Decision. (5)


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The John Fisher School



Q1. 

          Read the text below and answer following questions.

A psychologist was interested in looking at the effects of a restricted diet on psychological functioning. A group of 20 healthy, young adult volunteers agreed to spend four weeks in a research unit. They were kept warm and comfortable but given only water and small amounts of plain food. They were able to socialise with one another and watch television, but they had to keep to strict, set mealtimes and were not allowed to eat anything between meals. The psychologist carried out various tests of emotional and cognitive functioning during this four-week period. One area of interest for the psychologist was the effect of the dietary restriction on the perception of food. He tested this by asking the volunteers to draw pictures of food at the end of each week. When all the drawings had been completed, the psychologist used content analysis to analyse them.


(a)     What is meant by the term content analysis?

(1)

(b)     Explain how the psychologist might have carried out content analysis to analyse these drawings.

(3)

(c)     The psychologist needed to be sure that his participants understood the nature of the study so that they were able to give informed consent.

Write a consent form which would be suitable for this study. Make sure there is sufficient information about the study for the participants to make an informed
decision.

(5)

(Total 9 marks)










Q2. 

A researcher used content analysis to investigate how the behaviour of young children changed when they started day care.

He identified a group of nine-month-old children who were about to start day care.

He asked the mother of each child to keep a diary recording her child’s behaviour every day for two weeks before and for two weeks after the child started day care.

(a)     Explain how the researcher could have used content analysis to analyse what the mothers had written in their diaries.

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(4)






(b)     Explain one or more possible limitations of this investigation.

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(4)

(Total 8 marks)










Q3. 

In an observational study, 100 cars were fitted with video cameras to record the driver’s behaviour. Two psychologists used content analysis to analyse the data from the films. They found that 75% of accidents involved a lack of attention by the driver. The most common distractions were using a hands-free phone or talking to a passenger. Other distractions included looking at the scenery, smoking, eating, personal grooming and trying to reach something within the car.

(a)     What is content analysis?

(2)






(b)     Explain how the psychologists might have carried out content analysis to analyse the film clips of driver behaviour.

(4)






(c)     Explain how the two psychologists might have assessed the reliability of their content analysis.

The psychologists then designed an experiment to test the effects of using a hands-free phone on drivers’ attention. They recruited a sample of 30 experienced police drivers and asked them to take part in two computer-simulated driving tests. Both tests involved watching a three-minute film of a road. Participants were instructed to click the mouse as quickly as possible, when a potential hazard (such as a car pulling out ahead) was spotted.

Each participant completed two computer-simulated driving tests:

•        Test A, whilst chatting with one of the psychologists on a hands-free phone

•        Test B, in silence, with no distractions.

The order in which they completed the computer tests was counterbalanced.

(3)






(d)     Explain why the psychologists chose to use a repeated measures design in this experiment.

(3)






(e)     Identify one possible extraneous variable in this experiment. Explain how this variable may have influenced the results of this experiment.

(3)






(f)    Explain one or more ethical issues that the psychologists should have considered in this experiment.

(4)






(g)    Write a set of standardised instructions that would be suitable to read out to participants, before they carry out Test A, chatting on a hands-free phone.

The computer simulator measured two aspects of driver behaviour:

•        the number of hazards detected by each driver

•        the time taken to respond to each hazard, in seconds.

The mean scores for each of these measures is shown in the table below.

Table to show the mean number of hazards detected and mean reaction times in seconds for Test A and Test B

 

 

Mean scores

Test A: with hands-free phone

Test B: in silence

 

Number of hazards detected

26.0

23.0

 

Reaction time in seconds

0.45

0.27


The psychologists then used an inferential statistical test to assess whether there was a difference in the two conditions.

(5)






(h)     Identify an appropriate statistical test to analyse the difference in the number of hazards detected in the two conditions of this experiment. Explain why this test of difference would be appropriate.

They found no significant difference in the number of hazards detected (p > 0.05), but there was a significant difference in reaction times (p . 0.01).

(3)






(i)     Explain why the psychologists did not think that they had made a Type 1 error in relation to the difference in reaction times.

(2)






(j)     Replication is one feature of the scientific method. The psychologists decided to replicate this experiment using a larger sample of 250 inexperienced drivers.

Explain why replication of this study would be useful.

(3)

(Total 32 marks)








 

M1. 

