Investigations in psychology

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					Introduction to Psychology 1
       SACE Stage 1

        Dr Julie Robinson
      School of Psychology
       Flinders University



          SASTA Psychology Workshop
              August 15th, 2003
     Psychology in the SACE
• A vehicle by which students can acquire
  scientific literacy
         Cartoon Copyright S. Harris, New Yorker has been removed




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• Focus on psychology as an empirical science
  – Posing questions about human behaviour and the
    processes that underlie it
  – Seeking evidence to answer those questions
     • Quantitative
     • Qualitative




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• Laboratory skills in psychology
  – Learning how to use research tools in
    psychology = parallel learning how
     • to use a Bunsen burner in chemistry
     • to use a microscope in biology




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• Being wise consumer of information
  about psychology




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Research methods in
    psychology
    An introduction




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All empirical research in psychology can
be described in terms of 2 dimensions:

  • Research designs

  • Assessment of the psychological response




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• Research designs
 Psychologists use “design” as a verb (e.g., “How well did she design the investigation?”
 and as a noun (e.g., “He chose an experimental design”). It is used here in the latter
 sense.
  – Degree to which “Independent variable” (= factor
    thought to influence behaviour) is manipulated


• Assessment of the psychological response
  – “Dependent variable” (= outcome)
  – Quantitative (--> numbers) and Qualitative (--> words)



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Dimension 1: Research designs

   What did researcher do to elicit a
      psychological response?



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3 broad categories of research
           designs
• Experimental
• Observational
• Qualitative




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    Experimental designs
– Essential feature = Researcher manipulates
  some factor thought to influence behaviour
  • “independent variable”

– Variety among experiments
  • Can investigate
     – Differences between groups
     – Associations between variables

  • May assess the resulting psychological
    responses by qualitative or quantitative means
– Allow conclusions about cause
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– Examples of investigations in which a
  researcher manipulates the independent
  variable

Manipulation of independent variable is marked in grey




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Quantitative assessment of psychological response
   • Asks participant to consume specific amount of caffeine-
     containing beverage before testing reaction time in
     driving simulation task.
   • Deprives trainee doctors of specified number of hours of
     sleep before assessing number of errors on diagnostic
     task.

Qualitative assessment of psychological response
   • Assigns process workers to different contexts (e.g.,
     competitive or co-operative work groups) before asking
     them to report their work satisfaction in their own words.
   • Assigns bank staff to conditions with different
     instructions about how to respond if confronted with an
     armed robber before staging a “mock” robbery, and
     asking staff to provide a description of the perpetrator.
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   Observational designs
– Essential feature = Researcher observes
  outcome of natural variation in factor
  thought to influence behaviour
  • “predictor” variable

– Variety among observational designs
  • Can investigate
     – Differences between groups
     – Associations between variables

  • May assess psychological responses by
    qualitative or quantitative means
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Why choose an observational
     research design?

Why not do an experiment-
only design that allows conclusions
      re cause to be drawn?



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It may be impossible for the
experimenter to manipulate
    the predictor variable
–   Age                                 – Medical diagnosis
–   Gender                              – Marital status
–   Ethnicity                           – Rural/urban
–   Intelligence                          residence
–   Personality                         – Socio-economic
–   Religious affiliation                 status
–   Family composition                  – Education level
                                        – Employment status
                                        – etc
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It may be unethical to manipulate
      the predictor variable
  Predictor variable is marked in grey
    Quantitative assessment of psychological response
      – Relationship between prenatal alcohol exposure and children‟s
        subsequent scores on an intelligence test
      – Differences ratings of in the importance of national identity between
        people who have and have not directly experienced a terrorist attack
      – Differences before and after withdrawal of a particular government
        service on rate of relapse among persons with a mental illness

    Qualitative assessment of psychological response
      – Differences between adolescents who have and have not experienced
        child abuse in descriptions of their own bodies
      – Relationship between the frequency of adolescents‟ suicide attempts and
        their accounts of why interventions were or were not useful.
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It may be too costly to manipulate
      the predictor variable
   Predictor variable is marked in grey

   Quantitative measure of psychological response
       – Do orthopaedic patients with hip fractures who receive treatment in
         public and private hospitals differ in their post-operative scores on the
         Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale?
       – What short- and long-term changes in ratings of happiness follow a
         financial windfall?

