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Research Methods – Informal (Non-Experimental) & Formal (Experimental). Today’s session. How Research is Conducted!!. Lets play….. What Am I ??. Instructions:

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Presentation Transcript

Today s session
Today’s session (Experimental)

Lets play what am i
Lets play….. (Experimental)What Am I??

  • Instructions:

  • Allocated around the room are cards with different types of research. Your task is to carefully listen to different statements I will read out that relate to these methods (Experiment, Interview, Observation, Questionnaire) and move to the research method card you think matches the statement.

  • Do you understand??

  • How many of the 8 statements can you get correct??

From the table below identify which relate to observation interview questionnaire and experiment
From the table below identify which relate to observation, interview, questionnaire and experiment

WALT…… interview, questionnaire and experiment

Observation interview, questionnaire and experiment

  • Unstructured/naturalistic Observation

    • Researchers just record what’s going on

    • Qualitative data collected (observer opinions)

  • Controlled Observations/Structured Observation

    • Coding scheme is used to record behaviour

    • Quantitative data collected (numbers only)

Observation interview, questionnaire and experiment

  • Participant Observations

    • when the researcher participatesin the activity in an overt way (their presence is obvious to the other participants).

  • Non-Participant Observations

    • the researcher observes the activity without getting involved in it. This is a covert technique (their presence is unknown to the participants

Activity identify the correct types of research with the correct method of research
ACTIVITY- interview, questionnaire and experimentidentify the correct types of research with the correct method of research

Plenary activity identify the correct types of research with the correct method of research
PLENARY ACTIVITY- interview, questionnaire and experimentidentify the correct types of research with the correct method of research

12r walt
12R WALT……….. interview, questionnaire and experiment

Observation advantages and disadvantages
Observation Advantages and Disadvantages interview, questionnaire and experiment

  • Advantages

  • Observational studies therefore tend to be high in ecological validity as there is no intervention and if the observer remains undetected the method avoids problems with experimenter effects.

  • Disadvantages

  • observational studies are difficult to replicate.

  • Problems of mis-interpretation and missing recording behaviour during the observation.

  • Ethical issues- deception and lack of informed consent.

Categorising behaviour
Categorising behaviour… interview, questionnaire and experiment

You must define the behaviours that you aim to observe. For example, if you were going to observe children in a school playground to see how many behave aggressively, you’d have to decide what accounts for aggression.

This involves an operationalised definition (i.e. some specific, observable behaviours). You might say that “aggression is any physical act made with the intention of harming another person – i.e. punching and kicking etc”. But you have to be careful not to miss out anything important otherwise your definition may not be valid

i.e. aggression can also be verbal.

Rating behaviour

Makes sense interview, questionnaire and experiment

Rating behaviour…

The behaviours that you are interested in may be things that are a matter of degree, you might need to use a rating scale to classify behaviour. You could put each participants behaviour into one of several categories e.g. not aggressive, mildly aggressive or very aggressive. Or you could use a coding system where each participant is given a number e.g. between 1 and 10 to represent how aggressive they are, where a higher score indicates more aggression. However you still have to define what kinds of behaviour are included for each number on the scale e.g. 5 being pushing and 10 being kicking and punching more than once. Behaviour rated in this way provides quantitative data in the form of numbers.

Sampling behaviour

But don’t forget sampling… interview, questionnaire and experiment

Sampling behaviour…

You have to decide how often and how long you’re going to observe the participants. Event sampling – this is when you only record particular events that your interested in (e.g. aggression shown by the children) and ignore other behaviours.

Advantages: Researchers know what behaviour they are looking for

Disadvantages: Potentially interesting behaviours could be ignored

Time – interval sampling – if the behaviours occur over a long period of time you might choose to observe for only set time intervals e.g. the first 10 minutes of every hour. The time intervals could be chosen randomly.

Advantages: Very convenient for the researchers to carry out

Disadvantages: If interesting behaviours occur outside the time sample they won’t be recorded

Oh yes…finally then with observation you must remember to interview, questionnaire and experiment


That means having more then one observer watching people but using the same recording sheet.

Do I hear you ask WHYYYYY????? Well the answer is that it will make your study valid and give it a sense of reliability.

