# Reliability A psychologist is using the observational method

Reliability A psychologist is using the observational method to look at verbal aggression in a group of children with behavioural difficulties. Pairs of observers watch a single child in the class for a period of one hour and note the number of verbally aggressive acts within ten-minute time intervals. After seeing the first set of ratings, the psychologist becomes concerned about the quality of inter-rater reliability. The tally chart for the two observers is shown in Table 2. Table 2: Observation of one child - number of verbally aggressive acts in ten-minute time intervals Time slots

0-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60

Observer A 2 5 0 6 4

3 Observer B 4 3 2 1

6 5 Use the data in Table 2 to sketch a scattergram. Label the axes and give the scattergram a title. (4 marks) Using the data in Table 2, explain why the psychologist is concerned about inter-rater reliability. (4 marks) Identify an appropriate statistical test to check the interrater reliability of these two observers. Explain why this is an appropriate test.

(3 marks) If the psychologist does find low reliability, what could she do to improve inter-rater reliability before proceeding with the observational research? (4 mark A psychologist was interested in testing a new treatment for people with eating disorders. She put up adverts in several London clinics to recruit participants. Thirty people came forward and they were all given a structured interview by a trained therapist. The therapist then calculated a numerical score for each participant as a measure of their current functioning, where 50 indicates excellent, healthy functioning and zero

indicates failure to function adequately. The psychologist then randomly allocated half the participants to a treatment group and half to a notreatment group. After eight weeks, each participant was re-assessed using a structured interview conducted by the same trained therapist, and given a new numerical score. The trained therapist did not know which participants had been in either group. For each participant, the psychologist calculated an improvement score by subtracting the score at the start of the study from the score after eight weeks. The greater the number, the better the improvement. Table 1: Median and range of improvement scores for the treatment group and for the no-treatment group Treatment group

No-treatment group Median 10.9 2.7 Range 2.1

0.8 What is meant by reliability? Explain how the reliability of the scores in this study could be checked. (4 marks) FEB 2010 Two psychologists investigated the relationship between age and recall of medical advice. Previous research had shown that recall of medical advice tended to be poorer in older patients. The study was conducted at a doctor's surgery and involved a sample of 30 patients aged between 18 and 78 years. They all saw the same doctor, who

made notes of the advice that she gave during the consultation. One of the psychologists interviewed each of the patients individually, immediately after they had seen the doctor. The psychologist asked each patient a set of questions about what the doctor had said about their diagnosis and treatment. The patients' responses were recorded and then typed out. Working independently the psychologists compared each typed account with the doctor's written notes in order to rate the accuracy of the accounts on a scale of 1-10. A high rating indicated that the patient's recall was very accurate and a low rating indicated that the patient's recall was very inaccurate.

The psychologists were careful to consider the issue of reliability during the study. What is meant by reliability? (1 mark) Explain how the psychologists might have assessed the reliability of their ratings. (3 marks) Explain what is meant by replicability. Why is replicability an important feature of science? (5 marks)

Peer review 1a) Outline what is meant by the term peer review in psychological research (2 marks) 1b) Explain why peer review is important in psychological research. (5 marks) JUNE 2010 Peer review The report was subjected to peer review before it was published in a journal. What is meant by peer review? (2 marks) Explain why peer review is an important aspect of the scientific process. (4 marks)

Features of science A teacher has worked in the same primary school for two years. While chatting to the children, she is concerned to find that the majority of them come to school without having eaten a healthy breakfast. In her opinion, children who eat 'a decent breakfast' learn to read more quickly and are better behaved than children who do not. She now wants to set up a pre-school breakfast club for the children so that they can all have this beneficial start to the day. The local authority is not willing to spend money on this project purely on the basis of the teacher's opinion and insists on having scientific evidence for the claimed benefits of eating a healthy breakfast.

Explain why the teacher's personal opinion cannot be accepted as scientific evidence. Refer to some of the major features of science in your answer. (6 marks) Sampling A psychologist at the local university agrees to carry out a study to investigate the claim that eating a healthy breakfast improves reading skills. He has access to 400 five-year-old children from 10 local schools, and decides to use 100 children (50 in the experimental group and 50 in the control group). Since the children are so young, he needs to obtain parental consent for

them to take part in his study. The psychologist used a random sampling method. Explain how he could have obtained his sample using this method. (3 marks) Explain limitations of using random sampling in this study. (3 marks) Sampling A psychologist at the local university agrees to carry out a study to investigate the claim that eating a healthy breakfast improves reading skills. He has access to 400 five-year-old children from 10 local schools, and decides to use 100 children (50 in the experimental group and 50 in the control group). Since the

