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Posts Tagged ‘validity’

8 | The Research Process: Part 1

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

While Research Methods at a-level aren’t everyone’s cup of tea they can be interesting if students are given the time and space to bring together the theory with the practice. Unfortunately I can’t help you here with the practice (although I can give you a few pointers about how to carry-out a range of cheap ’n’ cheerful activities), but I can help with the theory.

This chapter kicks things off by looking at the idea of research design – from choosing a problem to research, through developing a testable hypothesis or research question, to data collection and analysis. Along the way the chapter takes in a range of research-centred ideas students will have to understand if they are to make the most of methods:

• Research respondents
• Types of representative sampling
• Types of non-representative sampling
• Pilot studies
• Concept operationalisation
• Reliability and validity
• Primary and secondary data
• Quantitative and qualitative data and methods
• Ethics

Psych’d Magazine Issue 2

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

Psych’d is a twice-yearly (October and July) Psychology Magazine, published by WJEC (formerly the Welsh Joint Examining Committee) designed to support teachers and students studying for the WJEC and Eduqas A-level Psychology qualifications.

While, as you might expect, the magazine contains material (CPD events, important dates and recommended textbooks) specific to these particular exam boards, it also features a range of short, concise, articles teachers and students following other psychology a-level qualifications will find useful.

In this respect Issue 2 has the following articles focused on research methods:

• An active way to teach ways of assessing validity
• Personal Investigations: A Guide for the Terrified
• How we conducted our experiment on bilingualism
• Questionable Research Practices
• An observation of gender differences in food choices
• Skewed Distributions
• An Insight into the Potential Issues of a Personal Investigation

Sociology ShortCuts F’sheet

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

I’ve posted a couple of times about the Sociology Factsheets produced by Curriculum Press –  particularly about how it might be an idea for teachers to get their students to make their own versions as both a revision aid and teaching resource for future sociology students – and I thought it might be interesting to have a go at something along these lines myself: particularly because having written a number of books for different exam boards over the past 10 or so years I’ve accumulated a large stock of words that could possibly be put to some more – and probably better – use as a revision-type resource.

The upshot of playing-around with various words and pictures is my first ShortCuts Sheet on “Approaches to Research: Positivism” (for no better reason than the fact I had some underutilised text lying around that I thought might be easy to adapt to this format).

If you’ve got any comments, suggestions etc. about why it’s brilliant / shite / could be improved please don’t hesitate to let me know…

A-Level Psychology Revision Films

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

With the exam season nearly upon us, the thoughts of students and teachers inexorably turn once more to the annual ritual known as revision.

And if you want to try something a bit different – whether you’re a teacher looking to introduce a range of revision topics or a student looking for something visual to break-up the textbook slog – we have a range of on-demand revision films at a very reasonable price to help.

Our On-demand service gives you access to our short, sharp and tightly-focused films specifically designed for A-level Psychology – each with the emphasis on key exam knowledge, interpretation and evaluation.

Our rental service gives you the opportunity to watch:

  • When you want – any number of times over a 48-hour period for a single payment.
  • Where you want – on your mobile, tablet or desktop.

 

To get you started, here’s 4 films you can watch for free:

 

If you want to see more, free previews are available for each of the following: 

 

Crime, Deviance and Methods: Self-report Questionnaire

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

Opportunities for students to link crime, deviance and research methods in a practical way are often limited by the constraints of time and space – but one simple approach that can be used effectively in the classroom is a self-report crime questionnaire. Although there are a few of these kicking around (from Ann Campbell’s onward…) this is a relatively recent one I’ve put together based on questions contained in the UK Crime and Justice Survey.

It can be downloaded as a Word document so that you can amend it easily (you may not want to include all the 40+ questions and you may want to substitute some of your own…). 

The document suggests some possible classroom uses for the questionnaire – from data and methodological analysis if you’re leaning toward research methods to using the data to think critically about official crime statistics based on categories like age and gender.

A2 Psychology: Research Methods Free Chapter

Friday, November 4th, 2016

holt-and-lewisOne of the simple pleasures of Wandering the Web™ for a living, made all the more enjoyable by that intangible sense of the unexpected (I know, I live my life through contradictions), is coming across Stuff That Is Free.

