Scientific processes (AQA)

  • Aims: stating aims, the difference between aims and hypotheses.
  • Hypotheses: directional and non-directional.
  • Sampling: the difference between population and sample; sampling techniques including: random, systematic, stratified, opportunity and volunteer; implications of sampling techniques, including bias and generalisation.
  • Pilot studies and the aims of piloting.
  • Experimental designs: repeated measures, independent groups, matched pairs.
  • Observational design: behavioural categories; event sampling; time sampling.
  • Questionnaire construction, including use of open and closed questions; design of interviews.
  • Variables: manipulation and control of variables, including independent, dependent,
    extraneous, confounding; operationalisation of variables.
  • Control: random allocation and counterbalancing, randomisation and standardisation.
  • Demand characteristics and investigator effects.
  • Ethics, including the role of the British Psychological Society’s code of ethics; ethical issues in the design and conduct of psychological studies; dealing with ethical issues in research.
  • The role of peer review in the scientific process.
  • The implications of psychological research for the economy.• Reliability across all methods of investigation. Ways of assessing reliability: test-retest and inter-observer; improving reliability.
  • Types of validity across all methods of investigation: face validity, concurrent validity,
    ecological validity and temporal validity. Assessment of validity. Improving validity.
  • Features of science: objectivity and the empirical method; replicability and falsifiability; theory construction and hypothesis testing; paradigms and paradigm shifts.
  • Reporting psychological investigations. Sections of a scientific report: abstract, introduction, method, results, discussion and referencing.