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Research Methods & Statistics in Psychology 4th Edition


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Table of Contents

1. Psychology and research
Science and psychology
What is research about?
Empirical and hypothetico-deductive methods
How pscyhologists do research
The research cycle
Planning research
2. Measuring people - variables, samples and the qualitative critique
Operational definitions
Reliability and validity
Sampling bias
Equal probability selection
Random and non-random samples
The qualitative critique and the quantitative-qualitative debate
3. Use of experimental designs in psychology
True experiments
Independent and dependent variables
The strength of experiments - improving on bad experiments and eliminating causal directions
Critique of the experiment
Simple experimental designs, independant samples, repeated measures, matched pairs and single participant designs
Releated and unrelated designs
4. Validity in experiments, quasi-experiments and non-experimental methods
Interpretation of experiments, sources of variance
Internal and external validity
Confounding - extraneous variables and expectancies in research
Field work and quasi-experiments
Non-experimental research
Control and validity in the laboratory and in the field
5. Observational methods aEURO" watching and being with people
Observation as technique or overall design
Structured observations
Controlled and naturalistic observation
Qualitative observation
Role-play, simulation and diary methods
Participant observation
Case studies
Indirect observation
6. Interview methods aEURO" asking people direct questions
General questioning issues, structure and disguise
Interpersonal variables
Interview types
Semi-structured interviewing techniques
Achieving rapport
Recording techniques
Modes of questioning
7. Questionnaires aEURO" using psychological scales and tests in research
Questionnaires and attitude scales
Scale items, styles, problems and pitfalls
Constructing an attitude scale
Projective tests
Psychometrics aEURO" intelligence and personality tests, factor analysis
Reliability, validity and standardisation of tests including use of SPSS to conduct a reliability analysis
8. Comparison studies aEURO" looking across, looking ahead and looking abroad
Cross-sectional studies
Longitudinal studies
Cross-cultural studies
Ethnocentrism and other issues in cross-cultural research
Readings on culture and 'race' in psychological research
9. Qualitative approaches - problems with positivism
Psychology and the positivist paradigm
Objections to the conventional paradigm
Proposals of the qualitative approaches
Examples of qualitative approaches
Contemporary qualitative methods
10. Statistics aEURO" organising the data
Various levels of measurement
Measures of central tendency
Meaures of dispersion
Population, samples and sampling error
Frequencies and distributions
Graphical representation of data
The normal distribution, areas, z values
Percentiles, deciles and quartiles
Sampling distributions and standard error
Skew and kurtosis
Checking for normality
Introduction to SPSS procedures, data entry and descriptive statistics
11. Significance aEURO" was it a real effect?
Significance testing, the null and alternative hypotheses
Levels of significance
Significance testing and rejection regions
Power and effect size
Type I and Type II errors
Directional hypothesis and one or two-tailed tests
12. Testing differences between two samples
Parametric tests
t test for related and unrelated data
Single sample t test
Data assumptions for t tests
Effect size and issues of power in significance testing
Non-parametric tests of difference - Wilcoxon matched pairs and Mann-Whitney U
Sign test for categorical data
SPSS procedures for two condition difference tests
13. Tests for categorical variables and frequency tables
Part 1: Chi-square
One variable, two category test
2 x 2 frequency tables
General Chi-square for R x C designs
Goodness of fit test
Effect, size and power
Limitations on the use of Chi-square
SPSS procedures
Part 2: Log-linear analysis
Multi-way tables
Main and interaction effects
SPSS procedures
14. Correlation aEURO" the assoc

About the Author

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


The new edition of Coolican's book is impressively wide-ranging. It introduces quantitative and qualitative research methods and guides the reader through the research process from the initial identification and formulation of a research question to the preparation of the final report. The style of presentation is informal and appropriate for A'level students and those in the early years of a psychology degree. -- The Psychologist 20041001 "The new edition updates his support to lecturing on a wide range of approaches to psychological research, as specified for the undegraduate curriculum by the British Psychological Society (BPS) in recent years ... The book is replete with interesting and often important published examples." -- David Booth, Neuroimaging in Psychology 20041001

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