Navigate to resources by choosing units within one of the unit groups shown below.
Delivery guides are designed to represent a body of knowledge about teaching a particular topic and contain:
- Content: A clear outline of the content covered by the delivery guide;
- Thinking Conceptually: Expert guidance on the key concepts involved, common difficulties students may have, approaches to teaching that can help students understand these concepts and how this topic links conceptually to other areas of the subject;
- Thinking Contextually: A range of suggested teaching activities using a variety of themes so that different activities can be selected which best suit particular classes, learning styles or teaching approaches.
1.1. Planning Research:
Learners should have knowledge and understanding of the following features of planning research and the associated strengths and weaknesses where appropriate:
- Hypotheses: How to formulate null and alternate hypotheses. Hypothesis to predict differences, correlations, and no patterns.
- Variables: Independent variables and how they can be manipulated, dependent variables and how they can be measured, co-variables and how they can be measured, extraneous variables and how they can be controlled, including the use of standardisation.
- Experimental designs: Repeated measures, independent measures, and the strengths and weaknesses of both.
- Populations and samples: Target populations, samples, and sample size with reference to representativeness and generalisability. Sampling methods (random, opportunity and self-selected) and the strengths and weaknesses associated with each method. Principles of sampling as applied to scientific data.
- Ethical Guidelines: Ethical issues (lack of informed consent, protection of participants/psychological harm and deception). Ways of dealing with ethical issues (use of debriefing, right to withdraw, confidentiality). The British psychological societies code of ethical and conduct.
1.2 Doing Research:
Learners should have knowledge and understanding of the following features of doing research and the associated strengths and weaknesses including reliability and validity and the type of research objectives for which they are most suitable.
- Experiments: Laboratory, field and natural experiments.
- Interviews: Structured and unstructured.
- Questionnaires: Open questions, closed questions, rating scales.
- Observations: Naturalistic, controlled, overt, covert, participant, non-participant.
- Case studies: Use of qualitative data, use of small samples.
- Correlations: Use of quantitative data, positive, negative, zero correlations.
1.3 Analysing Research:
Learners should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the process and procedures involved in the collection, construction, interpretation, analysis and representation of data. This will necessitate the ability to perform some calculations.
- Types of data: Quantitative, qualitative, primary, secondary, and the strengths of each type of data.
- Descriptive statistics: Measures of central tendency (mode, median, mean), range, ratios, percentages, fractions, expressions in decimal and standard form, decimal places and significant figures, normal distributions, estimations from data collected.
- Tables, charts, and graphs: Frequency tables (tally chart), bar charts, pie charts, histograms, line graphs, scatter diagram.
- Reliability and validity: Reliability: (Internal, external, inter-rater). Validity: (ecological, population, construct), demand characteristics, observer effect, social desirability.
- Sources of bias: Gender bias, cultural bias, age bias, experimenter bias, observer bias, bias in questioning.
This part of the specification requires learners to understand how psychological research is conducted to investigate human behaviour. They need to be able to identify, describe, plan and evaluate psychological research methodology. Learners will also be expected to apply their knowledge of psychological research to a novel source in component 2. Throughout the course, learners will be required to understand and apply some sophisticated psychological terminology, therefore, a glossary of key terms would be a good task to give learners as on ongoing course requirement to develop and strengthen their understanding of such terms.
Due to the applied nature of some of the course learners should not be encouraged to simply memorise material. Active participation in planning and conducting their own research along with engaging in evaluation and analysis of their own research should be encouraged to practice the skills required for the examinations. This will provide learners with an opportunity to demonstrate their understanding and appreciation of psychological research as well as bringing the subject to life.
As research methods is assessed on both examinations, rather than as a standalone examination, it would make sense to teach some aspects of the research methods content alongside some of the core studies required for Component 1 and 2. This enables learners to effectively apply what they have learnt about research methods to a specific piece of research, which puts the content in better context and allows for further skill development. For example, when teaching about the different types of experiments, the core study from the Criminal Psychology section by Cooper and Mackie (1986) Video Games and Aggression in Children could be taught along with experiments to demonstrate a clear example of a lab experiment. Equally, the core study by Piaget could be used to demonstrate a natural experiment. Learners can then go on to apply their knowledge of evaluation issues surrounding psychological research such as validity, reliability, generalisability etc. to the core studies to further strengthen their knowledge and application skills which provides further conceptual links.
