Social: Methods

Self-reporting data: Designing and conducting questionnaires and interviews, considering researcher effects and alternative hypotheses

Sample selection and techniques

 Qualitative and quantitative data 

Ethical guidelines: BPS code of ethics and conduct (2009)

 Methods Vocabulary List

Practice Questions
1. Annabel carried out research to investigate prejudice. She gave 20 students two reports of a person who had dropped their bag and needed help. One report described the person wearing a hooded top and the other report described the person wearing a suit. The students had to decide if they would help the person in the report or not. Table 1 shows the total number of students who said they would help or not help a person wearing a hooded top or a person wearing a suit.
Table 1
Person wearing a hoodie        Person wearing a suit

Total number of students who would help                              5                                        15

Total number of students who would not help                      15                                        5

Annabel concluded that people were more prejudiced against people wearing hooded tops.
(a) Identify the level of measurement used in Annabel’s study. (1)
(b) Identify the experimental design Annabel used. (1)
(c) Explain one improvement that could be made to the experimental design used in Annabel’s research. (2)

2. Rosie placed a sign saying “keep off the grass” in a local park. She put it in an area which was a popular short cut to the train station. She watched the passers-by and noted whether they obeyed the sign or not. She then asked them to complete a short questionnaire, which they could access on their mobile phone, to measure their “desire for personal control”. The questionnaire was out of 20, where 0 indicated no desire for personal control and 20 indicated a very high desire for personal control.
a. Write a suitable directional alternative hypothesis for Rosie’s study (3)
b. What participant design is Rosie using? (1)

Rosie’s results were as follows:

Obeyed the sign (stayed off the grass) Did not obey the sign (walked across the grass)
Pp1 14 13
Pp2 17 8
Pp3 15 12
Pp4 11 13
Pp5 14 6
Pp6 16 9
Pp7 10 12

c. Rosie thinks she ought to do a Chi Squared test but her friend April tells her she needs to do a Mann Whitney U test. April is right, what might she say to convince Rosie to the Mann Whitney U test? (3)

d. Rosie decides to go ahead with the Mann Whitney U test. Use the data table above to work out the observed value of U. The formula is at the front of the booklet.

Show ALL your workings:

U is equal to: …………………………………. (4)

e. Should Rosie reject her null hypothesis? (1)

f. Explain your answer, making reference to the critical values tables at the front of this booklet (3)

Dr Foster is a librarian and she has noticed that the library users have become rather noisy lately, despite the silent working policy. She has noticed that when groups of pupils come in together they tend to behave differently each time. She chooses a couple of pupils, Anna and Beth, to be confederates. She tells Anna that that she must work quietly and politely discourage her friends from talking. She tells Beth that she should try and engage her friends in conversation, (against the silent working policy). In each condition, Dr Foster records how many of the library users make a noise. She then interviews the library users after each condition, asking them how they felt about the noise in the library and their own noise levels.

  1. Explain one ethical issue that Dr Foster would have to consider before conducting this study (2)
  2. Dr Foster collected both qualitative and quantitative data in her study.  What is meant by the term qualitative data? (1)
  3. Explain ONE issue that might affect the validity of the data collected during Dr Foster’s interviews with pupils (2)
  4. Dr Foster used an experimental design when she set up her study. Explain an appropriate experimental design for this part of her study. (2)

Table 1 shows the results of Dr Foster’s study:

No. of silent pupils in library No. of pupils making a noise  in the library
1.       Quiet confederate (Anna)  


2.       Chatty confederate (Beth)  


Calculate the percentage of pupils who were making a noise when Anna was present and when Beth was present. Round the figure to 2 decimal places.

Percentage of pupils making a noise when Anna was present: ………………………… (1)

Percentage of pupils making a noise when Beth was present: ………………………… (1)

A researcher would like to investigate older people’s perceptions of teenagers. She decides to use a questionnaire to find out their views. For the questionnaire, she uses a sample of participants from an adult education centre.

(a) (i) Write two closed questions that could be used in the questionnaire to investigate older people’s perceptions of teenagers. (2)

(ii) The data gathered from the researcher’s questionnaire is quantitative. Define the term ‘quantitative data’. (1)

(iii) The researcher collected 20 responses to this questionnaire. Describe one way that you would carry out an analysis on this data. (2)