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  1. 1. PSYCHOLOGY AS COURSE HANDBOOK 2009-2010 OCR SPEC UNITS 1 & 2
  2. 2. 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. Contents Page 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 2
  3. 3. 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 vwilken@hastings.ac.uk, rgrier@hastings.ac.uk 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 your potential:  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. 3
  4. 4.  Hand in all homework assignments, completed to the best of your ability, by the deadline.  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 improve.  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 learning. 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? 1. 2. 3. 4
  5. 5. What are your areas for development? Action I will take over the next 3 weeks. 1. 2. 3. 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 5
  6. 6. Candidates will need to be familiar with four techniques for collecting/analysing data. These are: 1• Self-report; 2• Experiment (repeated measures and independent measures, matched subjects design); 3• Observation; 4• Correlation. 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 analysing data. 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. 6
  7. 7. 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 Effect relationships. You will need to know about independent measures and repeated measures and the strengths and weaknesses of these. 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 EXPERIMENTAL METHODS 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 EEFECT relationships. LABORATORY EXPERIMENTS In the laboratory the experimenter deliberately manipulates the independent variable (IV) and maintains strict control over all 7
  8. 8. 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. STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES 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, demand characteristics, experimenter expectancy ψ May raise ethical problems of deception etc. FIELD EXPERIMENTS 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 example. STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES 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 consent, deception, invasion of privacy etc. NATURAL EXPERIMENTS 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. 8
  9. 9. STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES 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 experimenter manipulation OBSERVATIONAL METHODS 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 Naturalistic observation involves the recording of spontaneously occurring behaviour in the participant’s own environment. STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES 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 questions 9
  10. 10. CONTROLLED OBSERVATION 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 STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES 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 consent, deception etc(unless observer and research purpose are hidden from participants) PARTICIPANT OBSERVATION 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. STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES 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 be inferred 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 10
  11. 11. (discourse analysis). QUESTIONING PEOPLE 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. INTERVIEWS 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. STRUCTURED INTERVIEWS Contain fixed questions and structured ways of replying (yes / no etc.). STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES 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 missed SEMI-STRUCTURED INTERVIEWS 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). STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES ψ Fairly flexible and ψ Less reliable - open to 11
  12. 12. sensitive experimenter bias. ψ Fairly reliable and easy to ψ Data is harder to analyse analyse ψ Difficult to replicate 12
  13. 13. UNSTRUCTURED INTERVIEWS 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. STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES 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 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. STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES 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 subjective. 13
  14. 14. 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 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 coefficient. STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES 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 unethical ψ In some cases, strong significant correlations can suggest ideas for experimental studies to determine cause and effect relationships REVIEW ARTICLES 14
  15. 15. 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. STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES 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 CASE STUDIES 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. STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES 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 demonstrate bias ψ Impossible to replicate ψ Expensive and time consuming 15
  16. 16. 16
  17. 17. LONGITUDINAL STUDIES 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. STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES 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 characteristics which date by the end of the could either persist or study disappear ψ Social changes may ψ No participant variables affect the variables being ψ Possible to study in measured depth 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 STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES 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 17
  18. 18. (participants dropping create differences out) between groups (the 8 year olds may have experienced major educational changes which the 12 year olds have not) ψ It tends to exaggerate differences between ages OVER TO YOU… Use the following table to summarise the methods used in psychology to collect data METHOD ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES Laboratory Experiments Field Experiments Natural Experiments Observations Questioning people Correlational Studies Review Articles Case Studies 18
