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Non Experimental Methods. Investigating Behaviour . Surveys. Questionnaires – written or verbal Interviews Structured – pre determined questions (questionnaire that is delivered face to face) Unstructured – Each question is developed as a result of the previous answer. (Clinical interview)

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non experimental methods

Non Experimental Methods

Investigating Behaviour

  • Questionnaires – written or verbal
  • Interviews
    • Structured – pre determined questions (questionnaire that is delivered face to face)
    • Unstructured – Each question is developed as a result of the previous answer. (Clinical interview)
    • Both can be used to collect quantitative or qualitative data.
    • What ethical issues should be considered? (3)
  • What do you think the strengths and limitations would be for:
    • Questionnaires (2strengths, 2 weaknesses)
    • Structured interviews (3 and 3)
    • Unstructured (2 and 3)
    • Work in pairs or 3s to discuss the development, use and analysis of data using these techniques to help you come up with your answers.
    • Consider how you would feel if you were the participant.
    • Compare and contrast them.
glossary of terms
Glossary of terms
  • Leading questions – a question which is worded in a way that makes one answer more liked. ‘Wouldn’t you agree . . .?’
  • Social Desirability Bias – what people think they should say rather than genuinely think/feel.
  • Interviewer Bias – what the interviewee thinks the interviewer wants.
  • Consistency.
  • Experimenters must ensure that the questionnaire they use is reliable to ensure that they are testing what they aim to.
  • Ie – If the same questionnaire is used with the same participant on 2 different occasions but gain different responses, if the questionnaire was reliable then we can assume that the difference can be attributed to the participant.
  • Test-retest reliability – repeating questionnaire with same participants to see if the same results are obtained and measured using a correlation coefficient.
  • That the questionnaire is measuring what it was designed to measure.
  • If answers are affected by social desirability bias, interviewer bias etc then the results lack validity.
  • Concurrent validity – comparing results from new questionnaire with an established study.
good questionnaires
Good Questionnaires:
  • Are clear.
  • Lack bias
  • Easy to analyse – closed questions (options given, likert scale) but this makes the data quantitative rather than qualitative.
  • Good Surveys:
  • Include filler questions – misleads interviewee to reduce interviewer bias.
  • Easy qstns at start more difficult at end.
  • Pilot study
correlational design and analysis
Correlational Design and Analysis
  • Correlational analysis is used to analyse non-experimental methods (surveys/observations/case studies) as the IV is not being manipulated and there is very little control over extraneous variables.
  • It is not a research method!
correlational design and analysis1
Correlational Design and Analysis
  • Correlation – a relationship between two variables (co-variables).
  • Positive correlation – when 2 variables increase together.
  • Negative correlation – when 1 variable increases and the other decreases.
zero correlation
Zero Correlation
  • Zero correlation – no relationship between the 2 variables.
visual display
Visual Display
  • Correlations are displayed using a scattergram.
  • A dot is plotted on a scattergram for each participant’s two answers. Eg weight and hours spent exercising per week.
statistical test
Statistical Test
  • In the same way we used T-test for our experimental methods in order to reject our null hypothesis so too do we use statistics in non-experimental methods.
  • Correlation co-efficient – never greater than 1 (+1 for positive correltaions and -1 for negative correlations).
  • 1 Is the perfect correlation but is very rare. The strength of correlation is expressed as weak, moderate or strong.
  • The closer to 1 the number is the stronger the correlation:
    • +0.76 (there is a positive and strong correlation between the co-variables)
    • -0.76 (there is a negative and strong correlation between the co-variables)
    • +0.002 (There is a very weak positive correlation between the co-variables)
  • A table of significance is used to determine whether the strength of the correlation (the number) is significant.
  • The significance is dependent upon the number of participants who took part/responded (N).
  • Even small numbers (0.02) can be significant if the N is very large.
  • The starting point for all investigations.
  • Must be objective.
  • If used as part of an experiment then it is a research technique. However, if used on its own it is a research method.
  • The design of these observations may vary:
naturalistic observation
Naturalistic Observation
  • Behaviour is studied in a completely natural setting.
  • The researcher does not change anything.
  • This is different from a natural experiment as the experimenters are not looking for a relationship between an IV and a DV.