children are so young, he needs to obtain parental consent for them to take part in his study. The psychologist used a random sampling method. Explain how he could have obtained his sample using this method. (3 marks) Explain limitations of using random sampling in this study. (3 marks) Sampling and hypotheses Psychological research suggests an association between birth order and certain abilities. For example, first-born children are often logical in their thinking whereas later-born children tend to be more creative. A psychologist wonders whether this might

mean that birth order is associated with different career choices. She decides to investigate and asks 50 artists and 65 lawyers whether they were the first-born child in the family or not. Write a non-directional hypothesis for this study. (2 marks) Identify an appropriate sampling method for this study and explain how the psychologist might have obtained such a sample. (3 marks) Hypotheses and data types Two psychologists investigated the relationship between age and recall of medical advice. Previous research had shown that recall of medical

advice tended to be poorer in older patients. The study was conducted at a doctor's surgery and involved a sample of 30 patients aged between 18 and 78 years. They all saw the same doctor, who made notes of the advice that she gave during the consultation. One of the psychologists interviewed each of the patients individually, immediately after they had seen the doctor. The psychologist asked each patient a set of questions about what the doctor had said about their diagnosis and treatment. The patients' responses were recorded and then typed out. Working independently the psychologists compared each typed account with the doctor's written notes in order to rate the accuracy of the accounts on a scale of 1-10. A high rating indicated that the patient's recall was very accurate and a low rating indicated that the

patient's recall was very inaccurate. The psychologists decided to propose a directional hypothesis. Why was a directional hypothesis appropriate in this case? (1 mark) Write a suitable directional hypothesis for this investigation. (3 marks) This study collected both qualitative and quantitative data. From the description of the study above, identify the qualitative data and the quantitative data. (2 marks)

hypotheses A maths teacher wondered whether there was a relationship between mathematical ability and musical ability. She decided to test this out on the GCSE students in the school. From 210 students, she randomly selected 10 and gave each of them two tests. She used part of a GCSE exam paper to test their mathematical ability. The higher the mark, the better the mathematical ability. She could not find a musical ability test so she devised her own. She asked each student to sing a song of their choice. She then rated their performance on a scale of 1-10, where 1 is completely tuneless and 10 is in perfect tune.

2 Suggest a suitable non-directional hypothesis for this study. (3 marks) Hypotheses Some studies have suggested that there may be a relationship between intelligence and happiness. To investigate this claim, a psychologist used a standardised test to measure intelligence in a sample of 30 children aged 11 years, who were chosen from a local secondary school. He also asked the children to complete a self-report questionnaire designed to measure happiness. The score from the intelligence test was correlated with the score from the happiness questionnaire. The psychologist used a Spearmans rho test to analyse the data. He found that

the correlation between intelligence and happiness at age 11 was +0.42. Write an operationalised non-directional hypothesis for this study. (2 marks) Identify an alternative method which could have been used to collect data about happiness in this study. Explain why this method might be better than using a questionnaire. (4 marks) Reliability and validity A maths teacher wondered whether there was a relationship between mathematical ability and musical ability. She decided to test this out on the GCSE students in the school. From 210 students, she randomly selected 10 and gave each of them two tests. She used part of a GCSE exam paper to test their

mathematical ability. The higher the mark, the better the mathematical ability. She could not find a musical ability test so she devised her own. She asked each student to sing a song of their choice. She then rated their performance on a scale of 1-10, where 1 is completely tuneless and 10 is in perfect tune. Why might the measure of musical ability used by the teacher lack validity? marks) Explain how the teacher could have checked the reliability of the mathematical ability test. (3 marks) (3 Validity

It is thought that colours might affect our performance when carrying out certain tasks. Research in this area has been inconclusive. Some studies have shown that red improves performance but others have found the opposite. It could be that these contradictory results have arisen because red is beneficial only for certain kinds of mental processing. Some psychologists tested this hypothesis in a series of independent-groups design experiments using students at a Canadian university. The experiments involved computer tasks, with either a red, blue or neutral background appearing on the monitor. The researchers found that participants were better at a word-recall task and a spell-checking task when the screen background was red rather than blue or neutral. However, participants thought of more creative ideas when the screen was blue rather than red or neutral.