You know what they say………

2 brains are better than one……..a bit like mine!!


Ideas for observations
Ideas for interview, questionnaire and experimentobservations!!

  • 1. observing the car park to see how many males/females reverse park or forward park.

  • 2. observe the food choices of students at break in the cafe

  • 3. observe aggression in the playground in the lower years.

  • 4. observe students reaction to invading their personal space.

  • 5. observe gender conformity on the doors in H block at break time.

Today s objectives
Today’s objectives interview, questionnaire and experiment

  • To complete your observation planning

  • To have carried out content analysis

  • To complete RM booklet on content analysis and questionnaires.

    STARTER:What is it called when you choose a particular behaviour to observe? Why is it important to have more than 1 researcher observing?

Group work observation
Group Work- Observation interview, questionnaire and experiment

  • Time to think about carrying out an observation. In small groups start to plan what observation you would like to do and use the planning format below to help you:

  • Who is in your gp? What will you be observing? How will you record your data?Event/Time Sampling. When will you record your data? What will your behavioural categories look like? Where will you stand to observe? Do you have inter-observer reliability??

Today s objectives1
Today’s objectives interview, questionnaire and experiment

  • To complete your observation planning and notes on content analysis.

  • To have carried out content analysis and covered questionnaire design.

  • To complete RM booklet on sampling in questionnaires.

    STARTER:How does a structured observation differ from an unstructured? Give one strength and one weakness of doing an observation?

Content analysis
CONTENT ANALYSIS interview, questionnaire and experiment

  • A content analysis involves analysis of newspapers, books, interview transcriptions.

  • It involves picking out THEMES from the text and put similar themes into categories eg: statements related to gender, age, race.

Task on content analysis
Task on Content Analysis interview, questionnaire and experiment

Read a selection of children’s books and pick out key themes such as:

  • 1. What the story is about

  • 2. How are males/females presented

  • 3. Whether characters are presented in a stereotypic way eg: all girls wear pink and like dolls; all boys play rough games

  • 4.Then divide your categories into Themes eg: Cinderella is a love story but has themes on jealousy and poverty

Strengths weakness of content analysis
Strengths/weakness of content analysis interview, questionnaire and experiment



Not Scientific (I.e. its hard to statistically prove anything)

Can’t really generalise

Reliability - how one person views the report/data may be different from someone else

Validity - the language is ambiguous and may be misinterpreted.

  • Individual Differences

  • Great to study emotions and motivation

  • Can establish what caused the behaviour

  • Can study rare behavioursin detail


Written, face to face or via the internet. interview, questionnaire and experiment



  • Practical – can collect a large amount of information quickly and relatively cheaply

  • Not time consuming to deliver


  • Bad questions – leading or unclear questions can be a problem

  • Biased samples – some people are more likely to respond to questionnaires, which could make a sample unrepresentative

  • Self report – people often want to present themselves in a good light. What they sat and what they actually think could be two completely different things making the results unreliable

  • Ethics – confidentiality can be a problem, especially around sensitive issues

Type of data

Questionnaires interview, questionnaire and experiment need to be designed carefully. There are various things you need to consider when designing a questionnaire for a survey.

Type of data…

Whether you want qualitative data and/or quantative data will affect whether you ask open and/or closed questions.

a) Open questions are questions such as What kind of music do you like? The participant can reply in any way, and in as much detail as they want. This gives detailed, qualitative information, although it may be hard to analyse, as the participants could give very difficult answers.

b) Closed questions limit the answers that could be given, e.g. which do you like: pop, rock or neither? They give quantitative data that is relatively easy to analyse – e.g. you can say exactly how many people liked each type of music. However, less detail is obtained about each participant.


You must think carefully about…. interview, questionnaire and experiment


You have to avoid questions and answers which are not clearly defined, e.g. Do you listen to music frequently? What is meant here by “frequently”? – Once a day, once a week?

Double barrelled questions
Double – barrelled questions… interview, questionnaire and experiment

It’s best not to use these, since the participant may want to answer differently to each part. For example, Do you agree that modern music is not as good as the music from the 1960’s and that there should be more guitar – based music in the charts?