   Qualitative assessment of psychological response
       – Do the diary entries of international travellers flying Westward and
         Eastward differ with respect to reported quality of sleep after arrival?
       – Is there an association between “working” mothers‟ reports of the
         quality of their relationship with their infant and the reasons they
         provide for the type of day care services they use?
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          Qualitative designs
– Essential features = aim to generate rich verbal
  responses + aim to limit the constraints on the nature
  of the data
   • Focus = general research question (What are the effects of
     X?), not testing a specific hypothesis (X leads to an increase
     in Y?)

– Variety within qualitative designs
   • Can reflect modernist (SACE) or postmodernist perspective
   • Can investigate
       – Differences between groups
       – Associations between variables
   • Some qualitative designs (e.g., Delphi technique, focus
     groups) allow choice of quantitative and/or qualitative
     assessment of psychological responses
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– SACE focuses on 2 qualitative designs:

  • Delphi Technique

  • Focus groups




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         Delphi technique

• If you don‟t know the answer to a question,
  find some experts who do
  – Professional (and lay) “experts” on an issue
  – Written responses
  – More than one iteration
  – Source of responses anonymous to participants
    and researchers in direct contact with
    participants
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              Focus group
• Parallels a class discussion in which you
  act as moderator to ensure that
  students keep to the topic
  – Group of individuals with a stake/interest in
    the issue
  – Face-to-face discussion
  – Moderator to ensure equity, relevance,
    attention to ethical issues

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Dimension 2: Assessing the
  psychological response
How was the response turned into data?




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          3 broad categories
• Objective Quantitative
  – Recording Psychophysiological Responses
  – Measurement of behaviour

• Subjective Quantitative
  – Perceptions
     • Self-reports
     • Reports by others

• Qualitative only
  – Content analysis
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Quantitative Objective Assessment
   – Recording Psychophysiological Responses
     Examples:
     • Brain activity
        – Electroencephalograph (EEG)
        – Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI)
     • Psychological arousal
        – Heart rate
        – Galvanic skin response
        – Blood cortisol levels


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– Measurement of behaviour
  Examples:
  • Reaction time
  • Number of errors in memory study
  • Frequency of conflict between adolescents and
    parents
  • Duration of conversation in social interaction
    study
  • Number of people who assisted “victim” in
    study of helping behaviour
  • Score on standardised intelligence test
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Quantitative Subjective Assessment
  • Self-reports
       • Questionnaires
       • Rating scales
       • Checklists
       • Interviews (if --> data = numbers)
       • Standardised tests of personality




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   Qualitative assessment
– Example: Content analysis of themes and
  explanatory concepts in text <---

  • Advertisements
  • Natural conversation
  • Responses by participants in focus group
  • Interviews (if --> data = words)
  • Government policy documents
  • Judges‟ sentencing remarks

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        Which is best?
Choosing the right tool for the job




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Ethics in research




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          The central issue
• Every investigation involving humans
  holds a risk of harm for participants

• Balancing risks and benefits of
  individuals and populations
  – Is the risk “acceptable”?
  – Is there a potential for conflict of interest?
  – Is the consent “effective”?

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             4 Dimensions

• General issues
• Issues specific to topic
• Issues specific to context
  – class exercises
• Issues specific to population
  – adolescents


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           General Issues
• Participants
  – Physical and emotional safety
  – Informed consent
  – Confidentiality
  – (Debriefing)

• Designing the research
  – Gender/culture/other bias in research
    questions and methods
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             Physical safety-
esp. with novice users of equipment
    Cartoon from www.vuw.ac.nz/.../science/alert/ ScienceAlert1-1.html




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Emotional safety:

unwanted self-knowledge, changes in
self-perception, changes in others‟
perceptions

Feeling betrayed, humiliated<--
deception



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                  Informed consent
•   Purpose and duration
•   Procedure
•   Risks and benefits
•   If adverse events…
•   More information: procedure, rights
•   Complaints
•   Able to discontinue, withdraw
•   Confidentiality (or not)
    Photograph from www.prisonexp.org/ slide-12.htm
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     Confidentiality
Cartoon from www.privacy.org.nz/recept/ introact.html




