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Research Methods

Read the following description of a fictional psychology experiment and answer the questions below in relation to this experiment:

 

Experimental Design

Background

A researcher wants to investigate the impact of level of task difficulty on individuals’ perceptions of the passage of time. She expects that the level of task difficulty will have a significant impact on subjective time passage judgments. This is because cognitive models argue that, when a task is difficult, individuals allocate their cognitive resources to completing the tasks, leaving less resources available to process temporal information. So, difficult tasks may appear to take less time to participants. All participants were given 4 minutes (240 seconds) to complete a crossword puzzle. Forty participants were randomly assigned to four conditions: group 1 completed a very easy puzzle, group 2 completed a somewhat easy puzzle, group 3 completed a somewhat complex puzzle, and group 4 completed a very complex puzzle. After completion of the tasks, all participants were asked to estimate the length of time the task took to complete. The researcher then investigated whether the groups differed in terms of the amount of time they thought had passed whilst completing the task (in seconds).

1.              What is the experimental hypotheses?

 

2.              Was the experimental hypothesis directional or non-directional?

A-              Directional (one-tailed)

B-              Non-directional (two-tailed)

 

3.              What was the independent variable?

 

 

4.              What was the dependent variable?

 

5.              At what level was the dependent variable measured?

A – Nominal

B – Ordinal

C – Interval

D – Ratio

 

6.Did the experiment use a between groups or within subjects design?

A – Between groups (independent design).

B – Within subjects (repeated measures design).

7.              Identify one confounding variable and explain how this variable could impact on the results of the study.

2 marks

 

Read the following description of a fictional psychology experiment and answer the questions below in relation to this experiment:

Background

An experiment was carried out to examine the impact of sleep deprivation on cognitive performance, specifically working memory capacity (the capacity to temporarily hold information available for processing). The researchers were interested in exploring whether participants who were sleep deprived would perform more poorly on a working memory task than participants who had a normal eight hours sleep. Two hundred participants took part in the study. Participants were split into two groups, both of which were instructed to go to bed at their normal bed time: one group set an alarm for 8 hours after going to bed and one group set an alarm for one hour after going to bed. Participants were told not to sleep again until after completing the experiment but apart from this were told to take part in their normal morning routine. All participants then took part in a complex span task. This involved reading and verifying a simple math problem, then reading a word presented following this task. After a series of 20 problems and words were presented, participants were asked to recall the words that followed each math problem. Participants who accurately recalled more words are thought to have shown better working memory capacity.

8.              What is the experimental hypotheses?

 

9.              Was the experimental hypothesis directional or non-directional?

 

C-              Directional (one-tailed)

D-             Non-directional (two-tailed)

 

10.           What was the independent variable?

 

11.           What was the dependent variable?

 

12.           At what level was the dependent variable measured?

A – Nominal

B – Ordinal

C – Interval

D – Ratio

13.           Did the experiment use a between groups or within subjects design?

A – Between groups (independent design).

B – Within subjects (repeated measures design).

 

14.           Identify one confounding variable and explain how this variable could impact on the results of the study.

 

Which Test?

Read the information about each of the twelve fictional research studies outlined below. For each study identify which type of statistical test you would use to analyse the data collected in the experiment. Unless stated otherwise, assume the data are normally distributed and show homogeneity of variance.

Please select a statistical test from one of the following tests you covered in the introduction to research methods module: Repeated measures (aka dependent) t-test, independent measures t-tests, Wilcoxon signed-rank test, Mann-Whitney U-test, chi-square goodness of fit, Pearson chi-square (aka chi-square test of association), Pearson’s r correlation, Spearman rank (aka rho) correlation, one-way independent ANOVA, and one-way repeated measures ANOVA.

 

31.           A researcher wants to know whether the number of people living with dementia varies across the UK. He accessed records of the number of people with dementia in England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. Which test would he use to examine whether dementia is equally prevalent across these different countries?

Which test?

 

32.           A psychologist conducted research examining the relationship between watching TV and intelligence. She observed a group of participants during a week period and monitored the amount of TV they watched (in minutes). She also measured all of the participants’ IQ using the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale. Which test would allow the psychologist to examine whether there was a negative relationship between the amount of TV watched and intelligence?

Which test?

 

33.           A study was performed to examine whether exposure to real snakes made individuals with snake phobia feel more anxious than viewing pictures of snakes. Participants were first spent one minute viewing a picture of a python. After the minute, participants were asked to rate their anxiety a 100-point scale. Participants then had a 10 minute break, after which they spent one minute holding a real python. After holding the python, participants were asked to rate their anxiety again a 100-point scale. Which test should the researchers use to see if holding a real snake makes individuals with snake phobia feel more anxious than viewing a picture of a snake?

Which test?

 

34.           A therapist wrote a self-help book and wanted to examine how effective reading this would be in increasing individuals’ mood. She asked 100 individuals on her waiting list for treatment to read the self-help book. They completed a questionnaire measuring their levels of depression just before, just after and six months following reading the booklet. What test should she use to find out whether the self-help booklet was effective in increasing participants’ mood?

Which test?

 

35.           A study was carried out to investigate the impact of caffeine consumption on students’ exam performance. Thirty students carried out a multiple choice exam. Ten had consumed no coffee, ten had consumed one cup of coffee and ten had consumed three cups of coffee. What test should be used to determine whether caffeine consumption influenced students’ performance?

Which test?

 

36.           A study examined whether age has an impact on the driving ability of males. The researcher viewed the insurance details of a group of 200 men to find out how many accidents they had been involved in over the previous five years. He split the men into those with an age of 25 or under and those of an age of 26 or over. Which test should the researchers use to examine whether older and younger men differ in the number of accidents they have had?

Which test?

 

37.           A study was carried out to examine the impact of parental divorce during childhood on stress hormone levels. Norepinephrine levels (a hormone realised into the bloodstream in response to stress) were taken from two groups of children- one group had parents who were currently married and one group had parents who were recently divorced. The data was positively skewed. Which test should be used to determine whether the levels of stress hormone were higher in children whose parents were divorced?

Which test?

 

38.           A researcher wanted to investigate whether drinking alcohol increases the attractiveness of individuals from the opposite sex. She showed a group of female students in the SU bar a picture of a male. She asked them to rate his attractiveness on a scale from 0 to 10. She also measured the blood-alcohol level of the students. Which test should be used to investigate whether the amount of alcohol consumed is related to how attractive the participants found the picture of   the male?

Which test?

 

39.           A manager of a clinic wanted to find out which mode of transport was most popular amongst patients for getting to and from their appointments. She sampled 100 patients and asked them what form of transport they had used that day: car, bike, bus, or walking? What test should the researcher use to examine whether some forms of transport were more popular than others?

Which test?

 

40.           A lecturer wants to investigate the impact of pre-exam anxiety on students’ exam performance. Prior to taking their end of term exam she asks 20 students to measure their anxiety on a 21-item questionnaire with a total score of 0 – 100. When she marks the exams, she notes the position of each student in the class (i.e. whether they came top of the class, second in class, third in class, etc.). Which test should be used to examine whether pre-exam anxiety is related to student’s exam performance?

Which test?