  • Children aged 3- 5 observed in a playground. Activities were categorised as male, female or neutral. Praise and imitation was recorded as positive responses while criticism and stopping play were recorded as negative responses.
  • Children generally reinforced peers for gender-appropriate play and criticised gender-inappropriate play.
  • Lamb and Roopnarine, 1979
controlled observation
Controlled Observation
  • Some variables can be controlled eg setting, objects etc.
  • Participants are likely to know they are being studied.
  • Reduces chances of behaviour being completely natural.
  • Lamb and Roopnarine’s experiment could also have been carried out as a controlled observation.
  • ie The children could have been out in a playroom where the toys would have been pre chosen by the experimenters.
  • NB – this is different from Bandura’sBobo Doll experiment as they directly affected the IV (showing the children a video in advance). In this instance observation was used as a technique not a method.
other types of observation
Other types of Observation
  • Content Analysis – observing written/verbal texts.
  • Non-participant – observer does not involve themselves simply observes.
  • Participant – Observers participate.
  • Disclosed – participant knows they are being observed.
  • Undisclosed – participant unaware they are being observed.
example page 119
Example (page 119)
  • Leon Festinger, a social psychologist, 1950s.
  • Religious cults receiving messages from aliens detailing the end of the world.
  • Believed they would be rescued by a UFO and arranged to meet a set time and location.
  • Festingerposed as a convert in order to observe their reactions when their beliefs were unfounded.
  • The night before the predicted flood, when it was apparent that there would be no flood, the cult leader claimed that it was because of their combined prayers.
  • Observed a mixture of reactions – some didn’t believe and left the cult, others took it as evidence of the cult’s powers.
  • To ensure reliability (consistency) it is always better to have at least 2 observers who produce the same record (if 2 observers have conflicting recordings their observations are not reliable).
  • Observers should be trained to increase level of reliability.
  • The extent of this consistency is call inter-observer reliability
  • Measured by correlating the results . To have inter-observer reliability the correlation must be >.80.
validity measuring what it s supposed to
Validity (measuring what it’s supposed to)
  • Can be affected by observer bias – the observer sees what they want/expect to see rather than being objective.
  • Using more than one observer and averaging their responses can help with this.
  • If participants know they are being observed they may change their behaviour (eg social desirability bias).
  • Results will not be valid if the coding system is flawed.
  • In pairs decide who is A and who is B.
  • Take it in turns to complete the task. Each task should take 5 minutes.
  • While one person is completing the task the other person should be recording all aspects of their behaviour: ie facial expressions, verbal cues, body language, etc
observational techniques
Observational techniques
  • Structured vs Unstructured.
  • Unstructured (what you did): Observer records everything they believe to be relevant. No system for observing or recording behaviour.
  • Observer will note only the most obvious behaviour but these may not be the most important (did you see the moonwalking bear?).
  • Systems are put in place to ensure observations are organised and systematic.
  • Sampling procedure – knowing who you are observing and when.
  • Observation schedule – how to record the behaviour you are studying.
  • Continuous observation – Every instance of the relevant behaviour is recorded in great detail. Difficult as it requires a lot of recording if the behaviour is common.
  • Event sampling – counting the amount of times it occurs.
  • Time sampling – recording behaviour at set intervals (every 30 seconds). Can be selected from a checklist.
observational schedule coding system behaviour checklist
Observational Schedule/Coding system/Behaviour checklist
  • Having a pre-made list of relevant behaviour to be observed which helps the observer to deconstruct the behaviour.
  • They should be objective and leave no room for observer bias.
  • Be wide spread – cover all possibilities.
  • Should be discrete – no room for overlaps
research methods summary
Research Methods - Summary
  • Part 1 -
  • Part 2 -
case studies
Case studies
  • A detailed study of an individual/place/event.
  • How Freud collected his data – Anna O.
  • Requires a variety of research methods to develop an informed picture – interviews, tests etc.
  • Extremely in depth.
  • Time consuming (longitudinal) – carried out over a long period of time.
  • Task: What are the advantages and disadvantages of this method?
  • Try to come up with 3 of each and use your prior knowledge of this topic to help.
  • Scholar
  • Work through the Unit 2 section of Scholar, adding to your notes and completing the interactive activities. Particularly the data analysis – nominal, ordinal and interval data section which we haven’t covered.
  • 1,3,4,2