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1. Methodology – Surveys o A method commonly used in social psychology is the SURVEY. o This is an umbrella term for a number of different designs, including…
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  • 1. Methodology – Surveys o A method commonly used in social psychology is the SURVEY. o This is an umbrella term for a number of different designs, including QUESTIONNAIRES and INTERVIEWS, which are used to investigate specific research questions by gathering SELF-REPORT DATA. o At the core of this method is QUESTIONING. o Before a survey can begin, or any other type of research, it is important to clearly identify what you want to find out. o Surveys are planned with an AIM in mind e.g. ‘To look at why we obey those in authority’. o However, it is essential to identify clearly what you want to find out by setting up a hypothesis.What is a hypothesis? (This is important to understand – cover this in EVERY methodology section) Hypotheses are specific testable predictions about what you expect to find after analysing the data from your participants. For example you may predict that young people would be less likely to think they would obey a man in uniform than older people would. This is known as an ALTERNATIVE HYPOTHESIS as it is an alternative to the NULL HYPOTHESIS which states that there is no such effect except that found by chance e.g. ‘age would have no effect on willingness to obey a man in uniform’. In research you test the NULL HYPOTHESIS – if it is rejected it means your data indicates a real effect and you have found support for your alternative hypothesis. 1. Questionnaire SurveysA survey involves the systematic gathering of data from large numbers of people, usually by carrying out aquestionnaire.Most surveys are carried out on carefully selected representative groups (referred to as ‘samples’) so thatthe researchers can generalise to a wider population from which any such group was drawn.Questionnaire surveys can be conducted face to face, by post, by telephone, or via the internet.Questions can be of two broad types:CLOSED QUESTIONS are those where the researcher determines the range of possible answers e.g. tickingboxes, circling appropriate answer. These questions are best used when factual information is required. Theyproduce information that is easy to quantify and analyse, but which may lack realism due to the forced choice.E.G.I enjoy studying A Level PsychologyStrongly Disagree Neither disagree Agree Strongly agreedisagree or agreeOPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS are those in which the researcher does not restrict the range of availableanswers. Open-ended questions produce a greater depth of qualitative information, but at a cost – answersare more difficult to analyse because the range of possible answers is so wide.E.G.What do you think of the A level psychology course?……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 1
  • 2. TASK 1 – When planning questionnaires different formats can be used togather the data. Briefly describe and give an example of a Likert-typescale AND an open-ended questionTASK 2 – Why might a pilot survey be carried out? TASK 3 – Complete the following Open ended questions are…… One strength One weakness Second strength Second weakness Closed ended questions are…… One strength One weakness 2
  • 3. Second strength Second weakness TASK 4 – Complete the following: Qualitative data is gathered using…………. –ended questions Quantitative data is gathered using………….-ended question. 2. Interviews There are three types of interview which can be carried out; 1. Structured Interview – pre-set order of questions 2. Semi-structured Interview – there is a schedule of questions that should be answered but researcher has freedom to follow up on some responses 3. Unstructured Interview – questions are open and structure is flexibleWhat type of data is data is gathered?_____________________________________________________ What problems might be encountered when carrying out an interview? 1. Social desirability When respondents say what they think they ought to say 2. Demand characteristics Guessing the purpose of the study (may want to help interviewer or NOT) 3. Response bias E.g. agreeing/disagreeing all the timeDo these problems apply to questionnaires too?______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Analysis of data from interviewsInterviews often generate Q……………………dataGenerally this is more difficult to analyse than quantitative data – why?______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________TASK 4 -The aim of this activity is to get you to consider the relative strengths and weaknesses of thedifferent methods that can be called surveys.You will work in small groups to choose the best method for the following pieces of research. You need to beable to justify their choice.1. Research into the experience of being a victim of crime.2. Research about satisfaction levels with the local council’s provision of waste collection.3. Research into car choice.4. Research into the effects of drug-taking on mental health.5. Research into attitudes about care in the community.6. Research into the reasons for choosing to study psychology.As an extension task, you could approach one question using two different methods. What would change? How would thedata be affected?TASK 5- 3
  • 4. Quick test… complete the sentences…A hypothesis is…There are two types of hypothesis…Surveys involve two types of research methods…Qualitative data is …Quantitative data is…One problem when carrying out interviews is…Which means… EVALUATION OF SURVEY METHODSRELIABILITYThis concerns the consistency of the data – if we have a reliable test, we could expect that, if we did it overand over again with people possessing similar characteristics, we would get very similar dataVALIDITYThis concerns the genuineness of the results. Did we actually test and measure what we said we did? Inpsychology we can seldom access the things we are testing as they tend to be abstract concepts like obedience.It is assumed that such things are demonstrated by behaviour which is observable, so it is behaviour change wemeasure, on the basis that this is motivated by the psychological concept we are testing. However, we may bewrong in this assumption – something else may cause the behaviour and out data and conclusions are not thenvalid.SUBJECTIVITYThis concerns the interpretation of the data. Is our view of the results likely to be shared by others, or is itcoloured by our own expectations and experiences? The goal of scientific research is to gain an objective viewof something that can be established as value-free and factual.TASK 5 -Using the terms below complete the table:METHOD STRENGTHS WEAKNESSESUnstructured Interview • • • • • • •Closed questionquestionnaire • • • • • • •Rigid, Likely to be small scale, Can be large scale, In-depth data, High validity, Cannot be replicated,Replicable, Low validity, Flexible, Subjective, May be unreliable, Reliable, Objective, Can be superficialTASK 6 – evaluation of questionnaires and interviews in general Strengths WeaknessesQuestionnaires + - + -Interviews + - + - 4
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    Jul 23, 2017
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