There are four separate presentations in this series on research methodology within the field of psychology.
A general introduction is provided to lay the groundwork of what is involved in a psychological experiment. This includes links to some of the classic experiments of the past – some of which may not have been quite ethical. But, by way of a practical demonstration, students have the opportunity to construct a quick experiment to address the Fechner Color Effect. It’s an immediate way of illustrating what an experiment is.
The second component of the series of four is an overview of the experiment from laying the groundwork, establishing a hypothesis, selecting participants and determining the variables and the controls. The preparation before one conducts an experiment is essential to ensure the validity of the outcomes.
The unit on statistics may help alleviate some of the intimidation of the topic. We have to be able to represent the data and read the outcomes looking at the correlation between variables. Some students will find this more challenging than others but patience and perseverance will ensure that the data is readable and the conclusions drawn are valid.
Lastly, there is a unit on ethics. In many ways, this should be one of the prime considerations as the welfare of participants is of paramount importance. Researchers have a responsibility to ensure that those involved, be they human or animal, are not injured either physically of emotionally. It is a profound responsibility. All these elements should be weighed up before commencing an experiment.