  19. 19. Longitudinal Studies Cross-sectional (snapshot) Studies 19
  20. 20. 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. 20
  21. 21. 21
  22. 22. 22
  23. 23. 23
  24. 24. ETHICAL GUIDELINES FOR RESEARCH WITH HUMAN PARTICIPANTS GENERAL DECEPTION 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 medical justification. 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. 24
  25. 25. ETHICAL GUIDELINES cont… CONFIDENTIALITY Information obtained about a participant during an investigation is confidential unless otherwise agreed in advance PROTECTION (of participants) 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 be given. In research involving children, caution should be exercised when discussing the results with parents and teachers. OBSERVATIONAL RESEARCH Unless those observed give their consent to being observed, observational research is only acceptable in situations where those observed could expect to be observed by strangers. 25
  26. 26. 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 Cognitive Psychology 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. Developmental Psychology 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. 375-382 FREUD, S. (1909) Analysis of a phobia of a five year old boy. Pelican Freud Library. Vol 8. Case Histories Physiological Psychology 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
  27. 27. Social Psychology 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 • Cognitive • Individual differences • Developmental • Social Perspectives • Behaviourist • Psychodynamic Methods • Experimental • Case Study • Self-report • Observation • 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 approach; • Consider pertinent issues, perspectives and debates, context and theory, strengths and limitations and the implications of core studies of each approach. 27
  28. 28. 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? DETERMINISM 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. ECOLOGICAL VALIDITY 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. ETHICS 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. ETHNOCENTRIC BIAS 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 explanations. 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 28
  29. 29. 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. PSYCHOMETRICS Psychometric tests measure 'mental characteristics. These include intelligence and personality and also aptitudes for certain jobs, and tendencies towards anti- social behaviours. 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. REDUCTIONISM 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. RELIABILITY 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. SOCIAL CONTROL 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. VALIDITY Does a measure actually measure what it claims to be measuring? Does a test of intelligence really measure intelligence or some other factor? 29
  30. 30. STUDYING THE CORE STUDIES – SOME HELPFUL HINTS! KNOWLEDGE & UNDERSTANDING For each of the 15 core studies you will need to know the following: Ψ AIM Ψ METHOD(S) Ψ SAMPLE Ψ PROCEDURE Ψ RESULTS Ψ CONCLUSIONS 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 validity.”) ψ Was there any BIAS? (for instance, in selecting samples, or measuring behaviour.) 30
  31. 31. ψ Were there any features of the study that might have given the participants “clues” as to how to behave? Psychologists call these “demand characteristics.” 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? 31
  32. 32. The approaches/perspectives, issues, and methods arising from the core studies Advantages Disadvantages Physiological Cognitive Individual differences Developmental Social Behaviourist Psychodynamic Experimental (laboratory and field) Case study 32
  33. 33. Self-report Observation Methodological issues such as reliability and validity Experimental (laboratory and field) Ethics Ecological validity Longitudinal and snapshot Qualitative and quantitative data 33
  34. 34. Assessment Objectives 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 them. 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 secondary sources; 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% Investigations AS Unit G542: Core Studies 30 28 12 70% 35% 33% 32% 100% 34
  35. 35. 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 study Section C: Candidates are required to answer one question from a choice of two. Questions focus on approaches, issues and methods. 35
  36. 36. 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. WEBSITES 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. ESSENTIAL VIEWING OCR 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: www.ocr.org.uk HOLAH 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: www.holah.co.uk 36
  37. 37. LEARN SOME STUFF This is a great site, also designed specifically for the OCR syllabus. Definitely worth a look. Find it at: www.learnsomestuff.com 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 (Marvellous!) BOOK LIST This is the book that you are required to bring to class for OCR ‘AS’ Psychology. OCR Psychology: AS Core Studies and Research Methods 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. 37
  38. 38. Linking The AS Course To The A2 Psychology Course. 2.2 A2 Units Unit G543: Options in Applied Psychology This unit will include four options, from which the Teacher will choose two. 1• Forensic psychology. 2• Health and clinical psychology. 3• Psychology of sport and exercise. 4• Psychology of education. © OCR 2008 7 GCE Psychology v3 Unit G544: Approaches and Research Methods in Psychology 1• Research methodology, where candidates are required to design a practical project. 2• Structured synoptic questions on approaches, perspectives, methods, issues and debates. 38
  39. 39. AS PSYCHOLOGY CORE STUDIES EVALUATION SHEET Study: Choose THREE issues / themes and comment briefly on the named Core Study in relation to each issue / theme Issue / theme 1: Issue /theme 2: Issue / theme 3:
  40. 40. SUMMARY SHEET Title: Author: Key Words: Aim: Sample: Method: Results: Conclusions: Issues / Implications: 40
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