RESEARCH METHODS PRACTICE EXAM QUESTIONS February 2012 Question 1 A researcher wants to sample from the population such that gender and age groups are represented in proportion to their numbers within the population. His study would use: A. Matched-subjects design B. Random sample C. Repeated measures design D. Stratified sample Question 1 Answer D A stratified sample ensures that the subset derived from the population represents relevant groups and/or subject characteristics in proportion to their numbers within the population. Question 2 The main purpose for using random sampling in an experiment is to ensure that: A. The participants chosen form a representative subset of the population B. All extraneous variables are removed from the experimental design C. The volunteers form a sample that is equal in all relevant demographic characteristics D. The participants are less likely to behave according to the experimenter’s expectations Question 2 Answer A The main purpose for using random sampling in an experiment is to ensure that the participants chosen form a representative subset of the population. Question 3 The main role of the control group in an experiment is that it A. Is exposed to the IV such that there is no chance of any interference from the experimenter. B. Provides a basis for comparison against which the behaviour of the experimental group can be assessed. C. Balances the overall sample to eliminate all confounding variables. D. Ensures that statistical analysis can confirm the hypothesis Question 3 Answer B The main role of the control group in an experiment is to provide a basis for comparison against which the behaviour of the experimental group can be assessed. Question 4 In order to explore the effect of alcohol on visual perception, an experiment was devised using two groups. The first group performed a series of tasks when completely sober, while the second group performed the tasks after consuming alcohol to bring their BAC level up to at least 0.05%. The latter group in this case was the: A. Control group B. Dependent group C. Experimental group D. Independent group Question 4 Answer C The group exposed to the independent variable, in this case the alcohol condition, is the experimental group. Question 5 In order to perform an ERA to see if expectancy would alter perception, a psychology class asked students at random within the canteen queue whether they would consent to being part of the experiment. Half of the students were shown an ambiguous sketch (Bugelski and Alampay’s Rat/Man) and asked to say what they saw whereas the other half were shown the same picture but asked to say what animal they perceived. (i) Why did the experimenters choose to select the participants at random? (ii) What is the term that describes the first group (that were given no instructions)? Briefly explain its purpose within the experimental design. 2 marks Question 5 Answer (i) Random selection of participants is used to try to control for subject variables in order to make the sample representative of the population under study. (ii) The control group …acts as a basis for comparison against the experimental group (or to compare the effect of the IV with the experimental group) Question 6 A psychology teacher wants to perform an ERA within her school based on Loftus’ eyewitness studies to see if perceptual set was a factor affecting the interpretation of a “Crime Scene”picture. As her school had a broad multicultural population, with different numbers of students within each ethnic group, what method would she have to apply in order to control for the subject variable of cultural background and ethnicity? Briefly explain what she would need to do. 2 marks Question 6 Answer The method required to control for the subject variable of cultural background and ethnicity would be stratified sampling. While still employing random sampling, the teacher would need to ensure that each culture/ethnic group was represented within the sample in the same proportions as they occur within the school population. Question 7 Researchers wish to investigate the effect of caffeine levels on sleep patterns. In order to do so, they obtain a random sample of adults, controlling for age and gender proportions within the general population. These participants were then split into three groups keeping these same proportions, and made to undergo each of the three experimental conditions. In random order, these groups were: (i) Deprived of all caffeine for one week (ii) Allowed to have what is considered a “normal” amount of caffeine in their diet for one week (iii) Given higher levels of caffeine than “normal” for one week The researchers in this case have employed: A. An independent-groups design B. A matched-participants design C. A placebo group D. A repeated measures design Question 7 Answer D The researchers in this case have employed a repeated measures design as each group of participants was exposed to all three experimental conditions. Question 8 The researchers above decide to subject the participants to another experimental condition whereby they only consume de-caffeinated beverages, but are under the impression that they are having a “normal” amount of caffeine. By including this condition, the researchers are: A. Attempting to eliminate experimenter bias B. Employing a double blind procedure C. Trying to control for the placebo effect D. Introducing too many variables for analysis Question 8 Answer C The participants’ believe that they are experiencing an experimental condition, whereas in fact this condition has a null effect in terms of the IV (caffeine level). This condition has been introduced to counter any effect that the participants’ expectations may have on their sleep patterns. As it is only the participants who are unaware that this is a fake condition, it is a single blind, not a double blind procedure. Question 9 Psychologists must inform participants of the nature of the research and that participants are free to participate n or to decline to participate or to withdraw from the research. These requirements are necessary to ensure: A. Confidentiality B. Debriefing C. Informed consent D. Research participation Question 9 Answer C Informing participants of the nature of the research and that they are free to participate or to decline to participa Question 10 Which of the following is not one of the primary ethical considerations in research with humans? A. The participants’ rights to privacy. B. The use of deception within the research design C. The provision of details regarding the experiment to the research participants D. The participants’ right to continue even if they are exhibiting signs of discomfort or distress.