Please note that the AOs for the new AQA Specification (Sept 2015 onwards) have changed. Under the new Specification the following system of AOs applies:

•        AO1 knowledge and understanding

•        AO2 application (of psychological knowledge)

•        AO3 evaluation, analysis, interpretation.


Although the essential content for this mark scheme remains the same, mark schemes for the new AQA Specification (Sept 2015 onwards) take a different format as follows:

•        A single set of numbered levels (formerly bands) to cover all skills

•        Content appears as a bulleted list

•        No IDA expectation in A Level essays, however, credit for references to issues, debates and approaches where relevant.


(a)     AO1 = 1

A brief definition of the term is sufficient for 1 mark eg a technique for analysing data according to themes or categories.
Candidates who simply write ‘a way of analysing qualitative data’ are not meeting the requirement to say ‘what is meant by….?’


(b)     AO2 / 3 = 3

•       The psychologist would have identified a number of categories or themes by which to sort the drawings. Such categories/themes might include: the type of food depicted eg carbohydrate, protein; the state of the food eg cooked, raw etc; the portion size; the brightness of the colours used.

•        He would have counted examples from each category to provide quantitative data.

•        He could then compare the drawings according to these categories to see if there were changes over the four week period.

For full marks candidates can either outline three of the above or outline two with some elaboration.
For 2 marks candidates can either outline two of the above, or one with elaboration.
For 1 mark candidates simply outline one of the above eg “choose a theme like size”.
Note: maximum 2 marks if no engagement with the stem.


(c)     AO2 / 3 = 5

The form would need to contain sufficient information for the participant to make an informed decision about whether to take part or not. The form should contain some of the following:

•        The purpose of the study.

•        The length of time required of the participants.

•        The fact that participants would have to be isolated in a research institute for the duration of the study.

•        Details about the diet.

•        Right to withdraw.

•        Reassurance about protection from harm e.g. the availability of medical supervision.

•        The requirement to undertake a series of psychological tests.

•        Reassurance about confidentiality of the data.

It is not necessary for candidates to include all of the above points for full marks. However, in order to access the top band, candidates must engage with the study and include sufficient information on both ethical and methodological issues for participants to make an informed decision.
Maximum of 3 marks if no ethical issues are included.


 

 

AO2/3 = 5 marks

 

5 marks Effective
The ‘consent form’ demonstrates sound understanding. Information is given in a clear and concise form and is explicitly relevant. The form includes sufficient information so that participants can make a fully informed decision including the right to withdraw.

 

4 – 3 marks Reasonable
The ‘consent form’ demonstrates reasonable understanding. Information is given in a reasonably clear and concise form and is mainly relevant. The form includes sufficient information so that participants can make an informed decision.

 

2 marks Basic
The ‘consent form’ demonstrates basic understanding. There is some lack of clarity and conciseness and material is not always relevant. There are some omissions such that participants would find it difficult to make a decision.

 

1 mark Rudimentary
The ‘consent form’ is rudimentary and demonstrates very little understanding.
Information is not given in a clear and concise form. The form has significant omissions such that a decision is not possible.

 

0 marks
No creditworthy material is presented.



M2. 

Please note that the AOs for the new AQA Specification (Sept 2015 onwards) have changed. Under the new Specification the following system of AOs applies:

•        AO1 knowledge and understanding

•        AO2 application (of psychological knowledge)

•        AO3 evaluation, analysis, interpretation.


Although the essential content for this mark scheme remains the same, mark schemes for the new AQA Specification (Sept 2015 onwards) take a different format as follows:

•        A single set of numbered levels (formerly bands) to cover all skills

•        Content appears as a bulleted list

•        No IDA expectation in A Level essays, however, credit for references to issues, debates and approaches where relevant.


(a)     AO3 = 4

Content analysis is a way of analysing data such as text using coding units such as themes. In this case mothers were asked to write down how their child behaved, so students might suggest.

Create a checklist / categories
Relevant example(s) of behaviours eg aggression, crying
Read through the diaries / mothers’ writing / reports
Counting behaviours or tallying
Compare before and after day care

Any 1 of these equals 1 mark
Any 2 of these equals 2 marks
For 3 marks any 3 components but must refer to reading diaries / mothers’ writing / reports.
For 4 marks any 4 components but must refer to reading diaries / mothers’ writing / reports.
Ie Max 2 marks if there is no reference to reading diaries.

 

 

AO3    Knowledge and understanding of content analysis

 

4 marks  Effective explanation
Explanation is accurate, reasonably detailed and demonstrates sound knowledge and understanding of how content analysis could be used. Includes reference to both coding / categorizing and counting.

