Research Methods

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Research Methods by Mind Map: Research Methods

1. Step 2: Which design do you want to use?

1.1. Repeated measures design

1.1.1. Same Ps are used in both conditions

1.1.2. Order effects

1.1.2.1. Can be overcome by use of counterbalancing - this is when 50% do condition A then B and the other 50% do B then A

1.1.3. Participant variables are reduced because each participant acts as their own control

1.1.4. Fewer Ps required

1.2. Independent group design

1.2.1. Ps are randomly allocated to different conditions

1.2.2. No order effects

1.2.3. The same materials can be used in both conditions

1.2.4. Participant variables are introduced - this is where the differences between the conditions are because of individual differences/people rather than the IV

1.3. Matched pairs design

1.3.1. Pairs of Ps are closely matched and then randomly allocated to one condition or the other

1.3.2. No order effects

1.3.3. Attempts to control participant variables

1.3.4. Difficult to match everything about the Ps

1.3.5. More affected by participant attrition

2. Step 3: Which method will you use to gather information?

2.1. Observations

2.1.1. Part a: Naturalistic or controlled?

2.1.1.1. Controlled

2.1.1.1.1. Conditions are contrived by the researcher

2.1.1.1.2. Control over confounding variables

2.1.1.1.3. Behaviour may not be natural or normal - low ecological validity

2.1.1.2. Naturalistic

2.1.1.2.1. Observing Ps in their natural environment

2.1.1.2.2. High ecological validity

2.1.1.2.3. Little control over confounding variables

2.1.2. Part b: Participant or non-participant?

2.1.2.1. Participant

2.1.2.1.1. The observer is also a participant in the activity being observed - this may be with or without the participants’ knowledge

2.1.2.1.2. High ecological validity

2.1.2.1.3. Observer bias

2.1.2.1.4. Experiments are often recalled retrospectively and therefore are unreliable

2.1.2.2. Non-participant

2.1.2.2.1. Researcher watched from a distance

2.1.2.2.2. Observations are made as they happen and are therefore more reliable

2.1.2.2.3. Behaviour may be recorded by the meaning behind it is not known

2.2. Surveys

2.2.1. Gather a large amount of information efficiently

2.2.2. They do not require the researcher to gather information therefore reducing the influence of interpersonal factors

2.2.3. Can have low response rates

2.2.4. The honesty of answers can be influences by social desirability

2.2.5. Closed questions or open questions?

2.3. Interviews

2.3.1. More flexible than surveys as researchers can interact with Ps to clarify information

2.3.2. Time consuming

2.3.3. Structured or unstructured?

2.3.3.1. In unstructured interview, a particular theme or topic is explored with more open questions

2.3.3.2. In structured interview, Qqestions are predetermined and often closed

2.4. Case Study

2.4.1. An in depth study of an individual or group

2.4.2. Details could come from records (e.g. medical, employment) or in combination with other methods e.g. interview, observation

2.4.3. Idiographic

2.4.3.1. Specific to one person or group only

2.4.4. Not generalisable as results have low population validity

2.4.5. Provides a rich source of meaningful data - this can be enough to challenge established theories

3. Step 1: Do you want to collect descriptive data or links between variables?

3.1. Correlational method

3.1.1. Designed to investigate the strength of a relationship between two variables

3.1.1.1. This is expressed by the correlation coefficient (see map on The Application of Scientific Methodology in Psychology)

3.1.2. Allows the researcher to analyse whether there is a significant relationship between two variables when the variables could not be manipulated experimentally

3.1.3. Cannot establish cause and effect

3.2. Experimental method

3.2.1. Try to establish cause and effect relationships

3.2.2. Manipulation of the IV to observe the effects on the DV

3.2.3. Laboratory experiments

3.2.3.1. High control

3.2.3.2. Low ecological validity

3.2.4. Natural (quasi) experiment

3.2.4.1. Occur when the researcher does not directly manipulate the IV

3.2.5. Field experiment

3.2.5.1. High ecological validity

3.2.5.2. Low control