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Introduction to Research Methods in Psychology
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Section One Psychological research 1 Psychology and research Where does the psychology student start? How do psychologists answer questions? Why do psychologists ask questions? Glossary 2 Designs - experiments and non-experimental designs in psychology Experimental and non-experimental designs The exact nature of experiments The laboratory Field experiments Non-experimental investigations Correlational studies Observational studies Interviews, surveys and case-studies Experimental designs Repeated measures design Independent samples design Matched-pairs design Single participant design The humanist objection Glossary Exercises 3 Psychological measures - variables in psychological investigations Measuring variables Defining psychological variables Psychological constructs Independent and dependent variables Extraneous variables Reliability, validity and standardisation of psychological measures Reliability Validity Standardisation Glossary Exercises 4 People - groups, samples and comparisons in psychological investigations Samples Sampling Groups Longitudinal, cross-sectional and cross-cultural studies Glossary Exercises Section Two Non-experimental investigation methods 5 Observing - observational designs and techniques Observation as a technique Why conduct an observational study? Systematic observation Controlled and naturalistic observation Participant observation Glossary Exercises 6 Questions - interviews, surveys, questionnaires and psychological scales How do psychologists ask questions? General issues Interviews Surveys Questionnaires, scales and psychometric tests Sociometry Glossary Exercises 7 Qualitative research and data - meaning versus numbers Introduction The argument against purely quantitative data What do qualitative researchers propose? Dealing with qualitative data - interpreting interview, observation and case study results Changing qualitative data to quantitative data Content analysis Glossary Further reading Section Three Organising quantitative data 8 How data arrive - various levels of measurement Why do we have to learn about levels of measurement? Glossary Exercises 9 Describing data - descriptive statistics Statistics are a selection Measures of central tendency Measures of dispersion Population parameters and sample statistics Distributions Graphical representation The normal distribution Glossary Exercises Section Four Analysing quantitative data 10 Is it a real effect? Testing for statistical significance Giving probability a value The logic of probability Significance Glossary Exercises 11 Is there a real difference? Tests of significant difference Tests at the nominal level of measurement Related data - the binomial sign test Using tests of significance - the general procedure Unrelated data - the chi-squared test Tests at the ordinal level of measurement Related data - the Wilcoxon (T) signed ranks test Unrelated data - the Mann-Whitney (U) test Tests at the interval/ratio level of measurement Parametric tests The t-test for related data The t-test for unrelated data Glossary Exercises 12 Is there a real relationship? Testing for correlation between pairs of data The nature of correlation Pearson's produce-moment correlation coefficient Spearman's rho Significance and the strength of correlations Correlation doesn't indicate cause and effect Common uses of correlation in psychology Glossary Exercises 13 Which tests do we need? Choosing an appropriate test Making a choice Exercises Section Five Ethics and practice 14 Ethical issues and humanism in psychological research Introduction Publication and access to data Confidentiality and privacy Milgram - the classic experiment for ethical debate Deception Debriefing Stress and discomfort The right to non-participation The special power of the investigator Involunatary participation Intervention Research with animals Conclusion Glossary 15 Planning practicals 16 Writing your practical report What is the purpose of a report? What are the rules? The title Abstract Introduction Stating aims The hypothesis The method Results Discussion Conclusion References Appendices General presentation Checklist for writing a practical report Comments on a fictitious student practical report Appendix 1 Structured questions Appendix 2 Statistical tables Appendix 3 Answers to exercises and structured questions References Index

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About the Author

Hugh Coolican is Principal Lecturer in Psychology at Coventry University, a Chartered Psychologist and an assistant examiner for the International Baccalaureate.

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