Paper 2: Research Methods

Paper 2: Research Methods

What’s assessed? Compulsory content of Approaches, Biopsychology and Research Methods.
How is it assessed? Written exam: 2 hours • 96 marks in total • 33.3% of A-level
What type of questions? Section A&B: multiple choice, short answer and extended writing maximum 16 marks, each section totalling 24 marks. Section C: multiple choice, short answer and extended writing maximum 16 marks, section totalling 48 marks.

183Days 00Hrs 05Mins 30Secs

Students will be expected to:

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of psychological concepts, theories, research studies, research methods and ethical issues in relation to the specified Paper 2 content.
  • apply psychological knowledge and understanding of the specified Paper 2 content in a range of contexts
  • analyse, interpret and evaluate psychological concepts, theories, research studies and research methods in relation to the specified Paper 2 content
  • evaluate therapies and treatments including in terms of their appropriateness and effectiveness.

Assessment Objectives (% of overall A Level)

  • AO1 = 7–10 %
  • AO2 = 16–19 %
  • AO3 = 7–9 %

4.2.3 Research methods

  •  Experimental method. Types of experiment, laboratory and field experiments; natural and quasi-experiments.
  • Observational techniques. Types of observation: naturalistic and controlled observation; covert and overt observation; participant and non-participant observation.
  • Self-report techniques. Questionnaires; interviews, structured and unstructured.
  • Correlations. Analysis of the relationship between co-variables. The difference between correlations and experiments.
  • Content analysis.
  • Case studies.

4.2.3.1 Scientific processes

  • 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.

4.2.3.2 Data handling and analysis

  • Quantitative and qualitative data; the distinction between qualitative and quantitative data collection techniques.
  • Primary and secondary data, including meta-analysis.
  • Descriptive statistics: measures of central tendency – mean, median, mode; calculation of mean, median and mode; measures of dispersion; range and standard deviation; calculation of range; calculation of percentages; positive, negative and zero correlations.
  • Presentation and display of quantitative data: graphs, tables, scattergrams, bar charts, histograms.
  • Distributions: normal and skewed distributions; characteristics of normal and skewed distributions.
  • Analysis and interpretation of correlation, including correlation coefficients.
  • Levels of measurement: nominal, ordinal and interval.
  • Content analysis and coding. Thematic analysis.

4.2.3.3 Inferential testing

  • Introduction to statistical testing; the sign test.
  • Probability and significance: use of statistical tables and critical values in interpretation of significance; Type I and Type II errors.
  • Factors affecting the choice of statistical test, including level of measurement and experimental design.
  • When to use the following tests: Spearman’s rho, Pearson’s r, Wilcoxon, Mann-Whitney, related t-test, unrelated t-test and Chi-Squared test.

Research Methods Lessons

AQA Psychology:
PSY2 Research Methods

Lesson 01: Aims of Research
AQA Psychology:
PSY2 Research Methods

Lesson 02: Our Variables
AQA Psychology:
PSY2 Research Methods

Lesson 03: Hyp Writing
AQA Psychology:
PSY2 Research Methods

Lesson 04: Lab Experiments
AQA Psychology:
PSY2 Research Methods

Lesson 05: Other Experiments
AQA Psychology:
PSY2 Research Methods

Lesson 06: Exp Design
AQA Psychology:
PSY2 Research Methods

Lesson 07: Reliable & Valid
AQA Psychology:
PSY2 Research Methods

Lesson 08: Extra Variables
AQA Psychology:
PSY2 Research Methods

Lesson 09: Extra Variables
AQA Psychology:
PSY2 Research Methods

Lesson 10: Control of EVs
AQA Psychology:
PSY2 Research Methods

Lesson 11: Ethical Issues
AQA Psychology:
PSY2 Research Methods

Lesson 12: Ethical Issues
AQA Psychology:
PSY2 Research Methods

Lesson 13: Central Tendency
AQA Psychology:
PSY2 Research Methods

Lesson 14: Dispersion
AQA Psychology:
PSY2 Research Methods

Lesson 15: Graphs
AQA Psychology:
PSY2 Research Methods

Lesson 16: Distribution
AQA Psychology:
PSY2 Research Methods

Lesson 17: Sampling
AQA Psychology:
PSY2 Research Methods

Lesson 18: Correlations
AQA Psychology:
PSY2 Research Methods

Lesson 19: You Lemon
AQA Psychology:
PSY2 Research Methods

Lesson 20: Observation
AQA Psychology:
PSY2 Research Methods

Lesson 21: Design Obs
AQA Psychology:
PSY2 Research Methods

Lesson 22: Self Report
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PSY2 Research Methods

Lesson 23: Design Questions
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PSY2 Research Methods

Lesson 24: Case Studies
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Lesson 25: Case Studies
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Lesson 26: Prob & Sig
AQA Psychology:
PSY2 Research Methods

Lesson 27: Choose Tests
AQA Psychology:
PSY2 Research Methods

Lesson 28: Sign Test
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Lesson 29: Test Significance
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Lesson 30: Mid Unit Test
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Lesson 00: TBC Lesson
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