 

3 marks  Reasonable explanation
Explanation is generally accurate but less detailed and demonstrates reasonable knowledge and understanding of how content analysis could be used.

 

2 marks  Basic explanation
Explanation demonstrates basic knowledge of how content analysis could be used.

 

1 mark  Rudimentary explanation
Explanation demonstrates rudimentary knowledge of how content analysis could be used.

 

0 marks
No creditworthy material.


(b)     AO3 = 4

Credit all possible limitations of this investigation such as mothers not having time to write much, or to problems in the analysis such as difficulties deciding on appropriate categories. Other limitations could be demand characteristics, mothers dropping out of the study, bias in recording, lack of control of time spent in day care, nine-month-olds not representative of all young children etc. Also ethical issues such as maintaining confidentiality could be made relevant.

Students may explain one limitation in detail, or more than one in less detail.

 

 

AO3    Knowledge and understanding of limitations of this investigation

 

4 marks  Effective explanation
Explanation is accurate, reasonably detailed and demonstrates sound knowledge and understanding of one or more limitations of this investigation.

 

3 marks  Reasonable explanation
Explanation is generally accurate but less detailed and demonstrates reasonable knowledge and understanding of one or more limitations of this investigation.

 

2 marks  Basic explanation
Explanation demonstrates basic knowledge of one or more limitations of this investigation.

 

1 mark  Rudimentary explanation
Explanation demonstrates rudimentary knowledge of one or more limitations of this Investigation.

 

0 marks
No creditworthy material.



M3. 

Please note that the AOs for the new AQA Specification (Sept 2015 onwards) have changed. Under the new Specification the following system of AOs applies:

•        AO1 knowledge and understanding

•        AO2 application (of psychological knowledge)

•        AO3 evaluation, analysis, interpretation.


Although the essential content for this mark scheme remains the same, mark schemes for the new AQA Specification (Sept 2015 onwards) take a different format as follows:

•        A single set of numbered levels (formerly bands) to cover all skills

•        Content appears as a bulleted list

•        No IDA expectation in A Level essays, however, credit for references to issues, debates and approaches where relevant.


(a)     AO1 = 2

Content analysis is a technique for analysing qualitative data of various kinds. Data can be placed into categories and counted (quantitative) or can be analysed in themes (qualitative).

Award 1 mark for a brief statement and a further mark for elaboration.


(b)     AO3 = 4

•        The psychologist could have begun by watching some of the film clips of driver behaviour.

•        This would enable the psychologist to identify potential categories which emerged from the data of the different types of distractions seen in the film.

•        Such categories / themes might include: passenger distractions, gadget distractions, etc.

•        The psychologists would then have watched the films again and counted the number of examples which fell into each category to provide quantitative data.

Credit variations in so far as they explain the process.

Note: maximum 1 mark if no engagement with the stem.


 

 

AO3 Mark bands

 

4 marks Effective
Effective explanation of the processes involved in content analysis referring to some or all of the above points.

 

2 – 3 marks Reasonable
Reasonable accurate coverage of the processes involved.

 

1 mark Basic
Basic identification of the processes involved in content analysis (‘watching the films and counting’).

 

0 marks
No creditworthy material.


(c)     AO3 = 3

1 mark for identification of an appropriate way of assessing reliability in this investigation. By far the most likely answers here are inter-rater reliability or test-retest reliability.

2 marks for some explanation / elaboration: ‘the two psychologists could carry out content analysis of the films separately and compare their answers’ or ‘they could re-code the films at a later date and compare the two sets of data’.

3 marks for an accurate and clear explanation which refers to deriving the categories and checking the data. ‘The two psychologists could watch the films separately and devise a set of categories. They could compare these and use categories they both agreed on. They could carry out content analysis of the films separately and compare their answers looking for agreement’.


(d)     AO3 = 3

Candidates can cover one reason explained in detail here or several reasons in less detail.

A repeated measures design was chosen in this experiment:

•        to remove the effects of individual differences in reaction times which would occur if an independent groups design was used

•        to avoid the potential difficulties involved in matching participants

•        to reduce the number of participants required for the experiment.

(e)     AO3 = 3

This is a repeated measures design and is counter-balanced hence points about order effects and individual differences will not gain credit.

There are a range of potential extraneous variables here including:

•        the nature and content of the conversation with the psychologist on the hands-free phone

•        interaction between the sex of the psychologist and sex of participant which could influence the type of conversation

•        the number of hazards in the computer-based test, hence difficulty of the tests

•        the presence of the hands-free headset could have produced distraction.