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  Ensuring that psychological
      research is ethical
• Ethics Committees

• Guidelines for ethical conduct
  – NHMRC
  – Australian Psychological Society (APS)
  – National Privacy Legislation

• Teaching moral reasoning
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Ethics status of investigations in the SACE
 • Choose from limited list : All have approval
   from an ethics committee
 • Why?
   – Not about trust or professionalism
      • No professor would proceed without ethics clearance
   – Can‟t equally well wear all the necessary hats
     (researcher, participant, family of participant,
     school, SSABSA, DECS etc)
   – Remove perception of conflict of interest
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  Thinking through ethical issues
associated with classroom exercises




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Ethics of participation
     Calvin and Hobbs cartoon removed




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Background information




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          Appendix 1
Introduction to the Delphi Technique




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            The Delphi Technique
• Oracle at Delphi

• Originally designed to
  determine likely
  outcome for USA of a
  nuclear war
• Now used widely, esp.
  medicine, education

Photograph from www.beastcoins.com/Hercules/
    Hercules.htm
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              What‟s involved
• recruitment of experts in field of interest
• sequence of questionnaires: same participants.
• summary of group responses following each questionnaire
   – used in developing next round of questions
   – given as feedback to participants to allow them to
     revise their views through awareness of overall
     responses (e.g., alternatives or perspectives they had
     not considered)
• Usually, aim = consensus (without this <--compliance)
• Contributions are anonymous to all but the researcher.
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    Steps in Delphi Technique
                 (adapted from Beech, 1999)

• Recruitment of group members
• Construction and distribution of questionnaire #1
• Collation and categorization of results
• Construction and distribution of questionnaire #2
• Collation of results
• Possible further questionnaire(s)
• Achievement of group consensus (or not)
• Summary of findings
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                  Advantages
• Avoids confrontation, dominance of some individuals etc in
  face-to-face interaction

• Written response format allows inclusion of distant
  participants (mail, email) and completion “at convenience”

• Particularly useful when subjective judgments are central.

• Can often achieve consensus across diverse opinions

• Successive rounds of questions prompt deep reflection,
  clarify participants‟ attitudes and beliefs. --> content
  validity (Whiting, 1994).
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                Disadvantages
• absence of interaction among participants may result
  less data than <--focus group

• lack of consensus about
   – minimum number of participants
   – how „expert‟ is defined (Sindhu et al, 1997).




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How is it different from using a
 focus group? adapted from (Goodman, 1987)
•   Expert input
•   Written responses
•   Anonymity of responses
•   More than one step: iteration with controlled
    feedback (on responses in on previous step)

• (Data = group response)


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Examples of research questions for which
    Delphi Technique may be useful

 • What psychological services are needed by patients
   receiving palliative care and their families?
    – Experts could include psychologists and psychiatrists who
      work with palliative care patients, but could also include
      palliative care patients, family members of palliative
      patients, palliative nurses, grief counsellors etc)

 • What factors are effective in getting teenagers to
   improve their sleep habits?
    – Experts could be sleep scientists, but could also be parents
      of teenagers, teenagers who have and have not been
      successful in changing sleep habits, health teachers etc