Teaching in the order of the research methods specification is also not a requirement. Within the research methods content, different topical areas are better understood by being taught together. For example, when learning about the different types of experiments it would be better to teach them along with other concepts such as independent, dependent, and extraneous variables, hypothesis, standardisation and experimental designs. Types of data would also work well being taught along with interviews and questionnaires.
Common misconceptions or difficulties learners may have:
Learners often struggle to understand and distinguish between the following content areas and may subsequently struggle to apply their knowledge to examination questions.
- The difference between and how to write alternate and null hypotheses. (learners often write in the past tense as in what the researcher has found, as opposed to what he predicts to find).
- The different types of experimental designs.
- The difference between types of sampling methods and when most appropriate to use them.
- The difference between reliability and validity and how it may be increased or decreased.
- The mathematical elements to the course (if not a strong candidate in mathematics), which equates to 10% of the total assessment.
Using engaging teaching methods which presents learners with tasks and situations in which they can actively take part in and apply their knowledge of these concepts would be a good way to enable better understanding of these areas of the specification. Learners could also be directed to external websites such as BBC bitesize and maths worksheets4kids to practice the required mathematics skills needed.
Conceptual links to other areas of the specification – useful ways to approach this topic to set learners up for topics later in the course:
Most of the research methods content has a conceptual link with the 12 core studies learners need to learn for component 1 and 2. Below is a summary of how the core studies from component 1 link to the main research methods covered in the specification.
Criminal psychology: Cooper and Mackie (1986) (laboratory experiment), Heaven (1996) (self report).
Psychological problems: Daniel, Weinberger and Jones et al (1991) (laboratory experiment), Tandoc, Ferrucci and Duffy (2015) (self-report)
Developmental psychology: Piaget (1952) (natural experiment), Blackwell, Trzesniewski and Dweck (2007) (correlations)
As well as the conceptual links to the main research methods there are many other links with features of research methods throughout the core studies such as experimental designs, sampling methods, ethical guidelines, and the features of research analysis. The data collected by the core studies could be presented and discussed in relation to measures of central tendency, and graphs could also be drawn by learners to represent the data and to develop a deeper understanding of the mathematical requirements of the course.
Additionally, the methodological implications of research can be discussed further when learning about the core studies such as the strengths and weaknesses of different research methods and designs and issues such as generalisability, sources of bias, ecological validity, validity, reliability, ethics, demand characteristics and social desirability bias among many others.
An introduction to hypothesis and the development of hypothesis writing guide.
This resource introduces the different types of hypothesis and provides learners with a writing frame to follow and the opportunity to practice writing hypothesis.
Hypothesis knowledge activity.
A short knowledge activity that could be used as a starter or plenary to recap or consolidate the understanding of hypothesis. This could be peer assessed once completed.
Identification of IVs, DVs and hypothesis and hypothesis writing practice.
This activity will enable learners to practice identifying IVs and DVs and aid with further practice of identifying and writing different hypothesis. It could be used as a homework activity after learning the content.
Operationalising IVs and DVs and identifying extraneous variables.
A worksheet defining IVs, DVs and extraneous variables, and which provides learners with the opportunity to operationalise variables and identify extraneous variables in experiments.
Experimental design worksheet.
An activity providing details on the different experimental designs and activities to test learners’ knowledge.
Sampling knowledge check.
Two resources that can be used as starters, plenaries, or short assessments to check learners’ knowledge on sampling methods and samples.
Mix and match activity.
In this activity learners need to match with colour the correct descriptions of strengths and weaknesses for scenarios to produce P.E.C statements.
Link to the British psychological association (BPS) website.
Learners could access the website to complete further reading around ethical implications under the tab “BPS code of ethics and conduct (2009).”
Ethical guidelines activity.
An information sheet with the ethical guidelines learners need to know and scenarios to test their knowledge and understanding.
