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2011-03-28 03:20:39

Research Methods
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  1. Experiment
    Used to test a cause and effect relationship between variables under controlled conditions.
  2. Variables
    Any factors that can change in amount or type over time.
  3. IV & DV
    - IV (Independent Variable): the variable that is manipulated or changed in some way in order to assess it effects on the participants' responses.

    - DV (Dependent Variable): is expected to change as a result of the IV. Is 'dependent' on the IV.
  4. Experimental and Control Conditions
    - Control condition: provides a standard to be compared against. The IV is not present.

    - Experimental condition: is exposed to the IV.
  5. Operational Hypothesis
    - States the causal relationship between the IV and DV to be tested.

    • - Must include:
    • - the IV
    • - the DV
    • - the population
  6. Potential Confounding Variables
    • - Individual Participant Differences
    • - Demand Characteristics
    • - Placebo Effects
    • - Experimenter effects
    • - Order effects (practice and carry-over)
    • - Artificiality
    • - Use of non-standardised instructions
  7. Individual participant differences
    e.g. age, sex, memory, intelligence, personality, mood, motivation, social skills etc.

    • Ways to control this variable:
    • - Matched participant design
    • - Double-blind or single-blind procedure
    • - Participant allocation and selection.
  8. Demand Characteristics
    A cue expressed by the experimenter or is present in some aspect of the research study which influences the way participants respond. They respond in a way they feel is expected of them rather than responding naturally.

    • Ways to control this variable:
    • - Placebo
  9. Placebo effects
    Occurs when there is a change in the responses of participants due to their belief that they are receiving some kind of treatment and responding according to that belief.

    • Ways to control this variable:
    • - Single-blind procedure
  10. Experimenter effects
    Occurs when there is a change in a participant's response due to the researcher's expectations, biases or actions, rather than to the effect of the IV.

    • Ways to control this variable:
    • - Double-blind procedure
  11. Order effects
    Occurs when performance, as measured by the DV, is influenced by the specific order in which the conditions, treatments or tasks are presented.

    • Practice effects are the influence on performance (DV) that arises from practising a task.
    • Carry-over effects are the influence that a task has on performance in a subsequent task that follows it.

    • Ways to control this variable:
    • - Counterbalancing
  12. Artificiality
    Laboratory based research with a lack of realism and differences to real life settings. This can produce demand characteristics which causes a participant to react unnaturally.
  13. Use of non-standardised instructions
    When research procedures are non-standardised, this means that they are not kept uniform or the same for all participants.

    • Ways to control this variable:
    • - Use of standardised instructions.
  14. Ways of minimising confounding variables
    • - Counterbalancing
    • - Single and Double-blind procedures
    • - Placebos
    • - Standardised instructions and procedures
  15. Counterbalancing
    Involves systematically changing the order of treatments or tasks for participants in a ‘balanced’way to ‘counter’ the biasing influence or unwanted effects on performance of any one order.