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       References re Delphi Technique
•   Baldwin, P., Paisley, A., & Paterson Brown, S. 1999, "Consultant surgeons' opinion of the skills required of basic
    surgical trainees", British Journal of Surgery, vol. 86, pp. 1078-1082.
•    Beech, B. 1997, "Studying the future: a Delphi survey of how multi-disciplinary clinical staff view the likely
    development of two community mental health centers over the course of the next two years", Journal of Advanced
    Nursing, vol. 25, pp. 331-338.
•    Beech, B. 1999, "Go the extra mile - use the Delphi Technique", Journal of Nursing Management, vol. 7, pp. 281-
    288.
•    Bell, P., Daly, J., & Chang, E. 1997, "A study of the educational and research priorities of registered nurses in rural
    Australia", Journal of Advanced Nursing, vol. 25, pp. 794-800.
•   Cantrill, J., Sibbald, B., & Buetow, S. 1998, "Indicators of the appropriateness of long term prescribing in general
    practice in the United Kingdom: consensus development, face and content validity, feasibility, and reliability",
    Quality in Health Care, vol. 7, pp. 130-135.
•   Endacott, R., Clifford, C., & Tripp, J. 1999, "Can the needs of the critically ill child be identified using scenarios?
    Experiences of a modified Delphi study", Journal of Advanced Nursing, vol. 30, no. 3, pp. 665-676.
•   Gibson, J. 1998, "Using the Delphi technique to identify the content and context of nurses' continuing professional
    development", Journal of Clinical nursing, vol. 7, pp. 451-459.
•   Lemmer, B. 1998, "Successive surveys of an expert panel: research in decision-making with health visitors",
    Journal of Advanced Nursing, vol..27, no. pp. 538 - 545.
•   Misiner, TR, Watkins, JG & Ossege, J. 1994, “Public health nursing research priorities: a collaborative Delphi
    study”, Public Health Nursing,, vol 11, no. 2, pp. 66 - 74.
•   Sindhu, F., Carpenter, L., & Seers, K. 1997, "Development of a tool to rate the quality assessment of randomized
    controlled trials using a Delphi technique", Journal of Advanced Nursing, vol. 25, pp. 1262-1268.
•   Whiting, LP. 1994, “A Delphi study to determine defining characteristics of interdependence and dysfunctional
    independence as potential nursing diagnosis”, Issues in Mental Health Nursing, vol 15, pp. 37 - 47.

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Misuse of delphi technique to
    attain political ends
• www.wealth4freedom.com/ playball.jpg




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      Appendix 2
Introduction to focus groups




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      What is a focus group?
• Can be considered from 2 perspectives:
   – Moderated group discussion
   – interviews in which # participants expanded to take
     advantage of the dynamics of group interaction


• || class discussions




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  Why conduct a focus group?
• Yield rich qualitative (verbal) data

• Particularly good for assessing attitudes, values,
  motivations and opinions (may be hard to capture
  well in quantitative form)

• Often used to generate hypotheses or refine
  questionnaires before conducting a quantitative study



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Graphic from www.focusgroupdimensions.com/ datachecklist_focus.htm

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Steps in conducting a focus group
                 www.fao.org/docrep/W3241E/ w3241e06.htm



 • Identify the purpose
 • Clear statement of objectives and the questions
   to be addressed
 • Write screening questionnaire to help identify
   most “useful” participants
 • Recruit participants and write guide for
   moderator
 • Focus group session
 • Debriefing between moderator and researcher
 • Analysis of responses
 • Write report
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Steps in conducting research using a focus group
           Graphic from www.focusgroupdimensions.com/ datachecklist_focus.htm




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        Recruiting participants
• Ideally 6-8 participants in any group.
• Aim for homogeneity within groups.
   – For example if you want to know about teachers‟ and
     students‟ attitudes to a new curriculum statement, hold
     separate focus groups for teachers and students.
• Use a simple screening questionnaire to ensure that
  groups of interest are represented and that groups
  are homogeneous on factor of interest.
   – For example, if you want focus groups with high and low
     levels of prior exposure to video violence, need a list of
     questions to identify participants with these characteristics
     (must meet inclusion criteria) and ensure that there is no
     marked variation in levels of exposure within either group.

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The results of a focus group are only as
“good” as the selection of participants:
         Cartoon from lwww.thismodernworld.com/.../ 92-09-08-focus-group.gif




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        Focus group sessions
• Informal group discussion of an issue.
• The moderator “leads” the discussion to the extent
  that he/she introduces the topic and keeps the group
  focused on the issue of concern. To do so, the
  moderator should speak very little. One way of
  achieving this is to stimulate discussion through brief
  provocative statements/questions.
• Moderator also ensures that each participant
  contributes and intervenes as necessary in group
  dynamics to limit outspoken or disrespectful
  participants.
• Comments recorded for later analysis.
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What happens in the focus group session
depends on the aim. General structure:
 • Welcome and introductions
 • Ground rules
     – Confidentiality
     – Respectful of others‟ contributions
 •   Introduction of the issue
 •   Focus group discussion
 •   Summary: reflection on points
 •   Close of focus group (with reminders)
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     Alternative explanation for what
     happens in focus group session
                 www.fao.org/docrep/W3241E/ w3241e06.htm



