Methodology Analysis

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1) Which of the following is a correlational hypothesis and why?

  1. a) Reviewing materials before an exam is related to higher test scores.

Because the research determines whether reviewing materials before an exam and higher test scores are linked. The hypothesis is a prediction of a relationship and not a study of difference or cause and effect.

  1. b) Reviewing materials before an exam causes higher test scores.

2) What would the null hypothesis be for each of the alternative hypotheses stated in question #1?

  1. a) Reviewing materials before an exam, there will be no difference in the test scores.
  2. b) Reviewing materials before an exam causes no significant difference in the test scores.

3)  In the following hypothesis, what are the IV and the DV?Is this an experimental hypothesis or a correlational hypothesis?  What do “IV” and “DV” stand for?

“Level of interest in a topic affects memory for relevant material.”

The hypothesis is experimental since it is a prediction of what the researcher thinks will occur to the dependent variable in a study when the independent variable changes. IV stands for Independent variable and DV stands for Dependent Variable. The level of interest in a topic is the independent variable whereas the memory for the relevant material is the dependent variable.

4)  What is the difference between a lab experiment and a field experiment?  What are the pros and cons of each?

A field experiment refers to a research/experiment that gets conducted in the participant’s natural everyday environment whereas a laboratory experiment gets conducted in a location where the environment and variables are controllable (Myers, 2004). There are no confounding variables introduced in a field experiment, unlike a laboratory experiment where the independent variable get manipulated hence indicating a cause and effect relationship.

Advantages of Laboratory experiments

  • It creates a cause and effect relationships
  • It allows for replication
  • There is good control of confounding variables

Disadvantages of laboratory experiments

  • It is artificial
  • The subjectsknow they are getting observed therefore react to the laboratory settings (demand characteristics and assessment apprehension)
  • It is low in external validity
  • There are ethical concerns that include the right to withdraw

Advantages of field experiments

  • Field experiments establish cause and effect relationships
  • The behavior of participants is more typical as compared to a laboratory experiment due to high external validity.
  • It allows for replication

Disadvantages of field experiments

  • There are ethical issues that include the lack of voluntary informed consent
  • Problems arise that relate to reactivity and participants desire due to lack of awareness of subjects
  • It has low in internal validity due to poor control.

5)  What do we mean by a double blind study?  What is the purpose of having such a design?

A double-blind study refers to an experimental process in which neither the participants of the test nor the experimenters know the crucial aspects of the investigation. The procedure is vital since it protects the experiment against experimenter bias and placebo impacts.

6)  What does it mean to “operationalize” terms?

To operationalize is the procedure that defines a fuzzy concept for the purpose of making the term clearly distinguishable or measurable and to understand about empirical observations.

7)  What are demand characteristics?  Why are they bad in an experiment?

  1. Demand characteristics refer to a subtle cue that makes subjects aware of the experimenter’s expectation or the expected behavior of the subjects.
  2. Demand characteristic produces biased findings because the participant knows what is getting measured hence may influence or change the levels and also it makes it easy for them to give a response.

8)  What do we mean by debriefing?  Informed consent?  When do you need each?

Debriefing refers to the procedure that gets carried out in the psychological study with human participants after the experiment has taken place. Debriefing is significance in any experiment that entails of human participants.

Informed consent refers to the legal regulations that ensure that patients, physicians, and research subjects are aware of their involvement and potential risks and costs of the study and also provide for penalties under given conditions. It is critical in research psychology to ensure no wrongdoing or violation of an individual’s right or acting against a person’s will.

9)  What is a control group?  Why do you need one?  Do you have control groups in experiments?Correlational studies, or both?

Control group refers to participants who do not receive the experimental treatment and gets used as a benchmark to measure the outcomes of the other group. They are significant in psychology because it is impossible to avoid completely bias and outside influence that might affect the findings of the experiment, but control groups get used to focusing the variable in the study.

Correlational studies refer to an experiment in which the relationship between two variables.

Correlational studies refer to an experiment in which the relationship between two variables.

10)  What is meant by a confound in an experiment?  Are they good or bad to have?

A confounding variable refers to an extra variable that the researcher did not account. A confound in an experiment is bad since an experimenter cannot determine whether a change is as a result of a confound or an independent variable and also can even introduce bias.

Give an example of a confound.

In an experiment to determine the lack of regular exercise results to weight gain. An example of a confounding variable is the amount of food taken by an individual since it can be the cause of weight gain.

11) Did the following data set come from an experiment or a correlational study (most likely)?How would you analyze these data?  What conclusion would you come to after your analysis?Some children were given special reading instruction, while others were given the usual type of reading instruction.

The experiment is correlational study and gets analyzed using descriptive statistics particularly mean of the data. The average mean reading instruction of the special group is higher than the average mean of the reading of the normal group. It is because that the average of the special group is 81.2 percent whereas of the normal group is 73.7 percent.

12)  What are the problems that psychologists face when using surveys or questionnaires?

  1. Different respondents interpret questionnaire questions differently, and it is also difficult to interpret in some instances.
  2. Researcher uses one method of data collection since the design method is inflexible in the entire data gathering process.
  3. Sometimes it is tedious and takes a long period to conduct a study and analyze, particularly when involving a large portion of a group.
  4. There is a particular level of researcher imposition. It implies that the researcher is making decisions and assumptions as to the important and not important things when developing the questionnaire.
  5. Questionnaires generate canned outcomes and consultants often use them when direct human communication that includes interviews is most suitable.

13)  What is the normal return rate for a psychology questionnaire, from a mass mailing?

50 percent for mass mailing

14)  What is meant by using “archives” to get data?

Using archives refers to the research of existing data previously collected to answer research questions and include survey archives, written records, and statistical records.

15)  What are the possible values of r (a Pearson correlation coefficient)?

A value of Pearson’s r is between +1 and −1 inclusive, where the value of 1 is total positive correlation, the value of 0 is no correlation, and −1 value is total negative correlation

16)  For each of the following graphs, indicate whether there is a positive correlation between the variables, a negative correlation or a zero correlation.

17)  For the following description, pick out the design flaws and/or the flaws in logic.Dr. Wilson hypothesized that the pressure to get good grades inhibited his students from learning accordingto their true potential.  To test this hypothesis, he performed the following experiment. Dr.Wilson teachestwo Introduction to Psychology courses at State University. He flipped a coin and assigned one class to theexperimental condition and the other class to the control condition.  The control class went through the semester, as usual, taking three exams to determine their final course grades. The experimental class, however, were told by Dr. Wilson that they were to take part in an experiment and that they would all receive A’s for the semester, regardless of their exam scores.  Dr. Wilson explained his hypothesis to the class – that he expected that the lack of grade pressure would allow them to learn more and that he expected them to dobetter on the exams. Dr. Wilson then taught the two classes, giving each class different sets of exams and scoring them himself. At the end of the semester, the resulting average grades were as follows:

Experimental class:  80,96,85,92,98,82,99,88,97,96

Control class:  75,70,78,80,72,65,68,73,55,60

He concluded that the lack of grade pressure did increase exam scores significantly and that the results of his study suggest that there should be massive reform in education to eliminate grades.

  • One design flaw is using different classes that are introduction and psychology to measure the relationship between independent variable (extent of pressure) and dependent variable (final course grades). The exams were also different.
  • The findings got biased as the researcher the experimental results are not the actual reflection of the participants’ final grade scores. Therefore, the conclusion is not valid.


Myers, D. G. (2004):Exploring psychology. Macmillan.

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