Small group work, learners could design the most unethical piece of fictional research to illustrate their understanding of ethical issues.
Learners could then swop their research with another group who could then identify the issues broken and write an explanation of ways of dealing with the ethical issues presented to them.
Derren Brown and Asch you tube clips. Learners to watch the clips after learning about the different ethical issues and explain which ethics were broken and how.
There are a multitude of other programmes like this that learners could also watch and apply to ethical issues. Google unethical experiments. This could be an activity completed in class if time or set as a fun homework task.
Ethics debate – learners to be presented with some of the most unethical experiments in psychology.
Class can be divided in to for and against and each side has to justify why the ethical issues should or should not have been broken.
The Stroop effect introductory experiment – Use the website to get learners to participate in a real experiment in class to lead on to discussion of the content of experiments. Learners then do a small write up on the worksheet provided.
Teacher stages experiment to demonstrate the problems of different experimental designs, and problems associated with experiments. Learners have a write up sheet to record results and answer questions in the context of the experiment they took part in.
Experiments quiz trade whole class or group work activity starter or plenary.
Learners should be given one card each and must circulate the room answering each other’s questions and if they get the questions correct swop their card with another learner and repeat the process until they have answered as many questions as possible.
Entrance or exit questions (starter or plenary)
Learners have one card each on entrance or leaving the classroom and should write their answer on their allocated card so the teacher can check knowledge and understanding. Learners can then also test each other once their answers have been checked to further develop the activity.
Experimental methods worksheet with mix and match activity.
A worksheet to test learners’ knowledge of the different types and experiments and experimental designs and strengths and weaknesses of experiments. Can be set as a homework activity or starter or plenary.
Experiments practical - learners to plan, carry out, analyse and evaluate their own experiment.
Teacher to decide on a selection of appropriate experimental scenarios for learners to choose from e.g. (to investigate if temperature affects concentration, to investigate if music affects memory).Teacher to then facilitate learners to plan and conduct their own small scale research and to produce a write up afterwards using the guided study sheet.
Experiments revision summary sheet.
A useful tool for learners to consolidate their knowledge of experiments.
Board storm – Learners to board storm what they think are good features of a questionnaire/survey and interview. Learners could write their answers on a-post it notes and stick on the white board to make this a kinaesthetic activity.
Learners could also try and think of real life examples of where people may need to take part in an interview or questionnaire.
A link to examples of different types of psychological questionnaires.
Learners could complete some of the questionnaires and then consider how reliable and valid they are, what type of questions have been used and what could be done to improve the reliability or validity.
Learners draw a table with 9 squares and select 9 key terms written on the board by the teacher. Teacher reads aloud definitions of key terms and learners to cross each key term if they believe they have it on their grid. Learners must explain key terms back to teacher once grid complete.
Self-report practical - learners to plan, carry out, analyse and evaluate their own practical.
Teacher to decide on a selection of appropriate self-report scenarios for learners to choose from e.g. a questionnaire about healthy eating or paranormal beliefs. Teacher to then facilitate learners to plan and conduct their own small scale research and to produce a write up afterwards using the guided study sheet.
Self-reports revision summary sheet.
A useful tool for learners to consolidate their knowledge of self-reports.
Ainsworth strange situations – example of a controlled non-participant observation – show learners the clip and get them to identify the features of the observation.
Learners could write down some of the behavioural categories Ainsworth thought represented secure attachment such as (separation anxiety, proximity seeking and happiness at reunion) and learners could mark them off on a tally chart when they see the behaviours in the children. This can start a discussion on the difficulty of observational research surrounding the collection of data and inter-rater reliability.
Observations knowledge check worksheet.
Learners have to decide whether each scenario is naturalistic/controlled, covert/overt, participant or non-participant observation.
Observations evaluation card sort Type up the strengths and weaknesses of different observations, cut up and place in envelopes and give them to learners to organise in to piles for the different types of observations. Learners could then be given a completed evaluation sheet.
To make learning the strengths and weakness of different observations more fun and engaging this could be learnt via a treasure hunt activity. Strengths and weaknesses could be stuck around the room and one runner has to memorise the material and say which type of observation the evaluation point belongs to.