•   Phase   1:   Warm up
•   Phase   2:   Explore discussion points
•   Phase   3:   Core discussion
•   Phase   4:   Summarising




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Steps in group discussion are specific to
aims: Example from marketing research
 • Introduction of topic: car alarms
 • Car alarms currently used and why chosen (or why not
   used)
 • Introduce new concept in car alarms
 • First impressions
 • Information about the the new car alarm circulated
 • Detailed comments
 • Probe for specific likes and dislikes about the concept
 • Purchasing attitudes/intentions re future car alarms

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     How many focus groups?
• Ideally more than one focus group involving a
  particular participant group is conducted. Additional
  groups are added for as long as new information is
  being provided. In market research, 3-4 groups are
  usually required.
• Example
   – the first focus group of teachers discussing a new curriculum
     statement is likely to provide the researcher with many
     insights.
   – The second and third focus groups of teachers are also likely
     to produce valuable information, but it is unlikely that all of
     this will be “new”.
   – The fourth focus group of teachers is likely to produce little
     that has not been covered previously. If this is the case, no
     further focus groups for teachers would be conducted on
     this subject.
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 Useful URLS re focus groups


• www.fao.org/docrep/W3241E/
  w3241e06.htm  .



• www.ucalgary.ca/~pals/ focus.html
• www.ncddr.org/du/researchexchange/
  v05n02/tools.html


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Role of moderator during group discussion
  • Prompt
     – Encourage participants to talk
     – Prompt discussion in appropriate direction
     – Change focus of discussion when one issue is exhausted
  • Remain neutral
     – Prompts must be free of bias
  • “Control” participants
     – Ensure every participant‟s views are included
        • Limit those who would monopolise
        • Encourage the shy
        • Help those who find it difficult to express their ideas
     – Limit inappropriate responses to contributions
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                        Advantages
• Yields in-depth information rich in detail

• Group synergy = one participant says something that
  triggers an idea from another participant.

• Mimics natural social processes

• Appropriate in many cultural settings

• More efficient and cost-effective than individual
  interviews
  Photograph from www.houckassociates.com/ mk-focus.htm
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                    Disadvantages
1. Careful planning and management is required.
2. Results cannot be generalized <-- participants not
   randomly selected
3. Small sample: Relatively few participants in any focus
   group, and usually few focus groups
4. Payment = expensive in money, transcription =
   expensive in time.
• Potential for bias
        •   Self-censorship, social desirability
        •   ‟Dominant' participants
•   Comparisons across groups difficult if moderator, setting
    or mix of participants differs.
    Artwork from www.eonenet.com/members/psychology/ product1.php3
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Examples of research using
      focus groups




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Evaluating a program to improve awareness of Sexually
     Transmitted Diseases and HIV/AIDS in India
                               indiaclen.org/family.htm


• Objectives of Focus Groups
    – evaluate the the planning and implementation of the program;
    – determine factors that influenced the utilisation of services;
    – Assess effectiveness.
• Focus group participants
    – Groups for different categories of stakeholders: policy makers, providers,
      implementors, facilitators and clients (utilisers and non-utilisers).
•   Recommendations
    – Adolescent boys and girls = a priority target group
    – IEC material should be in local language.
    – Camps should be at easily accessible locations.
    – Camps should have separate enclosures for men, women, adolescent girls
      and adolescent boys.
    – Arrangements to ensure confidentiality for clients who want privacy.
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   Factors affecting adjustment after
rehabilitation in persons with Spinal Cord
                   Injury.
 •   Photo from www.hsc.missouri.edu/~momscis/ series/series.htm




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       Issues concerning HIV among
         Canadian Native Americans
                www.hc-sc.gc.ca/pphb-dgspsp/ publicat/ahe-eva/


• Focus Group held by the Division of HIV/AIDS
  Epidemiology and Surveillance, Canada, February 6-
  7, 2001.

