form. This will convey participants’ right to anonymity, confidentiality, and withdraw. Each participant will be debriefed at the end of the interview and will be offered a copy of the results. The materials and resources needed will be a sheet with the interview questions; standardised instructions; audio- and/or video-recording equipment; paper and pens. The data collected will be partly qualitative and quantitative. The former will be analysed using content analysis, the latter via descriptive statistics. Research Methods PSYA4 May 2011 Vicky Newham
  4. 4. Design of a correlational study The aim of the study is to investigate whether there is a correlation between the amount of sleep a person has per night and their performance on a test of cognitive function. The hypothesis is that the amount of sleep will positively correlate with performance on a test of cognitive function. A non-experimental, correlational method will be used to investigate this hypothesis. The operationalised co-variables are the total amount of sleep in minutes (recorded by EEG) and the performance on a standard test of cognitive function, where the higher the score the higher the cognitive function. A number of intervening variables will need to be controlled, as these could all alter sleeping patterns. These include the amount of caffeine or alcohol consumed in the six hours prior to the study, the intake of any drugs, also if a participant has a sleeping disorder. These will be controlled via a screening self- report process before the study commences. The participants will be obtained via volunteer sampling through advertisements in local newspapers, universities, and community centres. The sample will be 30 participants in total, 15 males 15 females aged 18-25. The study will take place in a sleep laboratory. Standardised instructions will be read to every participant to explain what the study will involve, and to convey the participants’ right to confidentiality, anonymity, right to withdraw and to obtain informed consent. Each participant will be debriefed after the study. The participants will be asked to arrive at the sleep laboratory at six o’clock. They will be given a plain meal, and will be read the standardised instructions and be told to go to sleep when they are ready. Each participant will be connected to an EEG to measure the exact time they fall asleep. The length of time they stay asleep for will be recorded and once they have woken up they will be given the standard test of cognitive function. When they are finished they will be debriefed and asked if they would like a copy of the results. If they agree, the appropriate contact details will be taken. The materials needed include beds for each participant, EEG, the standard test of cognitive functions, pens and the standardised instructions. The standardised instructions and the cognitive function test will be produced using Microsoft Word. The data obtained will be ordinal, and therefore an inferential test of association is necessary to establish whether any correlation is significant. Spearman’s Rho will therefore be used to analyse the data. Research Methods PSYA4 May 2011 Vicky Newham
  5. 5. Design of an observational study The aim of this study is to investigate the link between an unhealthy breakfast and playground behaviour. The hypothesis states that an unhealthy breakfast will be linked to anti-social behaviour. A non-experimental, observational method will be used to investigate this hypothesis. It will be a controlled observation conducted in a school setting. The variables to be observed will be operationalised through the use of behavioural categories. The behavioural categories to be observed will be: verbal aggression (shouting, swearing); physical aggression (hitting, kicking, spitting). The frequency of these behaviours will be recorded on a behavioural checklist using event sampling, with a record being made every time the behavioural categories are observed. The sample will consist of an opportunity sample of forty Year 6 pupils at a local Primary school. Informed consent will be obtained from the children’s parents, and from the school’s Head Master. This will be obtained via a consent letter which parents will be asked to sign and return. This letter will convey each child’s right to confidentiality and anonymity, and also their right to withdraw. It will also provide details of what the children will be asked to do, including the aims of the study, and full details of medical supervision. A number of confounding variables will need to be controlled as these will affect playground behaviour otherwise. These will include: the food consumed in the twenty four hours prior to the study; the child’s natural temperament; their gender. Children will be allocated into one of two groups, the healthy eating group or the unhealthy eating group, having first ensured that each group will have the fifty per cent males and 50% females to control for gender. Children in the first group will wear a green label, and those in the unhealthy group will wear a red label. Food consumed and temperament will be screened prior to the study via self-report methods. On arrival at school the children who are taking part will be given either a healthy breakfast at 9am (consisting of fruit, complex carbohydrates and a non-sugary drink) or a non-healthy breakfast (consisting of sugary breakfast cereal, and toast and jam, and juice). Observations will be made at morning break at 10am. These will be made by a team of three observers, all of whom will have received training on the behavioural categories so as to standardise observations and to optimise inter-rater reliability. At the end of break the children will be debriefed, and told who to speak to if they experience any unpleasant feelings. Medical supervision will be provided for the whole day, and parents will be asked whether their children have any food allergies prior to the study. The data obtained will be frequencies of behaviours. These will be totalled and summarised. Research Methods PSYA4 May 2011 Vicky Newham