The researchers concluded that red is beneficial for tasks that require attention to detail whereas blue aids creativity. validity A psychological report also contains a discussion section. Researchers are expected to consider their findings critically and discuss issues such as validity. What is meant by validity? (1 mark) Explain how one factor in this study might affect its internal validity and how one factor might affect its external validity.

(2 marks + 2 marks) Internal validity Some studies have suggested that there may be a relationship between intelligence and happiness. To investigate this claim, a psychologist used a standardised test to measure intelligence in a sample of 30 children aged 11 years, who were chosen from a local secondary school. He also asked the children to complete a self-report questionnaire designed to measure happiness. The score from the intelligence test was correlated with the score from the happiness questionnaire. The psychologist used a Spearmans rho test to analyse the data. He found that the correlation between intelligence and happiness at age 11 was +0.42.

What is meant by internal validity? (1 mark) Describe how the internal validity of the happiness questionnaire could be assessed. (3 marks) Internal validity Some studies have suggested that there may be a relationship between intelligence and happiness. To investigate this claim, a psychologist used a standardised test to measure intelligence in a sample of 30 children aged 11 years, who were chosen from a local secondary school. He also asked the children to complete a self-report questionnaire designed to measure happiness. The score from the intelligence test was correlated

with the score from the happiness questionnaire. The psychologist used a Spearmans rho test to analyse the data. He found that the correlation between intelligence and happiness at age 11 was +0.42. What is meant by internal validity? (1 mark) Describe how the internal validity of the happiness questionnaire could be assessed. (3 marks) Standardised instructions In a further experiment, participants were given 20 blue shapes or 20 red shapes. They were then asked to pick 5 shapes and use them to make a toy suitable for a child aged between five and eleven years. They were

given a limited time to carry out this task. Participants given red shapes made toys that independent judges rated to be more practical but less original, whereas participants given blue shapes made more creative toys. Explain why the researchers asked independent judges to rate the toys. (2 marks) Write a set of standardised instructions that would be suitable to read out to participants in this experiment. (5 marks) Consent forms A psychologist was interested in looking at the effects of a restricted diet on psychological functioning. A group of 20 healthy, young adult

volunteers agreed to spend four weeks in a research unit. They were kept warm and comfortable but given only water and small amounts of plain food. They were able to socialise with one another and watch television, but they had to keep to strict, set mealtimes and were not allowed to eat anything between meals. The psychologist carried out various tests of emotional and cognitive functioning during this fourweek period. One area of interest for the psychologist was the effect of the dietary restriction on the perception of food. He tested this by asking the volunteers to draw pictures of food at the end of each week. When all the drawings had been completed, the psychologist used content analysis to analyse them. The psychologist needed to be sure that his

participants understood the nature of the study so that they were able to give informed consent. Write a consent form which would be suitable for this study. Make sure there is sufficient information about the study for the participants to make an informed decision. (5 marks) Research methods questions Report writing June 2011 What is the purpose of the introduction section of a report?

(2 marks) Jan 2013- The report was subjected to peer review before it was published in a journal. What is meant by peer review? (2 marks) Explain why peer review is an important aspect of the scientific process. (4 marks) Feb 2010 A psychologist was interested in testing a new treatment for people with eating disorders. She put up adverts in several London clinics to recruit participants. Thirty people came forward and they were all given a

structured interview by a trained therapist. The therapist then calculated a numerical score for each participant as a measure of their current functioning, where 50 indicates excellent, healthy functioning and zero indicates failure to function adequately. The psychologist then randomly allocated half the participants to a treatment group and half to a notreatment group. After eight weeks, each participant was re-assessed using a structured interview conducted by the same trained therapist, and given a new numerical score. The trained therapist did not know which participants had been in either group. For each participant, the psychologist calculated an improvement score by subtracting the score at the start of the study from the score after eight weeks. The greater the number, the better the improvement.

The psychologist noticed that female and male participants seemed to have responded rather differently to the treatment. She decided to test the following hypothesis: Female patients with an eating disorder will show greater improvement in their symptoms after treatment with the new therapy than male patients. She used a new set of participants and, this time, used self-report questionnaires instead of +interviews with a therapist. Imagine that you are the psychologist and are writing up the report of the study. Write an appropriate methods section which includes reasonable detail of design, participants, materials and procedure. Make sure that there is enough detail to allow another researcher to carry out this study in the future.