My not-so-little face lights up at the mere thought of finding Something For Nothing, even though that “Something” invariably ends up stored somewhere on a half-forgotten hard drive, waiting for that magic moment when “it might be useful to someone, sometime”.

This behaviour, which I’m calling “Simple Squirrelling Syndrome” – because I can – has a yet deeper dimension (I’m toying with the idea of “Simple Squirrelling Syndrome Squared”, but it may need some work). Some years after the initial find-and-save I get to spend further pleasurable hours sifting through multiple hard drives “looking for that study I know I saved somewhere, under a name that made perfect sense at the time but which is now largely meaningless”, during which I rediscover all kinds of things I’d forgotten I had. My pleasure is quite obviously redoubled. Probably. I’m not altogether certain I’ve quite mastered mathematical analogies.

Anyway, be that as it may, the actual point of this rambling preambling is that I came across this sample chapter on Research Methods from Holt and Lewis’ “A2 Psychology: The Student’s Textbook” and thought of you.

On the downside it looks like a chapter from the 2009 edition, but on the upside you have to ask yourself when was the last time a textbook said anything startlingly-new about the Hypothetico-Deductive Model? Or “the Research Process”? Sampling? Probability and significance? My case rests.

The chapter also has a very pretty, colourful, layout, which in my book counts for quite a lot.

Teaching A-level Research Methods: Part 3

Monday, April 25th, 2016
  1. Talk the Walk

At this point students need to get to grips with learning the basics of research methods. How you organise this is up to you, but one way is to get students to take ownership of their learning:

If there are sufficient students, split the class into groups and give each group responsibility for one research method. Give the group a broad outline of how they should proceed in terms of:walk_template

• Brief overview of the method

• Primary / secondary data

• Quantitative / qualitative source / data

• Strengths

• Limitations

One way to do this is to use an evaluation template (this is for Focused (Semi-structured) Interviews – if you want a blank template download it here).

(more…)

Methods in Context: Crime in England and Wales

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

Keeping abreast of the various statistical sources and data on crime can be both time-consuming and somewhat confusing for teachers and students – both in terms of the volume of data and the reliability and validity of different data sources.

For these reasons the Office for National Statistics statistical bulletin is a brilliant resource for a-level sociologists in terms of both crime statistics and the research methodologies underpinning their production (so it’s good for information covering both Crime and Deviance and Crime and Methods in Context).

(more…)

Psychology: Reliability and Validity

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Reliability and validity are two important methodological concepts in both Psychology and Sociology because they address the problems involved in “doing research” – and while this film is aimed at A-level and AP psychology students (who are required to cover the issues in much greater depth), it should also be useful for sociology teachers who want to firm-up their students’ understanding of these concepts.

This short film looks at the key aspects of these important methodological concepts – from simple definitions, through an understanding of different types to examples of how they can be applied to different types of exam question – in terms of key:

  • definitions: reliability (internal and external),validity (internal and external)
  • examples: different types of validity, Bandura, Rosenhan
  • applications: where and how to apply these concepts in exam answers.

Crime Statistics: The Dark Figure video

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

A request from an American University to use this video in an online course prompted me to remember its existence on my YouTube Channel.

It’s a short video that looks at the “dark figure” of crime – crimes that are committed in our society but which never appear in the official recorded crime statistics. As such the video looks at methodological questions (reliability and validity, for example) surrounding our use of official crime statistics.

This is a low-res version of the film that’s just one of the many (around 2 hours worth – plus extensive audio, text and powerpoint resources) that can be accessed when you subscribe to the Crime and Deviance Channel.

The Bailey Report

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

The Bailey Report (Letting Children Be Children, 2014) highlights a range of issues (and moral concerns bordering on panics) around families, children, childhood and the media that form the basis for interesting discussions around both contemporary family life and wider social developments.

The research methodology – particularly the use of online parental surveys – is also a fruitful area for more general discussions about the reliability and validity of particular research methods.

The Independent has a short report that raises some broad questions about family, children and media (including the perennial “influence of sex and violence” on child development).

Alternatively, you can download the full report (that includes a handy summary).

And if you want to add a visual dimension to the subject Bailey’s report features in our short film “The End of Childhood?” available on DVD and On-Demand.