PSY2 – Research Methods: Lesson 02

Independent and Dependent Variables

PSY2 RM PowerpointTeachers or students who want the original PPT please tweet @psychopepper

Learning Objectives

  • To KNOW and UNDERSTAND what the definition of an independent variable (IV) and dependant variable (DV) is in Psychology.To KNOW and UNDERSTAND what the definition of operationalise is.To ANALYSE research descriptions in order to identify and operationalise IVs and DVs within them.
  • To APPLY knowledge of IVs and DVs to past exam questions.
  • To APPLY knowledge of IVs and DVs to the grass-head project.

Lesson Outline:

Tasks:

  1. Identify the aim and variables in your grasshead experiment
  2. Take notes on definition of independent variable and reduce to one word
  3. Take notes on definition of dependent variable and reduce to one word
  4. Take notes on definition of operationalise
  5. Try and guess which of the six variables in booklet are operationalised and which are not, try operationalising those which are not.
  6. Identify and operationalise the variables in two example studies.
  7. Complete grasshead logbook. Or pdf

Content Recap:

Independent Variables: In an experiment there are two variables. One of which is called the independent variable or sometimes the IV. This is the variable that is either manipulated by the researcher or the one which changes naturally. In order to test a hypothesis there has to be at least two levels of the IV, this is either two (or more) conditions we wish to compare (for example, studying in short bursts or longer sessions), or the presence and absence of a condition (using mind maps or not using mind maps). In short this is the variable THAT CHANGES.

Dependent Variables: In an experiment there are two variables. One of which is called the dependent variable or sometimes the DV. This is the variable that is measured by the researcher and should be caused by the changes to the independent variable, (for example memory performance). In short this is the variable THAT IS MEASURED.

Operationalise: Both the independent and dependent variables need to be operationalised. This means that they are made precise, clear, testable and objective. Operationalising variables makes the research repeatable which is a feature of good science.

If you would like to access PsychoPepper’s Glossary of Terms please click here

Homework:

Click Here

Study Notes:

If you would like to download a set of study notes for this lesson, you can do so here. If you would like access to the original word file please tweet @psychopepper

TEXTBOOKS OR EXTRA READING:

I would suggest that you have a copy of one of the textbooks which will allow you to read around the subject matter, pre-read ahead of lessons or even take extra notes/practise questions afterwards. I would recommend the following (you do not need to replicate books, one of each type is plenty!)

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