  6. 6. Design a field experiment The aim of this investigation is to investigate whether children learn to read more quickly using textbook A or B. An experimental method will be used, that of a field experiment, so that a causal relationship can be inferred between the text book used and the speed that reading is learnt. An independent groups design will be employed. The dependent variable will be the scores on a standardised reading test; the independent variable will be the textbook that was used (text book A or B). Group A will use text book A, and Group B will use text book B. The sample will be an opportunity sample of school children age 4-5 years. Twenty children will use one book, and twenty the other. Prior to the reading program starting, all children will have their reading level assessed by a standard reading test. This test will then be re-administered every two months, and the reading score recorded. This test will be sat individually so that there are no distractions and will be assessed by the Psychologist. Extraneous variables will be controlled to prevent them confounding the dependent variable. These will include the child’s reading ability prior to the program; additional help with reading from parents or a tutor; having a learning disability such as dyslexia, or being a non-native speaker of English. These potential confounds will be assessed prior to the study, and anyone with a learning disability or not being a native speaker will not be allowed to take part. Informed consent will be obtained from the children’s parents via a letter giving details of what the study entails, and informing parents about additional reading help which they should not give their child for that whole year. Parents will provide written consent. The parents will also be told that their child’s data will be stored confidentially, and that they have the right to withdraw. These rights will communicated to the children also. The children will be taught from the relevant text book for a whole academic year. At the end of the study, children and parents will be debriefed, and they will be offered feedback on the outcome of the experiment once the data has been analysed. The data obtained will be ordinal, and because an independent groups design was used, Mann Whitney will be used to analyse data. Research Methods PSYA4 May 2011 Vicky Newham
  7. 7. Design a case study of a person with chronic fatigue syndrome The aim of this study is to investigate all the variables which may have contributed to the person developing chronic fatigue syndrome. The subject of the case study is a twenty year old female, who is a university student. She has had chronic fatigue syndrome for three years. The variables of interest are all potentially relevant bio-psycho-social ones. Data will be gathered from a range of sources, using a variety of methods, all non-experimental, and some of which will be self-report. It is envisaged that the study will take six weeks to complete. The participant will be interviewed herself, using an unstructured interview (as there is no need for it to be replicable) in order to be able to pursue interesting themes. Questions will be piloted first for clarity, freedom from bias, and ease of analysis. They will ask about all potentially contributing biological, psychological, social, and occupational factors. They will be both closed and open questions. The participant will be asked whether she has suffered from any viral or bacterial infections, any traumas or accidents. She will be asked about the life events she has experienced in the last five years. She will be asked how many hours studying she spends. She will be asked how much exercise she does per week and what sort. She will also be given a full medical by her GP, including blood analysis. With her consent, the participant’s GP will be sent a questionnaire to complete, also her university lecturers and teachers at Sixth Form. Furthermore, her parents will be sent a questionnaire. There are no real extraneous variables to be considered with this method. All ethical issues will be dealt with via the consent form and standardised instructions. These will convey to the participant her right to confidentiality, anonymity, and to withdraw. She will be given a thorough debriefing once the case study is complete, and will be offered a copy of the results. She will also be offered counselling if any issues have caused concern. Research Methods PSYA4 May 2011 Vicky Newham

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