The spec says you must conduct two observations or one observation can be carried out if both qualitative and quantitative data are gathered in the same observation).
In conducting the practical research exercise , students must:
• ensure that observations relate to an aspect of learned behaviour, such as behaviour of different sexes, driving characteristics, age-related behaviour, politeness and helping behaviour
An observation of the differences between how adults cross the road when they are with and without children
|What does the spec say?
Two observations (one observation can be carried out if both qualitative and quantitative data are gathered in the same observation).
● ensure that observations relate to an aspect of learned behaviour, such as behaviour of different sexes, driving characteristics, age-related behaviour, politeness and helping behaviour
● ensure that observations enable the gathering of both qualitative and quantitative data (including the use of note taking, tallying and thematic analysis)
● analyse the findings to produce results, including using a chi-squared test
● evaluate the studies in terms of validity, reliability, generalisability and credibility
● write up the results of the quantitative data, including appropriate graphs and tables
● write up the results of the qualitative analysis (thematic analysis).
- Aim: Tip: Outline what it is that you are trying to discover; no need to make any predictions at this stage. Try to write at least two sentences.
- Research Question: Qualitative research tends to work from research questions as opposed to hypotheses. Try to write a question which can be answered through the collection of the qualitative data “field notes”. This needn’t be complicated!
- Hypothesis: Write a directional hypothesis. Remember you must make a comparison between two groups (i.e. mention both conditions of the IV), say which group will do more/less and of which measured behaviour (the DV, which you must ensure is well operationalised). Make sure you use the key term “significant” and you understand what it means.
- Null hypothesis: Write a directional null hypothesis. This is where you say the group identified in the alternative hypothesis will NOT do significantly more/less of the measured behaviour (the DV) than the other group. Again make sure the null is suitably operationalised.
- Method/Design: Explain your research method, i.e. observation giving as much detail and accurate use of terminology as possible; participant, non-participant, data. You need to also state that you are using an independent measure design (with or without children), explain why it is independent measures. State your variables (IV and DV). You also need to explain what you intend to do in order to collect your qualitative data. Put in as much detail as you can, using your textbooks and PowerPoints for ideas, include such things as whether you used time, event or point sampling.
- Ethics: Use our notes and BPS code of ethics to write a detailed section on ethical considerations for this study. You do not need informed consent or debriefing. Why is this, check the wording carefully in the Code of Ethics? What do you need to consider? How will you ensure ethical principles are upheld?
- Participants: Describe the sampling technique used, i.e. random, opportunity, volunteer, quota, stratified etc. Give details on how many Pps were involved. In your friend notes you will need to record as much detail as you can regarding such things as approximate ages, genders, whether they were carrying anything, whether they seemed to be in a rush etc.
- Materials: Describe how you created your observation schedule; remember to refer to how you operationalised your behaviours.
- Procedure: This section will explain your pilot study or practice observations that were performed to ensure observers’ data collection was consistent and reliable. Detail needs to be given on what the observers had to do, how they recorded their data, how they made their choices, what would happen if they weren’t sure how to code a behaviour, what sort of data sampling was used, i.e. time or event sampling, what data was not recorded; anyone who wants to replicate your study, should be able to use this section to exactly recreate your study. Draw a sketch-map to illustrate where the road and the crossing was in relation to shops parks, post-boxes, etc. Mark on the crossing and also where you as researchers were located. Remember you must give every detail to ensure the procedure is entirely replicable.
- Quantitative findings
- Use the tally chart (frequency chart) below to record your raw data:
|Waits for green man||Does not wait for green man||Row Total|
|Alone, (not with children)||
|Column Total:||Final total:
- You need to create draw two pie charts, which can be compared alongside each other, to illustrate the modal behaviour (wait/do not wait) for each of the two groups.
- In the Marshall book it states that pie charts are more popular in business and economics but that the segments can be hard to compare and therefore people often use bar charts instead. Your course requires you to be able to do both and this is why I have asked you do draw bar charts as you might need to do this in the exam. I would also like you to show this information on a bar chart. Follow all the usual rules for creating the perfect bar chart.
