Research Methods Lesson 1 Aims, Hypothesis, Variables
Formulating Research Questions • Research starts with a research question, something that the psychologist wants to find out. E.g. • What makes some people more obedient than others? • Because there are so many different reasons, research must be carried out.
Formulating Aims • It would be difficult to investigate all the different aspects at once so an aim would focus on one factor. • For example the investigator may focus on confidence levels. • ‘To investigate whether a person’s confidence level has an effect on the likelihood of them obeying.’
Formulating Hypotheses • The aim is based on a theory and the theory should lead to predictions. • A prediction may be that people who are more confident may be less obedient. This doesn’t constitute a hypothesis yet, as the variables we are testing need to be operationalised.
Operationalise • In the example there are 2 variables: • Confidence • Likelihood of obeying • The psychologist may test confidence with a questionnaire and likelihood of obeying by observing whether the same participants obey an unreasonable request.
Research Hypothesis (precise prediction) H1 • Participants who score above average on a questionnaire measuring confidence are significantly less likely to follow an unreasonable request made by a stranger in uniform compared to participants who score below average.
Carrying out the study • The psychologist would test their hypothesis by collecting data. If the results support the hypothesis then this is accepted, however if the research provides no backup for the prediction then this must be rejected.
Null Hypothesis H0 • As it is possible that the H1 may be rejected, a psychologist must formulate a null hypothesis. • There is no significant difference in the number of times participants follow an unreasonable request from a stranger in uniform whether they score below or above average on a questionnaire measuring confidence.
Correlation • So far the hypotheses in this PPT have predicted difference. There are also correlation studies. These test for relationship between variables. • There is a significant correlation between participants scores on a self-esteem test and on the number of friends they have.
IVs and DVs • There are 2 types of variable as we have already stated, however these are completely different to each other. • Independent Variable: this is the variable that the psychologist manipulates. • Dependent Variable: this is the variable that the psychhologist measures.
Previous example • Participants who score above average on a questionnaire measuring confidence are significantly less likely to follow an unreasonable request made by a stranger in uniform compared to participants who score below average. • Where is the IV and DV?