Psychological research questions

Part 1 (350 words)

Answer the following four questions using no less than 300 words (in total) and no more than 500 words (in total). 

  1. Explain why the internal and external validity of a study are important in psychological research.
  • When is it acceptable for psychologists to use animals in their research?
  • Is deception in psychological research an example of the ‘end justifying the means’?
  • Consider the following research study and answer the questions that follow.

A researcher is interested in whether the difficulty of examination questions affects students’ course evaluations.

  1. If she wants to determine whether setting a difficult exam produces less favourable comments in students’ course evaluations (i.e. a cause-and-effect relationship), what type of research procedure should she use?
  1. What procedures would she follow in setting up such a study?
  1. What could she select for independent and dependent variables?
  1. Do you think a control group would be important? Why or why not?
  1. How could she control for possible demand characteristics in the study?

Part 2 (2.5 pages)

  1. Identify the research method that best describes each of the examples of research studies that follow.
  1. A team of researchers, interested in what makes two people attracted to each other, spends several weeks in bars and night clubs observing young adults interacting with one another.
  1. A sport psychologist collects considerable information concerning each elite athlete that he sees, including information concerning their sporting performance in competition, to try to determine under what conditions they are most likely to exhibit their maximal performance.
  1. The relationship between exercise, healthy diet and body weight is examined.
  1. A researcher is interested in whether there are gender differences in the performance on a road map task. He compares the test scores of the male and female participants in the sample. (pg. 72)
  1. A local health and community psychologist is interested in learning about the relationships people have with their residential communities. She sends out a questionnaire to all people in the town asking them various questions about how they perceive life in their community.
  1. A lecturer wants to determine whether students are more likely to participate in class discussions when group members are the same sex. She randomly assigns students to either same-sex or mixed-sex groups and monitors the discussions for each group.
  • In an experimental study on the effects of alcohol on memory performance:
  1. What variable is the dependent variable (DV)?
  2. What variable is the independent variable (IV)?
  • You want to see if there is a difference in the rate of water evaporation if the water is coloured. Red, green and blue food colouring is added to three vials of water and the millimetres of water in the vial is measured after 12 hours.
  1. What is the theoretical IV?
  2. How is the IV manipulated or operationalised?
  3. What is the theoretical DV?
  4. How is the DV measured or operationalised?
  • What are the (a) advantages and (b) disadvantages of experimental research?

Part 3 (2.5 pages)

  1. Prepare responses to the following questions about naturalistic observation.
  1. What is naturalistic observation?
  2. Give an example of naturalistic observation.
  3. What are the advantages of naturalistic observation?
  4. What are the disadvantages of naturalistic observation?
  5. Prepare responses to the following instructions and questions about case studies:
  1. Define the case study method and give an example.
  2. What are the advantages of using a case study?
  3. What are the disadvantages of using a case study?
  • Prepare responses to the following instructions and questions about collecting data:
  1. Describe the survey method for collecting data and give an example.
  2. What are the advantages of using a survey method for collecting data?
  3. What are the disadvantages of using a survey method for collecting data?

Part 1

Question 1

Internal validity is the validity of the measurement and tests itself while external validity is the ability to combine the findings to the target population. They are significant is the analyzing appropriateness, usefulness, and meaningfulness of research study. If the result of the study is deemed not to be valid, then they are meaningless to the psychological research. Moreover, it cannot measure what it was purposed to then it cannot answer the research question, and it becomes a waste of time and effort (Bernstein et al, 2013).

Question 2

Based on ethical issues, a psychologist is only allowed to use animals when the study involves emotional and physical pain that cannot be subjected to a human being. For example, the skinner’s ‘’Rat in a box study’’ can only be performed using an animal (Christensen et al, 2011).

Question 3

Deception in psychology is an example of the end justifying the means. It is used in the study to hide the real purpose of, the study. It is said that revealing the truth about the study will affect the result of the study making the process null.

Question 4

  1. She can use the experimental research to find out the situation.
  2. She can use the students and examinations to determine the nature of the comments. She can set both difficult and easy for students to take. After that, she can involve face to face dialogue to get the comments from the students.
  3. The examination question should be used as independent variable while the students cause evaluation should be dependable variable since it is being affected by examination question.
  4. A control group is necessary to act as a control experiment in the evaluation process.
  5. To control the demand characteristic in the study then the participants should not be aware of what the experimenter expects after the survey. Being aware of them, there is a possibility of the participants altering their behavior affecting the outcome of the study.

Part 2

Question 1

  1. The observational research method is useful in this case since the researchers go to observe the behaviors of the adults interacting with one another. The researcher does not involve the participants in the study but instead observes them and analysis to find answers.
  2. Experimental research method will be effective since it determines the cause-effect of situations. In this case, the researcher involves the participants which in this case are the athletes to conduct the study. The research ought to come up with various conditions for testing in the experiment.
  3. Correlation research method since more than one item experiments. This method is effective since the research involves more than two aspects. These are exercise, healthy diets and body weight. These aspects are related and affect each other in the regular life.
  4. Opinion based research method involves designing an experiment and collecting quantitative data (Elmes et al., 2011). The researcher will analyze the information from the performance of the road tasks. Therefore, he or she will give an opinion based on the information obtained from the task.
  5. Random sampling research method would be effective. In this study, there is no order to be followed in identifying the participants. The researcher randomly selects the participants to conduct the research. Therefore, this will require random sampling techniques.