Observations practical - learners to plan, carry out, analyse and evaluate their own practical.
Teacher to decide on a selection of appropriate observational scenarios for learners to choose from e.g. use of learner’s free time in school. Teacher to then facilitate learners to plan and conduct their own small scale research and to produce a write up afterwards using the guided study sheet.
Observations revision summary sheet.
A useful tool for learners to consolidate their knowledge of observations.
Case study analysis.
Learners could be presented with envelopes containing details of case studies e.g. Freud. Learners to analyse the research and explain how the qualitative data was gathered and evaluate the use of the sample.
Introduction to correlations chocolate practical activity.
Learners should be put in to small groups and collect data on the details outlined in the introduction correlations activity, draw a graph to represent their data and answer the subsequent questions.
Correlation hypothesis worksheet.
A worksheet to help learners understand hypothesis writing for correlations.
Most 10 bizarre correlations.
A fun link to bizarre correlations, learners could identify some possible explanations of the results and any problems with the research.
Could be used as a class assessment, homework task or peer assessed.
Correlations practical - learners to plan, carry out, analyse and evaluate their own practical.
Teacher to decide on a selection of appropriate correlational scenarios for learners to choose from. Teacher to then facilitate learners to plan and conduct their own small scale research and to produce a write up afterwards using the guided study sheet.
Correlations revision summary sheet.
A useful tool for learners to consolidate their knowledge of correlations.
Types of data worksheet.
A worksheet to test or consolidate learners’ knowledge on the different types of data and the strengths and weaknesses.
Identify qualitative and quantitative data from the core studies.
Learners could draw a table of the core studies they have covered so far and identify which type of data each core study collects and how. They could then evaluate the data gathered.
An excellent website for learners to practice and develop their maths skills, this can also be used for tables, charts, and graphs practice.
Use the drop-down box on the left-hand side of the website “statistics and data analysis” to select the appropriate math skills to be practiced.
Summary table for descriptive statistics. Learners could complete as an independent research activity using text books and the internet or as part of revision tasks independently or as a group.
This can be a difficult and dry topic to teach, engaging learners in analysis of data sets and mind mapping/summary tables would be one useful method to teach this topic.
Descriptive statistics A level teacher guide and learner workbook.
These are aimed at A level learners but there are some great resources which could be utilised for GSCE level.
Play 20 questions. Based on the classic 20 questions game, prepare a set of cards. Each card should have a key word/term/description or evaluation point to test learners’ knowledge of descriptive statistics.
A competitive element could be introduced with learners placed in small teams or this could be done as a relay game.
The BBC bitesize website has some fantastic resources to aid learners with further maths practice in decimals, fractions, standard form, ratios, percentages, and graphs etc.
Learners could be directed to the website as self-directed study or the teacher could select activities for them to complete and review in class.
Learners could be presented with envelopes containing pictures of different graphs and must identify which ones they are.
To stretch the more able, they could be presented with data sets and asked to draw graphs to display the data.
Reliability and validity worksheet.
A worksheet with details of the different types of reliability and validity learners need to know and some activities to test knowledge.
Reliability and validity mix and match.
Teacher could present learners with statements related to different types of reliability and validity and learners need to match them to the correct key term.
Assessing reliability and validity of core studies.
Depending on which order topics have been taught learners could be presented with summaries of the core studies and asked to assess them against the different types of reliability and validity.
Crossword starter or plenary’s.
A fun way to consolidate knowledge or recap would be to produce crosswords that cover a range of information related to reliability and validity. Software to make these can be accessed via the weblink provided.
Learners could design a laboratory experiment in which the possibility of demand characteristics are kept as close as possible to zero.
Learners could swop their designs with another group for critical analysis.
OCR’s resources are provided to support the teaching of OCR specifications, but in no way constitute an endorsed teaching method that is required by the Board and the decision to use them lies with the individual teacher. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the content, OCR cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions within these resources. We update our resources on a regular basis, so please check the OCR website to ensure you have the most up to date version.
© OCR 2017 - This resource may be freely copied and distributed, as long as the OCR logo and this message remain intact and OCR is acknowledged as the originator of this work.