Psychology Research Methods Exam Paper

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For example, if you’re explaining the use of a true experiment the “how” would include the nature of the independent variables and perhaps common ways the dependent variable is measured.

For instance, in true experiments on the brain the IV is commonly a factor hypothesized to affect brain activity like chemical messengers such as serotonin and the effects of the manipulation of this IV on the brain is measured using f MRI.

Tip: A detailed central argument explaining how and why the method is used is the key to scoring top marks in the “knowledge and understanding” section of the essay rubric.

Your explanation of the method would be identical in an SAR and an essay.

Explaining possible links like this is an excellent way of highlighting the limitations in correlational studies.

My advice to students is to prep true experiments and correlational studies, but for every topic they should choose one of these to prep in depth.

To quote the official IB FAQs document, “…the different research methods for the study of psychology at this level: case studies, naturalistic observations, interviews, experiments, field experiments, quasi-experiments, natural experiments, correlations studies.” Therefore, make sure the method/s you are writing about is from this list.

Tip: Prepare to write about true experiments and/or correlational studies for Paper 1 and 2.

In this type of essay, this means explaining how the procedures of a research method are applied in a particular topic (see the example essay for a demonstration of this being done).

To show critical thinking in a research methods essay, it’s important you can explain strengths and limitations of the research method you are writing about.


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