Question 2

  1.  A dependable variable is a variable that is being tested and measured in an experiment. In this case, it is the memory performance. The researcher wants to understand about memory performance, and therefore it becomes the fact that is being tested.
  2. Independent variable is a variable that is being altered in an experiment to test the effect on the dependable variable. In this case is the effect of alcohol. In the experiment, the effect of alcohol on memory balance forms the main point of the research (Richards, 2011).

Question 3

  1. A theoretical IV that influences the behavior of some other factors which in most cases is dependent variable (Montero & León, 2007). The theoretical IV is the color of water. The different color of the water in the experiments affects the rate of evaporation.
  2. The independent variable is manipulated by changing the color of water by adding the food coloring elements. In this experiment, the red, green and blue food coloring is used to change the color of water and thus affecting the evaporation rate.
  3. The theoretical DV is the amount of water that evaporates from each of the vials. This is what is being tested or verified in the experiments. It is usually influenced by the independent variable in a trial.
  4.  The DV is measured in millimeters after 12hours to find out the amount of water that has evaporated. The researcher can use observation technique to verify the different rates of evaporation or may use measuring devices such as a graduated beaker for the sake of accuracy.

Question 4

Advantages of experimental research

The experimental research is the most efficient way for drawing causal conclusions. Moreover, the researcher has control over the variable and thus effective research process. This allows for accuracy and flexibility to conduct more research for proper analysis (Fryer & Fox, 2017).

Disadvantage of experimental research

The research is subject to human error which can affect the final result. The researcher has control and can create an error thereby affecting the final results. Moreover, personal biasness of the researcher might begin to intrude (Kimmel, 2009).

Part 3

Question 1

  1. Naturalistic observation is a research method where the researcher views the behavior in the natural world or perhaps the real-life environment where it can take place. The observation usually takes place without the participants noticing the process (Angrosino, 2016).
  2. The study of the social behavior of the preschoolers where the research can decide to observe them at the playground or during lunchtime. The researcher will learn about the participants at a point where they are free. In this case, the operation takes place in the playground to learn and observe (Angrosino, 2016).
  3. It does not need the corporation of the participants who are under the study or being observed (Angrosino, 2016). The participants are not required to take part in the study, thus making the process easy and efficient. The information is free from errors since the individual is not aware.
  4. It is tough to find out the cause of the behavior of interest being looked at (Angrosino, 2016). A child may behave in various ways due to other forces outside the schools. Therefore, it will be challenging for the researcher to compile the cause of the behavior.

Question 2

  1. Case study method is a study that involves and gives descriptive information about an individual. For example, a researcher or psychologist can research to investigate the memory processes of a person with an exceptional ability to remember and master things. This kind of investigation will narrow down on an individual’s life to find out data (Yin, 2017).
  2. Advantage; the case studies can give new insights into phenomena that cannot be established or leaned in other ways. For example a famous study by Milgram to study the effects of social pressure in the society. Moreover, it allows for intensive studies for a given unit due to maximum concentration on one subject matter.
  3. The disadvantage, in case of studies, many studies cannot be replicated meaning that the data and results are only valid for one person. Moreover, when conducting a case study, the author can form a bias. This can be on the subject, data collection or in the interpretation of data.

Question 3

  1. The survey method of data collection is used commonly in the collection about a given population of interest. The method has a way to provide an understanding of an individual’s attitudes towards a given matter or situation. For example, research may instruct a given group of individuals to focus on negative aspects that induce negative moods while at the same time instruct another group to a control group to read an article (Fowler, 2013).
  2. Advantages; the merit includes low cost and the sample size. It is an excellent way to examine a variety of unobservable data like traits, beliefs, and behaviors. Moreover, the survey is flexible which allows for a collection of a wide range of information in a single study.
  3. The most significant issue with this method is accuracy since it is based on opinions from respondents which can be misleading. Additionally, in designing a survey process, the research may be wary of words, formats, and sequencing of a questionnaire for the response.


Angrosino, M. V. (2016). Naturalistic observation. Routledge.

Bernstein, D. A., Pooley, J. A., Cohen, L., Goldthorpe, B., Provost, S., Cranney, J., … & Roy, E. J. (2013). Psychology: an international discipline in context: Australian and New Zealand Edition.

Christensen, L. B., Johnson, B., Turner, L. A., & Christensen, L. B. (2011). Research methods, design, and analysis.

Elmes, D. G., Kantowitz, B. H., & Roediger III, H. L. (2011). Research methods in psychology. Nelson Education.

Fryer, D., & Fox, R. (2017). TEACHING PSYCHOLOGY CRITICALLY. Teaching Critical Psychology: International Perspectives.

Fowler Jr, F. J. (2013). Survey research methods. Sage publications.

Kimmel, A. J. (2009). Ethical issues in behavioral research: Basic and applied perspectives. John Wiley & Sons.

Montero, I., & León, O. G. (2007). A guide for naming research studies in Psychology. international Journal of clinical and Health psychology, 7(3).

Richards, M. (2011). Psychology and austerity: Finding creative ways to research and collaborate in a cost effective way. Recession-beating ways to research and collaborate Tips on getting your first grant Publish or perish, 41.

Yin, R. K. (2017). Case study research and applications: Design and methods. Sage publications.

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