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Research Method

Chapter 1 of Oxford Psychology 1 and 2

TermDefinition
The Scientific Method A logical process of problem-solving applied in all sciences
Hypothesis A prediction of the outcomes of research, stated in terms of the influence of the change in the value of the independent variable and dependent variable
Statistically Significant When the likelihood of a finding occurring by chance is less than 5 in 100, 5%, p<0.05
Independent Variable The variable that is manipulated by the experimenter who then measures the resulting changes in the dependent variable
Dependent Variable The properties which is measured in psychological research, to look for the effects of the independent variable
Operationalisation Quantification of a variable
Extraneous Variables A variable other than the independent variable that could cause changes in the value of the dependent variable
Control Variables A variable that has had the potential effects of an extraneous variable removed from the experiment (usually by the experimental design)
Confounding Variables A variable other than the independent variable that has a systematic effect on the value of the dependent variable. If a cofounding variable exists, no valid conclusions about the research can be drawn.
Population The group of people about which we wish to draw conclusions
Sample The members of a population that have been chosen to take part in the research
Random Sample A sampling procedure in which every member of the population has an equal chance at being selected
Stratified Sample A sampling process by which the effects of a certain variable can be eliminated as a possible confound on the experiment
Experimental Group (E-Group) The group of research participants which is exposed to the independent variable. The results are compared to the control group so that the effects of the independent variable can be determined
Control Group (G-Group) The group of research participants which is not exposed in the independent variable. The results are compared with the experimental group so the effects of the independent variable can be determined
Treatment A variable that the experimental group participants receive and members of the control group do not
Random Allocation A subject selection procedure where all the participants have been selected for an experiment have an equal chance of being in the e-group or c-group
Repeated Measures Design A subject selection procedure where each participant is part of both the e-group and the c-group. Also know as 'within participants design'
Order Effect Changes in results caused by the sequence of performing tasks in test
Matched Participant Design A subject selection procedure which attempts to eliminated co founding variables by 'matching' on key characteristics, each individual in the e-group with the an individual in the c-group
Independent Group Design Allocates participants to e-group or c-group, also known as 'between participants design.'
Cross-Sectional Studies A form of independent group design where data is collected at one time from the participants of all ages and different age groups are compared
Nature The genetic factors that influence a persons development
Nuture The environmental factors that influence a persons development
Twin Studies A type of family study used to compare similar characteristics between twins
Genetics A study of hereditary and the role of genes throughout an individuals life
Psychosocial Development A theory that proposes development as ongoing, extending from infancy to old age
Placebo Effect Refers to the participants behavior being influenced by their expectations of how they should behave, caused by the belief that they have received some treatment
Single-Blind Procedure Allocating participants to groups in such as way that they do not know if they're in the e-group or c-group
Experimenter Effect The outcome of the experiment being unintentionally (or even intentionally) influenced by the experimenter
Double-Blind Procedure In the experimental process the method of allocating participants in groups so neither the experimenter nor the participants know if they're in the e-group or c-group
Qualitative Data Description of the characteristics what is being studied
Quantitative Data Measurements (numerical format) about the variables being studies
Subjective Data Information about the variable being studied based on opinion with no external yardstick by which they're measured
Objective Data Data being measured according to an identifiable external criterion
Nominal Data Data that has qualitative rather than quantitative value, where there is no ranking or order of the values implied
Ordinal Data Data that has a definite sequence, but the gap between one level and the next is not constant
Interval Data Data is measured on a scale where each step is the same value, but zero does not mean the properties doesn't exist
Ratio Data Measurements that represent quantities in terms of equal intervals and an absolute zero point of origin
Natural Environment A setting that is familiar and where the experiment normally occurs
Naturalistic observation Observation of voluntary behaviors occurring with the subjects natural environment
Structured Interview Participants are asked a set of pre-determined questions with a fixed choice of response such as yes/no or never/sometimes/often/always
Questionnairs Methods of collecting written responses from participants, such as surveys with Likert-type scales
Longitudinal Studies A form of repeated measures design where the same participants are investigated over a period of time
Cross-Sectional Design A form of independent group design, where data is collected at one time from participants of all ages and different age groups are compared
Sequential Design A combination of longitudinal and cross sectional designs, which draws on strengths and eliminates weaknesses of each approach
Reliability The extent to which a measure could be expected to produce the same result with the same subject(s) under the same conditions on other occasions
Validity The extent to which an instrument measures what it is suppose to measure
Internal Reliability The extend to which all the items in a research instrument contribute equally to the final score
Parallel Form Reliability Used to assess the consistency of the results of two tests constructed in the same way from the same content domain. The property is measure before treatment and after treatment
Test-Retest Reliability The extent to which a test produces the same result if re-administered to the same person under different conditions
Internal Validity The extent to which the results gained from the measure are truly due to the variable that it is thought to be measuring
Content Validity A form of internal validity which involves examining the instruments to decide whether an item appears to be measuring what it's suppose to. Also known as face validity
Construct Validity A form of internal validity which involves deciding whether the test can be used to support the theory that is being tested
External Validity Criterion-related validity that refers to the extent to which results from the measure are comparable with other established measured variables
The Normal Curve A bell-shaped curve showing a particular distribution of probability over the values of a random variable
Mean The average of all scores, calculated by adding up all the scores and dividing by the total number of scores
Median The score the occurs exactly half way between the lowest and the highest score
Mode The most commonly occurring score in a data set
Range The difference between the highest score and the lowest score in a data set
Variance A measure of how much, on average, the scores differ from the mean
Standard Deviation A measure that tells us how far, on average, scores differ from the mean
Bimodal Distribution A distribution where two distinct populations are plotted on the same curve
Inferential Statistics Statistical techniques used to make generalizations from samples to populations
Student T-Test A statistical inference technique
Conclusion The final decision about what the results mean in the experiment. The conclusion must be stated in terms of the original hypothesis
Correlation A statistical measure of the extent to which two variables are related, A correlation does not show a cause-effect relationship
Positive Correlation A correlation in which two variables change in the same direction - as one increases, the other increases
Negative Correlation A correlation in which two variable change in the opposite direction - as one increases, the other decreases
Strength of Correlation The strength of the relationship between two variables
Scatter Diagrams Diagrams that show the values of the two variables for each participant in the sample by representing the intersection of those two values with a dot on a graph
Ethical Considerations A code of ethics designed to protect participants from psychological and physiological harm. These include confidentiality, debriefing, deception in research, informed consent, voluntary participation and withdrawal rights.
Distress Refers to the negative psychological response to a perceived stressor
Debriefing The experimental process in which after the experiment, the subjects are told the purpose of the research and any deception explained. This is a vital ethical component of any psychological research
Controlled observation Observation of voluntary behaviors within a structured environment, such as a laboratory
Clinical interview Structured guidelines, but further questioning is used for clarification
Created by: NWSP12