Example Answers for Research Methods: A Level Psychology, Paper 2, June 2019 (AQA)
Last updated 16 Dec 2019
Here are some example answers to the written Paper 2 questions on Research Methods in the 2019 AQA exams.
It is an opportunity sample. A limitation of this method is that it may be unrepresentative of the target population as it might be the case that those present in the café at the time are more confident, this might mean they would be more likely to enjoy team sports which would make the effect of team sports of happiness seem greater.
Participants could be matched on extroversion and introversion ratings. To do this we could have them complete an introversion/extroversion questionnaire and pair them related to the score they achieved, for example the 9’s would be matched with the 9’s and the 4’s with the fours, you would do this until there are 10 pairs. Then we would randomly allocate one participant from each of the pairs to a different condition of the experiment until there were 10 participants in each group.
A strength of using matched pairs rather than repeated measures is that in matched pairs participants only take part in one condition of the experiment, whereas in repeated measures they take part in both. As a result, matched pairs will not result in any order effects, therefore the results are more likely to be valid.
High concurrent validity refers to the degree in which a new test will produce the same results when compared to a more established test. To have high concurrent validity there would need to be a 0.8 correlation between scores on the new test and scores on the established test.
A key problem with this is that this could have led to bias on the part of the researcher. For example, when participants were completing their happiness questionnaire the researcher may have let of subtle cues that would affect their happiness like smiling at them. As a result this could have affected the happiness rating they gave. This would mean the results may be invalid as the cause of the change in their happiness was not the type of sport they played but the way the researcher acted around them.
It would have been helpful to use a double-blind procedure whereby the participants and researcher did not know which condition they were in. If the researcher is unaware who is in what condition, then there will be less bias as they will be unable to influence the happiness scores of one group over another.
The aim of the experiment will be to investigate the effect of group and individual tasks on happiness.
The research will involve; Initially select a sample of participants, have them all complete a well-established happiness questionnaire. Then, divide them into two groups. This will be done using random allocation whereby each of the 30 students will be given a number 1 -30. These numbers will be placed in a hat and the researcher will draw one number for condition one and one for condition two until all participants have been allocated to the conditions. In condition one, the students will complete a task on their own for 45 minutes, the task will be to design a mind map of the psychodynamic approach. In condition two the students will work in groups of 5 (3 groups) and in their groups design a mind map of the psychodynamic approach. When the 45 minutes is over, students in both conditions will be asked to complete the happiness questionnaire once again, these results will then be compared with the original questionnaire to produce a change in happiness score. The IV in this experiment therefore is ‘group task or individual task’ and the DV will be ‘change in happiness score’. To minimise the effect of extraneous variables we will ensure that all students completing the mind map have previously studied the psychodynamic approach so that level of knowledge does not impact happiness score. In addition we will ensure that the same questions appear on both happiness test, however we will alter the order that they appear in.
For data analysis we will calculate the mean of happiness score of condition one and condition two to make some tentative conclusions about which condition leads to a larger change in happiness score. We will use the mean as we can assume the established happiness score to be interval data. For a visual display of the data we will plot it onto a bar chart with the categorical variables of group task and individual tasks plotted on the X axis and the mean of each condition on the Y axis. We will also calculate the standard deviation for the two conditions, this will allow us to comment on the spread of data in the two conditions and see if the impact of the IV (type of task) on the DV (score) was consistent or not.
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