You must think carefully about….

Leading questions

Watch interview, questionnaire and experiment

‘questionnaires flv’

You must think carefully about….

Leading questions…

These are questions that lead the participant towards a particular answers, e.g. How old was the boy in the distance?They might have seen an older person, but by saying “boy” you’re leading them to describe the person as young. You’re also leading them to think that the person was male, but they might not have been sure. (It’s really important to avoid leading questions in eyewitness testimony).

Sampling in questionnaires
Sampling in Questionnaires interview, questionnaire and experiment

  • With questionnaire survey design the best forms of sampling are:

  • Opportunity sampling- approaching whoever is available when you hand out the questionnaire.

  • Strength- access to lots of people

  • Weakness- can be biased as depends on time of day and location.

  • Random sampling- this will occur when you know who/where you will be sampling. Names are put into a hat and picked at random

  • Strength-everyone has an equal chance to be picked

  • Weakness- only targeting a specific population, experimenter bias

Practical task lets try an experiment on conformity and aggression
Practical task- lets try an experiment on conformity and aggression!

  • 1. Please complete the questionnaire and rate how you would react in the scenarios stated.

  • 2. Photocopy your answers sheet ready to give out to 2 participants (1 male/ 1 female).

  • Aim 1: To investigate how aggressive male and females were to different scenarios

  • Aim 2: To investigate how conformist males and females were to pre-answered questions on aggression.

Aggression conformity questionnaire

  • Please hand-out the questionnaire to a male and female participant.

  • Get them to think about each question and make them tick an answer using a coloured pen.

  • Thank them at the end and explain the study was to see how aggressive and conformist they are. Tell them they can have access to the results at the end of the study. Bring the results to class!!.

A Bar graph illustrating the number of men and women who gave calm, annoy, angry and aggressive responses to aggressive scenario questions

A Bar graph illustrating the number of men and women who gave calm, annoy, angry and aggressive responses to aggressive scenario questions

NB:Category results use discrete bars of data not continuous!!


Structured interviews gave calm, annoy, angry and aggressive responses to aggressive scenario questionsfollow a set of fixed questions that are the same for all participants

Unstructured interviews may have a set of discussion topics but are less constrained about how the conversation goes



  • Rich data – can get detailed information as there are not as many constraints as with a questionnaire. Unstructured provide richer information than structured interviews

  • Pilot study – interviews are a useful way to get information before a study


  • Self report – can be unreliable and affected by social desirability bias

  • Impractical – conducting interviews can be time consuming and requires skilled interviewers

  • Ethics – confidentiality can be a problem especially around sensitive issues

Social Desirability bias- when the participant wants to please the experimenter or tries to guess the purpose of the research

Sampling in interviews
Sampling in Interviews gave calm, annoy, angry and aggressive responses to aggressive scenario questions

  • With interviews the sampling methods tend to be the same as with questionnaire.

  • Opportunity sampling- can be used to access people who are available to do your interview

  • Random sampling- put the names of pre-chosen participants in a hat and draw a few people out to be interviewed.

PLENARY gave calm, annoy, angry and aggressive responses to aggressive scenario questions

  • Turn to the person next to you and explain 2 things that you have learned today.

  • Then swap around!!!.....

GO!!.....See if you can do this without looking at your sheets.

Starter circle the words that relate to questionnaire and observation
Starter- circle the words that relate to questionnaire and observation

Structured hawthorne open validity

deception double-barrelled closed

Unstructured categories correlation field

leading case-study laboratory ambiguous

Inter-observer attrition-rate opportunity

Participant informal

Case study method
CASE STUDY METHOD!! observation

‘This method uses one single target person and studies aspects such as their IQ, brain imaging, personality, behaviour and physical health using a range of

different observational,

experimental methods’

Sampling: only one person being studied. Already been

Identified from their needs.

Weakness of case study
Weakness of Case Study observation

  • A problem with this method is that it is often necessary to use recollection of past events (self report method) and this evidence may be unreliable’

  • This method of research allows for a great amount of qualitative detail and data to be collected

‘ This method has a weakness in that the results from a single person should not be generalised to the general population’