• Research aims:
   – Aboriginal community‟s estimates of HIV infections among
     their people;
   – What data do aboriginal communities believe surveillance
     programs and targeted studies need to ask about in order to
     improve the estimates of HIV among their people.
   – What issues do aboriginal communities perceive relating to
     the interpretation, dissemination and use of these data.
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  An example of the ways in which
focus group data may be presented:



• Attitudes towards cities: Chicago and Atlanta, USA
  http://www.ceosforcities.org/research/2002/perception_of_cities/slides/tsld002.htm




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           Appendix 3

Example of research using rating scales
and how these data might be presented



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            Rating scales
• See survey results
  – http://www.aasa.org/issues_and_insights/
    parents_public/00public/00public.6161.PPT




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        Appendix 4:

Investigations in SACE psychology




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2 aims for every investigation

• Paedogogical
• Pragmatic




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    Paedogogical Aims
– The same research question can be
  investigated using
  • different designs and
  • different ways of assessing psychological responses

– Science =/= single stand-alone studies - small
  simple program of research
– Science <-- co-operation- students co-operate
  to conduct program but only use part of the
  data for their own investigation

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        Pragmatic Aim


– Maximise students‟ choice of
  • research question
  • research designs
  • Method of assessing psychological responses
 within constraints imposed by need to have
 research programs approved

  • One research program --> many distinct
    investigations
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  How will this actually work?
• Research program --> rich dataset

• Students select the data that most interest
  them.

• Students generate a research question that can
  be answered by the the available data.
  – Difference
  – Association

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Example of a research program: The
  effects of viewing video violence
 • 4 components
   – Heart-rate recording while watching
     different video excerpts
   – Ratings of own aggressiveness
   – Judgements about the justifiability of the
     aggression
   – Focus group discussion of 1 or 2 questions
 • Each component small and simple
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Examples of different investigations <-- research
 program on effects of viewing video aggression
• Experimental design using quantitative measurement to
  examine differences
   – What is the difference in heart rate when watching humorous
     and non-humorous programs containing violence?

• Observational design using quantitative measurement
  to examine associations
   – Is there a relationship between a person‟s heart-rate while
     watching violence and their reports of how aggressive they
     were after watching it?

• Qualitative Design using qualitative assessment to
  examine differences
   – Content analysis of responses to focus group question 2: A
     comparison of responses from boys‟ and girls‟ groups
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     Appendix 5

Notes on workshop exercise




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 Industrial/Organisational Psychologist:
      Mitsubishi: Managing change-retooling

• Research design
  – Qualitative
     • Delphi technique

• Method of assessing psychological response
  – Quantitative objective - number of experts who endorse
  – Quantitative subjective - strength of endorsement
  – Qualitative - main points in the argument for and against

                   SASTA Psychology Workshop
                       August 15th, 2003
              Health Psychologist:
SA Dept. Human Services: Diabetes awareness and
                  prevention
 • Research design
    – Qualitative
       • Focus groups
 • Method of assessing psychological response
    – Quantitative objective -           number of correct responses in
      participants‟ list of symptoms of diabetes
    – Quantitative subjective -                preferences among 3 proposed
      TV campaigns

    – Qualitative -   rich descriptions of barriers to health
      communication and health behaviour change in each group
                     SASTA Psychology Workshop
                           August 15th, 2003
   Clinical Child Psychologist: WCH:
Service provision for refugee children in detention

 • Research design
    – Observational

 • Method of assessing psychological response
    – Quantitative objective -             duration of attention span during
      normal class activities (maths)
    – Quantitative subjective -              parents and children‟s reports
      of number of emotional and behavioural problems using checklist

    – Qualitative -    parent‟s unconstrained reports of their child‟s
      strengths and problems
                       SASTA Psychology Workshop
                           August 15th, 2003
            Forensic Psychologist:
Attorney General‟s Dept: Judges‟ instructions to jurors


• Research design
  – Experimental

• Method of assessing psychological response
  – Quantitative objective -               number of errors in jurors‟
     understanding of instructions
  – Quantitative subjective -number of jurors who vote
     “guilty” and “not guilty”
  – Qualitative -       nature of debates among jurors

                       SASTA Psychology Workshop
                           August 15th, 2003
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                      SASTA Psychology Workshop
                          August 15th, 2003

				
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