(I 0 marks) Content analysis- June 2010 A psychologist was interested in looking at the effects of a restricted diet on psychological functioning. A group of 20 healthy, young adult volunteers agreed to spend four weeks in a research unit. They were kept warm and comfortable but given only water and small amounts of plain food. They were able to socialise with one another and watch television, but they had to keep to strict, set mealtimes and were not allowed to eat anything between meals. The psychologist carried out various tests of emotional and cognitive functioning during this fourweek period. One area of interest for the psychologist was the effect of

the dietary restriction on the perception of food. He tested this by asking the volunteers to draw pictures of food at the end of each week. When all the drawings had been completed, the psychologist used content analysis to analyse them. a) What is meant by the term content analysis? (1 mark) b) Explain how the psychologist might have carried out content analysis to analyse these drawings. (3 marks) June 2013 In an observational study, 100 cars were fitted with video cameras to record the drivers behaviour. Two psychologists used content analysis to analyse the data from the films.

They found that 75% of accidents involved a lack of attention by the driver. The most common distractions were using a hands-free phone or talking to a passenger. Other distractions included looking at the scenery, smoking, eating, personal grooming and trying to reach something within the car. What is content analysis? (2 marks) Explain how the psychologists might have carried out content analysis to analyse the film clips of driver behaviour. (4 marks) Type 1/2 errors

Repeated measure design Jan 2012 Two psychologists investigated the relationship between age and recall of medical advice. Previous research had shown that recall of medical advice tended to be poorer in older patients. The study was conducted at a doctor's surgery and involved a sample of 30 patients aged between 18 and 78 years. They all saw the same doctor, who made notes of the advice that she gave during the consultation. One of the psychologists interviewed each of the patients individually,

immediately after they had seen the doctor. The psychologist asked each patient a set of questions about what the doctor had said about their diagnosis and treatment. The patients' responses were recorded and then typed out. Working independently the psychologists compared each typed account with the doctor's written notes in order to rate the accuracy of the accounts on a scale of 1-10. A high rating indicated that the patient's recall was very accurate and a low rating indicated that the patient's recall was very inaccurate. Calculated value- -0.52 (P, 0.05) Jan 2012 Stats- june

2011 Mark scheme Jan 2013 Some studies have suggested that there may be a relationship between intelligence and happiness. To investigate this claim, a psychologist used a standardised test to measure intelligence in a sample of 30 children aged 11 years, who were chosen from a local secondary school. He also asked the children to complete a self-report questionnaire designed to measure happiness. The score from the intelligence test was

correlated with the score from the happiness questionnaire. The psychologist used a Spearmans rho test to analyse the data. He found that the correlation between intelligence and happiness at age 11 was +0.42 Five years later, the same young people were asked to complete the intelligence test and the happiness questionnaire for a second time. This time the correlation was 0.29. With reference to both correlation scores, outline what these findings seem to show about the link between intelligence and

happiness. (4 marks) 10 mark questions Female patients with an eating disorder will show greater improvement in their symptoms after treatment with the new therapy than male patients. She used a new set of participants and, this time, used self-report questionnaires instead of +interviews with a therapist. Imagine that you are the psychologist and are writing up the report of the study. Write an appropriate methods section which includes reasonable detail of design, participants, materials and procedure. Make sure that there is enough detail to allow another researcher to carry out

this study in the future. (I 0 marks) FEB 2010 Jan 2012 Research has shown that music can affect the ability to concentrate. Design an experiment that could be carried out in a classroom to test the effects of two different kinds of music on a task requiring concentration (eg word search). You must use a repeated measures design. In your answer you should: fully operationalise the independent and dependent variables

provide details of how you would control extraneous variables describe the procedure that you would use. You should provide sufficient detail for the study to be carried out. (10 marks) June 2012 Design a study to test whether there is a difference in the musical ability of lefthanded students and right-handed students. You have access to a sixth form of 200 students. You should: identify the design that you would use explain an appropriate sampling method and justify your choice

describe the procedure that you would use, including details of how you would assess musical ability write a suitable debrief for these participants. (10 marks) In your answer book, draw a table to show how you would record your results. Identify an appropriate statistical test to analyse the data that you would collect. Justify your choice. (3 marks) Jan 2013 A psychology student was asked to design an investigation to see whether taking exercise could increase feelings of happiness. She proposed to do an experiment. She decided to recruit a sample of volunteers who had just joined a gym,

by putting up a poster in the gym. She planned to carry out a short interview with each volunteer and to give each one a happiness score. She intended to interview the volunteers again after they had attended the gym for six weeks and to reassess their happiness score to see if it had changed. The psychology students teacher identified a number of limitations of the proposed experiment. Explain one or more limitations of the students proposal and suggest how the investigation could be improved. (10 marks)

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