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Research Methods. Chapter 7 Pages 234-261. Refer to table 7.1 page 236 of your text book. In psychology we use the scientific method to conduct research Identify the research problem and formulate a question Construct a testable hypothesis Designing the study Gathering the data

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research methods

Research Methods

Chapter 7

Pages 234-261


In psychology we use the scientific method to conduct research

  • Identify the research problem and formulate a question
  • Construct a testable hypothesis
  • Designing the study
  • Gathering the data
  • Processing the data, analysing and interpreting the results
  • Writing a research report.

However there are a number of ways that we can collect our data (information). There are experimental and non experimental methods.

Non- experimental studies include case studies, surveys, observational and correlational studies.

This power point will go over ways of gathering data

case studies
Case studies
  • An in depth investigation of a single individual, usually for clinical purposes.
  • Can also be groups (homeless) organisations (schools) or events (train crash)
  • Information can be gathered in a number of ways
  • Interviews conducted by either psychologists, doctors or researchers (person who designs or co ordinates the study)
  • Tests , questionnaires or surveys (self report method)
  • Archival research (using written records to source data)
  • Data gathered can be either qualitative or quantitative
case study copy this table into your books from page 237
CASE STUDYCopy this table into your books from page 237
  • Demand characteristics: situational circumstances that influence behaviour therefore they do not respond naturally. These include
  • reactivity: reacting in a more negative way due to being nervous or anxious because you know your behaviour is being looked at carefully (scrutinised)
  • Hawthorne effect: improving your performance because you know your being observed/ under investigation.
  • Social desirability: acting or responding artificially (fake) in order to project a particular (usually favourable) impression of oneself. Trying to make yourself look better.
single blind procedure
  • Minimising the amount of information given to participants.
  • Participants are kept in the dark about the true purpose of the study and their true role (they don’t know if they are in the controlled or experimental group)
  • This is so they behave

naturally and aren’t

influenced by their


double blind procedure
  • Both the participants and the experimenter are unaware of the purpose of the study. Both are blind to which group is which either controlled or experimental.
  • This reduces experimenter effects which is bias due to experimenter expectations
  • Deliberately withholding information or misinforming participants about the true purpose of the study so that they behave naturally.
  • If you use deception in your study then you MUST debrief all participants at the end which is when you inform them of the true nature of the study and make sure they are not experiencing any harm from their


  • Stanley Milgrim’s obedience shock


  • An inactive substance/

treatment given to

participants that has

an observable effect.

Can you think of any examples??

  • Are self report methods and include questionnaires, interviews or rating scales to gain information about a wide range of behaviours and mental processes.
  • Depend on self report methods. Either oral or written.
observational studies
Observational Studies
  • Involve observing the behaviour.
  • Can be done with animals, children in the playground, spectators at a game.
  • Naturalistic observation: research design where you observe participants behaviour in their natural surroundings/environment and record what you observe.
  • Laboratory Studies:observing behaviour not in a natural setting but in a controlled environment where variables can be controlled.
  • Eg: Bandura’sbobo doll experiment
observational studies copy this in your books from page 242
Observational Studiescopy this in your books from page 242

For an observation study to provide true data the you must ask yourself these questions.....

Can the observer be seen?

Is the observer completely objective

Can the findings be generalised.

investigating development across the lifespan
Investigating development across the lifespan
  • There are 2 ways of gathering data over a lifespan
  • Longitudinal studies

2) Cross sectional studies

1 longitudinal studies
1) Longitudinal Studies
  • A study where one group of participants is investigated over an extended period of time.
  • Seven up series: monitors the progress of a cohort (group of people born around the same time) of 14yrs olds who were all 7yrs in 1964. They are all interviewed every 7 years.

7 up


cross sectional studies
Cross-Sectional Studies
  • A study design where participants of particular age groups are studied at the same time.
  • Large age gaps could compromise the results id the tests are susceptible to cohort effects.
  • Cohort Effects: the impact of experience and circumstances on groups of people born at different times.
  • Read pages 245-254 and make your own notes on how data is represented in psychology.