Award 1 mark for basic identification of a confounding variable and a further 2 marks for elaboration of how this could have affected the dependent variable.

Example: The chat with the psychologist was not controlled (1 mark) so the difficulty or number of questions could have varied (2 marks). This would influence the DV as more or less attention would be required (3 marks).






(f)     AO3 = 4

There are several potential ethical issues here. Candidates can focus on one in detail or several in less detail.

•        Protection of participants from harm whilst studying the effects of a hands-free phone on driving. Two key issues here are the use of a computer-based test with no risk attached and of an experienced sample of police drivers.

•        Informed consent: Participants should be given full information about the nature of both tasks before deciding whether or not to participate.

•        Debriefing: A full debriefing should take place at the end of the experiment. This should provide feedback on performance and allow participants to ask questions if they wish to.

•        Freedom to withdraw: Participants should be made aware of their freedom to withdraw before and during the experiment. They should be made aware of their right to withdraw their data after the experiment.

•        Confidentiality: Individuals should not be identified, but should retain anonymity (use of numbers or initials instead of names).

Lists of ethical issues with no elaboration 1 mark.


 

 

AO3 Mark bands

 

4 marks Sound
An appropriate ethical issue is identified and explained in detail. Material is
accurate – or several issues are identified and discussed accurately in less detail.

 

2 – 3 marks Reasonable
One or more appropriate ethical issues are identified and discussed. The answer is generally accurate.

 

1 mark Basic
Basic identification of an ethical issue (e.g. ‘right to withdraw’) or very brief answers which lack detail.

 

0 marks
No creditworthy material.


(g)     AO3 = 5

The standardised instructions should include the following information:

a.       You will take part in a simulated driving test which will last for three minutes.

b.       Your task will be to identify potential hazards on the road ahead.

c.       When you see a hazard, you should press the mouse button as quickly as possible.

d.       Whilst you are doing the test, I will chat to you on a mobile phone and I would like you to reply using the hands-free mobile phone headset.

e.       Do you have any questions?

For full marks, the instructions should adopt an appropriate formal tone. Instructions which are not suitable to be read out should be awarded a maximum mark of 2.


 

 

AO3 Marks bands     Standardised instructions

 

5 marks Effective
The standardised instructions provide accurate detail of the procedure in a clear and concise form and participants’ understanding is checked.

 

4 – 3 marks Reasonable
The standardised instructions provide sufficient detail of the procedure in a reasonably clear form.

 

2 marks Basic
The standardised instructions provide some details of the procedure though these may not be clear.

 

1 mark Rudimentary
The standardised instructions provide few details of the procedure and may be muddled and or inaccurate. Omissions in the instructions compromise the procedure.

 

0 marks
No creditworthy material is presented.


(h)     AO3 = 3

Students are required to identify an appropriate test and are asked to justify their choice.

Award 1 mark for identification of the Wilcoxon (signed ranks) test. Candidates could receive credit for Sign test or related t test. Note that reasons / justification must be correct for the test supplied.

If an incorrect test is identified no marks can be awarded.

Award 1 mark for basic statement of a reason, and a further mark for elaboration, within the context of the experiment or a further reason.

e.g. for Wilcoxon test:

•        A repeated measures design was used (1 mark) as drivers take part in both the hands-free phone and non-phone (silent) conditions (1 mark).

•        A repeated measures design was used (1 mark) and the data can be treated as ordinal (1 mark).

Test of difference cannot gain credit.


(i)     AO3 = 2

Students are told that the difference in reaction times was significant at the p ≤ 0.01 level.

Award 1 mark for a basic understanding of this (‘the result is highly significant’) and a further mark for elaboration e.g. identifying that the probability of a Type 1 error here is less than 1 / 100.

(j)     AO3 = 3

Replication is an important tool in the scientific method. It allows scientists to check findings and ensure that they are robust. In this study, replication is important, as the original sample is small (30 people) and specific (experienced police drivers). For this reason, replication on a larger sample will be used to check if findings apply outside this specific group.

Award 1 mark for a general answer on the importance of replication to check findings.


 

E1. 

(a)     Many candidates seemed unable to say what is meant by content analysis. In some cases, this was because of poor expression and the inability to define terms clearly. In others, it was simply that they did not know the term. Teachers and candidates must be aware that the Research Methods section of the PSYA4 specification builds on what was covered at AS. Anything that appears on the Research Methods specification at AS can be examined on PSYA4.

