Research methods in A level Psychology and GCSE psychology

Understanding Psychology at A level and GCSE: 1

Here is the first in our new series of blogs on aspects of studying Psychology GCSE and Psychology A level.

Research Methods

Many new students of psychology are surprised that they have to study research methods. Many also find research methods difficult to understand at first because often they need to learn new research skills and apply them to new subject topics at the same time. So what do we mean by ‘research methods’ when we are studying psychology?

Psychology is a science. It is not the same as physics or chemistry, but we use the same scientific principles to conduct experiments and research in psychology. Research methods include terms, concepts and procedures we use in psychology to carry out experiments.  These include –

  • types of experiments
  • how research is carried out
  • how we evaluate psychological research
  • what variables we have to take into account that may affect our research
  • statistical tests of our results
  • how we analyse our results
  • our conclusions
  • how participants are chosen
  • how this choice can affect results
  • what we decide to test … and so on.

This might sound very complicated. But really it isn’t.  This series of blogs aims to explain in more detail the different areas of research methods. We will also consider exam questions you may come up against and ways of answering them.

Don’t think you can’t understand research methods because you don’t feel confident in maths. Research methods are much more than just statistics. They also include the way that experiments are performed and evaluated.

I hope this series of blogs will help you understand more about the methods that underpin research in psychology: we will be taking things step-by-step!

Tracey Jones

Tutor – GCSE and A level Psychology

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