﻿ ﻿Question practice: research methods questions - Revision and exam skills

# Question practice: research methods questionsRevision and exam skills

This type of question requires answers centred on aspects of research methods, often focused on questions formed around specific topic areas. Sometimes such questions are orientated at a general research methods topic area, for example, Question 1.

Such questions therefore require an answer focused only on the general topic area specified, in this case the strengths of peer review. However, this type of question can also be more specific in its requirements, for example, Question 2 concerning Asch’s conformity study.

Research methods questions can often involve mathematical skills. They may require calculations, such as in Question 3, drawn from the attachment topic.

Such questions can also merely require knowledge of mathematical skills to be exhibited, such as in Question 4.

Questions

1 Explain one limitation of the role of peer review in the scientific process.

[2 marks]

2 Asch (1955) performed a famous laboratory experiment investigating normative social influence. Explain one strength of the design used in this study.

[2 marks]

3 A researcher wished to know whether infants have formed their first attachment by 7 months of age by using measurements of separation distress and stranger anxiety with 10 babies. The findings from the study can be seen in the table below showing number of 7-month-old babies who had formed an attachment.

 Infant Attachment or no attachment 1 Yes 2 No 3 Yes 4 No 5 Yes 6 Yes 7 Yes 8 Yes 9 Yes 10 Yes

Using the data from the table on infant attachment, calculate a sign test to assess whether the number of infants with an attachment is significant at the 0.05 significance level for a one-tailed (directional) hypothesis. You will need to make reference to the critical value table below to achieve this. Show your calculations.

[3 marks]

The table below shows the critical values for the sign test.

 Level of significance for a two-tailed test 0.05 0.025 0.01 0.005 Level of significance for a one-tailed test N 0.01 0.05 0.02 0.01 5 0 — — — 6 0 0 — — 7 0 0 0 — 8 1 0 0 0 9 1 1 0 0 10 1 1 0 0 11 2 1 1 0 12 2 2 1 1 13 3 2 1 1 14 3 2 2 1 15 3 3 2 2 16 4 3 2 2 17 4 4 3 2 18 5 4 3 3 19 5 4 4 3 20 5 5 4 3

4 Explain what is meant by ordinal level data.

[1 mark]

5 (After description of a research study) The study uses a repeated measures design. Explain one strength of the repeated measures design.

[2 marks]

6 A researcher tested the effect of sleep deprivation by getting two groups of participants, one who had 8 hours sleep the previous night and one who had none, to do an IQ test. One group of participants did the test in one room while the other group did it in a different room.

Identify a possible extraneous variable in the above study and explain what its effect could be on the findings if it was uncontrolled.

[3 marks]

7 A group of female participants and a group of male participants read some information about the meanings of various words and 1 week later were given a test of recall to assess their semantic LTM ability. The scores gained in the test can be seen in the table below.

 Participant Male scores on test of semantic LTM (out of 20) Female scores on test of semantic LTM (out of 20) 1 10 11 2 11 10 3 14 16 4 8 9 5 16 15 6 8 9 7 12 11 8 9 11

Calculate the mean score for semantic LTM for male participants. Show your calculations.

[2 marks]

8 What type of graph should be used to plot data from a correlational analysis?

[1 mark]

Strategies for improvement

Identify command words before attempting an answer.

Use marks in brackets as a guide to how much to write/how much elaboration is required.

Practise these types of questions for all topic areas regularly.

Common pitfalls

Not addressing the requirements of the question (for example, providing evaluation in a question that only needs description or providing description in a question that only requires evaluation)

Not writing/elaborating enough to gain access to all of the marks available

Using relevant knowledge but not applying it to the specific circumstances, for example when the question says ’in this study’ but only giving a general answer

One limitation of the role of peer review is that it is not always unbiased and objective.

Feedback

1/2 marks. Correct, but no elaboration of the point, so only 1 mark. The candidate could have gone on to explain why it can be biased, for example that a reviewer may have a negative social relationship with a study’s author.

Exam tip

1 mark would be earned by making a relevant point, with an additional mark available for sufficient elaboration.

Asch’s study used an independent measures design and one strength of this is that there were no order effects, as participants only did one of the two conditions of the study.

Feedback

2/2 marks. 1 mark for correct identification of a strength and the additional mark for explaining sufficiently why it is a strength.

Exam tip

To gain the first mark a relevant strength must be identified, with the second mark being gained by providing elaboration that shows an understanding of why this is a strength.

S = 2 and the critical value is 1. This is not significant.

Feedback

2/3 marks. The calculation of the test is correct, as is stating it to be significant. However, the calculations made are not provided.

Exam tip

1 mark for correct calculation of the sign test, with an additional mark for stating whether this is significant or not. The other available mark would be gained by providing the calculations made.

Ordinal level data means that the data can be put into rank order, such as 1st, 2nd, 3rd and so forth.

Feedback

1/1 mark. A clear and correct answer.

Exam tip

1 mark for explaining what ordinal data is in a way that differentiates it from other forms of data, such as nominal or interval/ratio data.

One strength of a repeated measures design is that there are no participant variables.

Feedback

1/2 marks. Correct, but no elaboration of the point, so only 1 mark. The candidate could have gone on to explain why there are no participant variables, for example because each participant is compared against themselves.

Exam tip

1 mark would be earned by making a relevant point, with an additional mark available for sufficient elaboration.

One extraneous variable could be the fact that the participants did the test in different rooms. This could make the results invalid.

Feedback

2/3 marks. 1 mark for correct identification of a possible extraneous variable and 1 additional mark for the comments on the validity of the results. Elaboration would be required to gain the other mark, possibly by explaining how the extraneous variable could become a confounding one.

Exam tip

To gain the first mark on offer an extraneous variable needs to be identified, but this must be drawn from the scenario. The other 2 marks would be for explaining its possible effect in confounding the results. Sufficient elaboration would be necessary to get the second mark here.

The mean is 11.

Working out:

10 + 11 + 14 + 8 + 16 + 8 + 12 + 9 = 88

88 divided by 8 = 11

Feedback

2/2 marks. Correct and the calculations are shown, so full marks.

Exam tip

1 mark for correct calculation of the mean, with an additional mark for showing the calculations to achieve this.

A scattergram would be used.

Feedback

1/1 mark. Correct.

Exam tip

1 mark for each correct identification of a scattergram (or scattergraph).

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