(b)     When candidates understood the term they were able to apply their knowledge effectively. For example, they explained how the psychologist would identify themes or categories in the drawings, count examples of each category to provide quantitative data and compare categories of drawings for changes over the duration of the study.


(c)     Many candidates wrote thorough consent forms using appropriate content and tone. But some just included procedural details with no mention of ethics or vice versa. Some had problems in including enough information to allow the participant to make an informed decision. Specifically there was often insufficient information on the stay in a research unit, the nature of the restricted diet and the need for testing. While some candidates referred to ethical issues, including right to withdraw, many did not. A few actually suggested that participants would be locked in if they agreed to take part.


E2. 

(a)     There were some competent answers to this question, where students knew what was involved in content analysis and how it could be applied in this instance. Some showed confusion between studying the children and studying the diaries. A substantial number of students did not attempt this question at all or scored no marks.

(b)     There were some competent answers, especially where students obviously understood the procedure of content analysis. Students were able to focus on the problem of asking the mother to keep a diary and could suggest possible difficulties with demand characteristics, social desirability and problems of recording regularly and in sufficient detail. Some students did not read the stem carefully because their suggestions that the mother would not be at nursery to record the child's behaviour or the recording would be retrospective after two weeks, and thus subject to unreliable memory, were not limitations of this study.


E3. 

(a)     This question required a definition of content analysis which proved challenging for many students. Almost half of the answers achieved no marks at all. This was made more remarkable by the fact that most were able to gain some marks on part (b) where they were asked to explain how to carry out a content analysis for the data in question.

(b)     Most students were able to gain some marks here despite poor performance on part (a) and could identify in a basic way how to carry out a content analysis on the video recordings. Some were able to provide a clear description of the process but few appreciated that behavioural categories need to come from somewhere, whether that is from pilot work or previous research.

(c)     Most students were able to identify an appropriate method of testing the reliability of the content analysis and collect at least one mark. The most popular answers were test-retest and inter-rater reliability. Many failed to gain the three marks available as their explanation of how the method of checking reliability would be carried out lacked detail. A few students became side-tracked into improving reliability and a small number used split half which was inappropriate in relation to content analysis and gained no marks.

(d)     This question required students to explain why a repeated measures design was used in the experiment. Many students provided a basic answer referring to the need for less participants or the removal of individual differences but were unable to provide further explanation of why this would be important in this experiment. Students who thought about the scenario and elaborated their explanation with reference to reaction times, concentration or driving skills, achieved full marks.

(e)     There was a broad range of answers to this question and about 75% of students achieved no marks at all. Many students contradicted their previous answer to part (d) and referred incorrectly to individual differences in reaction times and a similar proportion referred to order effects which had been controlled by counterbalancing or driving experience. Some students picked up on the possibility of differences in the nature of the ‘chat’ on the phone which was encouraging. However, few students showed any awareness of the need to match the two hazard perception tests (stimulus materials / tasks) in this repeated measures design.

(f)     Many answers to this question displayed a marked lack of common sense. Despite referring to a simple hazard perception test, which is a key component of the driving test, many students claimed that watching a 3-minute film of a road would be traumatic, leading police drivers to suffer psychological harm. Others referred to possible deception and failed to appreciate that the purpose of the experiment is rather obvious in a repeated measures design. Better answers took issues such as informed consent / right to withdraw and explained how these related to this research.

(g)     The question on writing instructions was answered well, with around half of students achieving four or five marks. Some failed to gain full credit as their instructions referenced both conditions or failed to include a check of understanding. Very weak answers failed to refer to the conversation or made no reference to reacting as quickly as possible.

(h)     This question required students to identify an appropriate statistical test and justify their choice. About one third of students gained the full marks for identifying the Wilcoxon test with appropriate justification but just under half gained one mark only for identification of the test. Common problems included justification as a test of difference which gained no credit as it was included in the question. Other students were confused about the type of data required for the Wilcoxon test and many answers referred to ‘not nominal’ data.

(i)     There is still evidence that few students understand the concepts of statistical error and well over half failed to gain any marks here. Some became confused between type 1 and type 2 errors and others referred to the number of hazards detected rather than reaction times.

(j)     This question was answered reasonably well, with many students referring to the greater potential for generalisation in a larger sample of inexperienced drivers. Some also referred to the general importance of replication to check findings in the context of the experiment, which was creditworthy.



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