Research Method

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Janelle Leboutillier

RESEARCH METHODS IN PSYCHOLOGYFormulating Research QuestionsResearch AimsWhy is research being doneThe aim outlines the researchers thinking behind doing the study eg with a study on childrens memory what is the reason for studying their memoryHypothesesA hypothesis hypotheses is the plural is a testable statementA prediction about what the researcher will find out eg 8 year olds will remember more than 5 year oldsExperimentalAlternative HypothesesThe hypothesis that predicts that the researcher will find something is called the alternative hypothesis or experimental hypothesis if the study is an experimentDirectionalNon Directional HypothesesThe alternative hypothesis can be directionalonly one outcome is possible or it can be non directionalthe prediction allows for one of two possible outcomesNull HypothesisThis hypothesis is the opposite of the alternative as it predicts that the results will not show anything of any worth eg there is no difference in the memory of 8 and 5 year oldsPopulations and SamplingIt is not normally possible to study everyone in a population so a smaller number is chosen a sampleThere are a number of different ways of sampling participantsOpportunity SamplingAn opportunity sample is frequently usedThis means that the sample is selected on the basis of who is available at the time of testing and willing to take partRandom SamplingIn a random sample every member of the population has an equal chance of being part of the sampleThe sample is chosen at random from the population with everyone standing an equal chance of being chosenStratified SampleFor stratified sampling variables considered to be relevant to the sample are identified and the sample is made up of subgroups representing these variablesThe sample is made up to resemble the populationSystematic SampleHere the members of the population are picked on the basis of some system Eg a sample of voters could include every tenth person on the electoral rollPilot StudiesA pilot study is a small scale dummy run of the studyIt is done to identify any problems that can be then corrected and to give the researchers a practise at running the studyETHICSIn conducting research of any type there are guidelines set out by the British Psychological Society BPS concerning the treatment of participants during the studyIt is important that the research is carried out in an ethical appropriate way
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