- In your write up, you must include the tally chart with some written commentary to indicate what you found, e.g. referring to modal behaviours in each group. Link your comments back to your research question and hypotheses. I would also like to calculate the ratio of “people who waited for the green man” for the two groups “with children” and not with children”. You may need to work with ratios in the exam and therefore you need to practice. Refer to Marshall p 24-25. You must simplify your ratios where possible. You should also practice working out the percentages, another simple and essential exam skill. All these calculations can be included and discussed in your written comments.
- Your quantitative results section will also include the results of your Chi Squared. Before you state the results, you will also need to explain why you used a chi squared, referring to the whether you are looking for an association or a difference, the design and the level of measurement of the data. You should have notes in your red book on this. There is also a handout. There is a separate sheet to help with the calculations and how to report the findings.
- Qualitative findings: You also need to conduct a thematic analysis on your field notes, where you search for emergent themes, e.g. are there any relationships between the types of behaviour that you saw and the people that you observed, the locations, the times of day and so on?
- This section must discuss your findings with relation to your hypothesis and research question
- You must then discuss the strengths and limitations of your practical with regard to….
(remember to consider both the qualitative and quantitative data analysis…)
- Validity; are you sure that your data was a useful, meaningful and accurate record of what happened; could the results have been affected by participant reactivity (demand characteristics, social desirability, evaluation apprehension); how were they affected by the type of observation conducted (qual/quan, non-Pp/Pp, covert/overt, naturalistic/structured etc; how did the operationalisation/a priori coding of the observation schedule affect the data collected?
- Reliability; did you achieve inter-rater reliability, how can you be sure of this? How did the observation schedule help with this? If there were problems how could these have been resolved? Would it be possible to replicate this study exactly? If not why not and what impact would this have on the data? To what extent is the qual data collection and analysis reliable?
- Generalisability: What was the sampling technique how did this affect representativeness? How is generalisability affected by your sample size? What could be done to improve representativeness if anything? Are there any sectors of society to who generalisation may not be appropriate?
- Credibility: Overall, how scientific do you feel the study was with regard to the factors above? How believable do you think people would find these results or do you think people might be critical of the methods employed?? Do you think there are any issues about you and your own biases that might have affected the way in which you recorded the data (reflexivity)? Do you think other researchers might have had different opinions about what is and isn’t appropriate/desirable in road crossing behaviour and also in parenting?
- Conclusions: What can you infer from your results both qualitative and quantitative? Go back to your aim , before you decide what to conclude, to ensure there is a match.
As part of your psychology specification, you were required to carry out a practical investigation when studying learning theories.
- Describe the aim of the practical investigation you carried out when studying learning theories. (2)
- Describe the procedure of the practical investigation you carried out when studying learning theories. (4)
- As part of your practical investigation, you were required to gather quantitative data. Describe how you gathered your quantitative data for the practical investigation you carried out when studying learning theories. (2)
- Describe how you gathered your qualitative data for the practical investigation you carried out when studying learning theories. (2)
- Describe how you analysed the quantitative findings of the practical investigation you carried out when studying learning theories. (4)
- Describe how you analysed the qualitative findings of the practical investigation you carried out when studying learning theories. (4)
- Describe the quantitative findings of the practical investigation you carried out when studying learning theories. (4)
- As part of your practical investigation, you were required to write up the results of the quantitative data you gathered, including the use of an appropriate graph. Plot the quantitative data you gathered from your practical investigation when studying learning theories in an appropriate graph. (3)
- Describe the qualitative findings of the practical investigation you carried out when studying learning theories. (4)
- Describe the conclusions of the practical investigation you carried out when studying learning theories. (4)
- Explain one strength and one weakness the practical investigation you carried out when studying learning theories. (4)
- Evaluate the practical investigation you carried out when studying learning theories. (8)
- Explain one improvement you could make to the practical investigation you carried out when studying learning theories. (2)
- State one issue with the reliability of your observational practical from the Learning Approach. (1)
- Outline how you could deal with the issue stated in 13(b)(i) to improve the reliability of your observational practical from the Learning Approach. (2)