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1. G544 Section B . Question on Longitudinal Method Student Guide and Feedback Sheet Question Max Guidance Your Feedback Mark Mark a) Using your 4 The longitudinal method…
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  • 1. G544 Section B . Question on Longitudinal Method Student Guide and Feedback Sheet Question Max Guidance Your Feedback Mark Mark a) Using your 4 The longitudinal method involves collecting data from and knowledge of following up the same individuals or groups at different points psychology, over a period of time. briefly outline Longitudinal studies can be short-term ( e.g. Reicher and Haslam the longitudinal prison experiment which only lasted several days ) or long-term method as used in ( e.g. Farrington’s study of criminal development ) which lasted psychological 40 years. research Longitudinal studies may involve collecting either quantitative data or qualitative data or both b) Outline two 8 Examples of longitudinal research: pieces of AS core studies: Thigpen and Cleckley: Multiple Personality evidence that Disorder ; Freud: Little Hans; Reicher and Haslam: BBC prison support the use study; Savage-Rumbaugh : Kanzi of longitudinal A2 research studies ( Forensic ) Farrington et al. (1961- studies in 2009) Cambridge Study of Delinquent Development; Weikart et psychology al ( 1962-2005) ‘Highscope’ Perry Pre-school Project Yochelson and Samenow ( longitudinal study of cognitive distortions in thinking of criminals in USA ) (Clinical) Any study which evaluates different therapeutic treatments and follows up over a period of time Other: Terman’s longitudinal study of gifted children ( California) ; Joan Freeman’s longitudinal study of gifted children ( UK) ; BBC ‘Seven Up’ and ‘Child of our Time’ studies When outlining your two pieces of research evidence you should include:- Main Aim; Sample; Method ( may be an experimental study, correlational study; invidual or group case study; ) main IVs and DV’s + type of data collected ( quantitative or qualitative measures ; type of data: physiological, observational, self- report , psychometric archive evidence and official statistics) Main results and conclusions c) Evaluate the 12 The key to a good answer to this section is to think about what usefulness of makes a study useful or not useful (i.e. various methodological longitudinal issues ) . studies in Your answer should not be merely a statement that such-and- psychological such study WAS useful /how it was used. This might end up research being purely descriptive and so might get little credit. Use PEC or PEE structure for each paragraph. Draw on studies cited in part b) for your examples, but bring in additional examples where it helps your argument . So what makes a study useful? Point 1 : Results from longitudinal studies are often used to provide ‘scientific evidence ‘ to guide important social policy decisions. But the extent to which the studies can show cause and effect limits the validity of the conclusions and thus the usefulness of the advice. Example 1 might use Weikart study. This was a controlled field experiment . So it was high in internal validity. i.e. we can infer cause and effect . 1
  • 2. G544 Section B . Question on Longitudinal Method Student Guide and Feedback Sheet Longitudinal studies often collect complex sets of data to They are typically correlational in design. Researchers who analyse these data sets may find interesting correlations between childhood factors in development and adult variables , but typically impossible to establish causation, because of number of uncontrolled extraneous variables Examples: might use Farrington study Point 2: Large data-sets are collected- typically, researchers try to measure every possible variable that may prove useful. May realise too late that no data was collected on some key variable . So this limits usefulness. Point 3: Large data-sets :- massive amounts of data stored on computer , but no funds or researchers available to analyse the data. e.g. This has been a problem in the Farrington et al. research study. Farrington has taken on a massive 40-year burden. He has had a succession of research assistants . Only he has the over- view of the project as a whole Comment: This limits the usefulness of the research data. If the time gap between collection and analysis of data is too long, then results arrive too late to be any use to policy –makers who have to make immediate decisions. They end up taking their decisions anyhow, without the benefit of scientific evidence. d) To what extent 8 Two important methodological problems which might detract do longitudinal from validity of longitudinal study data : studies offer a Point 1 : Participant attrition ( drop-out) valid method of Examples: draw from studies you described in part b) Could collecting data? use one eg of low participant attrition ( e.g. Farrington) and one eg of high dropout ( e.g. Yochelson and Samenow) Comment : WHY does participant attrition detract from validity? ( answer is that it biases the participant sample , since P’s who drop out might have different characteristics from P’s who stay in study) Point 2: Reactivity : P’s know that they are being studied and may react to this in very different ways Examples: One family in ‘Child of our Time’ study dropped out because they found that the study violated their privacy and portrayed them in an unfavourable light Some children identified as gifted in the Terman study viewed themselves as failures in later life when they failed to fulfil predictions of high achievement P’s in Farrington study on the other hand took a pride in being studied and volunteered their children and grandchildren to take part in the continuing study. Being studied may have reduced crime rates in this part of South London ! Comments: Individuals may have had their life-course changed by being part of the study- so findings ( data) collected from study may lack external validity , i.e. cannot be generalised to similar individuals who have not actually been studied. 2
  • 3. G544 Section B . Question on Longitudinal Method Student Guide and Feedback Sheet e) Compare the use 8 Suggest use Samuel and Bryant study as example of use of of the snapshot method . This is a quasi-experimental design , where IV is longitudinal age and DV is ability to conserve mass, number and volume. method with the Compare this with using a longitudinal approach to research the snapshot method same question ( i.e. does the ability to conserve mature with age?) in psychological research 3
  • 4. G544 Section B . Question on Longitudinal Method Student Guide and Feedback Sheet Longitudinal Approach Snapshot Approach Follows up the same individuals at different points in time Compares different individuals at the same point in time Expensive and time- consuming . difficult to ensure continuity of research personnel Cheap , quick, manageable Results might come too late to influence policy decisions Can get results to policy- makers in time Participant attrition can be a problem, resulting in a biased sample by the later stages of project Participant attrition less likely to be a problem – therefore easier to obtain representative samples Researchers may develop personal relationship with those being researched – this could be positive – benefits in having been part of project – or negative- objectivity of researchers may be compromised Research relationship is impersonal – more objective, but less likely to lead to deep insights about individuals who are part of study Often able to establish causal relationships – in this case we can be sure that the increase in age has caused the improvement in conservation skills – this is because this is like a repeated measures design , where P’s act as own controls The big problem with the 4
  • 5. G544 Section B . Question on Longitudinal Method Student Guide and Feedback Sheet YOUR TOTAL MARK/40 GENERAL COMMENT and RECOMMENDATIONS about how to improve mark : 5
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