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Research Methods - The experimental method.

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11/01/03 Research Methods The experimental method This method is the most popular method used by psychologists. After the experimental method, the psychologist can make a hypothesis from the results of the investigation. The hypothesis consists of two different variables; these variables are the Independent variable and the Dependent variable. Independent variable (IV): this is the variable that is directly manipulated by the experimenter, for example, the amount of noise in a room. Dependent variable (DV): this variable is affected by the independent variable, for example, how well the person does named tasks. The dependent variable is measured by the experimenter in order to make the hypothesis. All variables apart from the dependent variable, all other variables have to be controlled in order to make the experiment fair, and to find the results we want. This is known as Experimental control. Variables that have to be kept the same throughout the experiment are known as Confounding variables and have to be controlled in order to keep them constant. Advantages of the experimental method The greatest advantage of the experimental method is that it allows us to establish the cause and effect relationships. Another advantage of the experimental method is that the experiment can be replicated; this can allow other people to do the experiment again to confirm the results of the experiment. ...read more.


Advantaged of the quasi experiment An advantage of this type of experiment is that it is more natural and we can investigate real life situations easily. Another advantage is that the independent variable is already controlled, and the independent variable is working, all the experimenter has to do is to observe the independent variable. Disadvantages of the quasi experiment A disadvantage of the quasi experimental method is that the variables cannot be controlled, and we have to find the people who fit exactly to the specifications of the experimenter's variables. Another disadvantage is that they have to get the participants permission to take part in the investigation, and people who have just had a member of the family die for example, are unlikely to agree. Natural Experiments A natural experiment is kind of a quasi experiment. It is a study of people in various naturally occurring conditions such as a volcano eruption. An example of a natural experiment would be to compare stress with a volcano eruption, or the effect TV has on the aggressiveness of young children in poor countries. Advantages of natural experiments An advantage of this type of experiment is that the participants are often not aware that they are taking part in an experiment, which means that they will behave more naturally. Another advantage of this type of experiment is that there are fewer ethical issues with it because the experimenter is not responsible for the fact that the participants have been exposed to the independent variable. ...read more.


Another advantage is that it provides richer and fuller information they typical laboratory experiments e.g. a range of different social context rather than on their own in the laboratory. Disadvantages of the naturalistic observation The experimenter has not control over the situation which can make it very hard to decide what caused the participants to behave the way they did. There can be problems with the reliability with the observational measures taken because the categories into which behaviour is coded are imprecise. Interview and questionnaire surveys There are six types of interview: * Non-directive interviews - has no structure, the person interviewed can talk freely, all the interviewer does is to guide the conversation along * Informal interviews - this type on interview is the same as the non-directive interview except the interviewer is concerned with one particular thing and urges the interviewee to go into more detail into that topic. * Guided interview - this is a more structured interview and the interviewer identifies the issues to be addressed. * Clinical interviews - this type of interview is often uses to assess patients with mental disorders, the interviewer will ask the same questions, but some follow-up questions that depend on the answers to the other questions. * Fully structures interviews - questions are asked, but the interviewee can only choose and answer from the answers given. * Questionnaire surveys - the respondents are asked to record their own answers with pen and paper. ...read more.

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