A2 Psychological Research And Scientific Method – Extension Tasks

People tend to think that this topic is just about learning your notes and is therefore dull. That isn’t right. Here are some links to items which will enrich and deepen your understanding of the core we study in class.

The Application Of Scientific Method

One of the controversies in this area is the File Drawer Phenomenon. Research which contains negative findings tends not to be published but is put in a filing cabinet (or its digital equivalent) and forgotten about. This website deals with the problem.


Use the links on this page to find out more.

The File Drawer Phenomenon is part of the discussion of research bias on this programme presented by Alice Roberts.


You need to listen to the first ten minutes of the programme. This discussion refers to some of the concepts we have looked at as part of the course: objectivity, peer review, researcher bias. At the end, Claudia Hammond refers to some of the steps being taken to address the issue of bias in publication.

Finally, here is a lecture by Professor David Shanks on the replication crisis in Psychology.


He did this talk at University College, London where he is based but has been round the country delivering it too. You have to be patient but there are some real gems in here.


Data analysis and reporting on investigations

Last year, the British Psychological Society produced some videos in collaboration with a dance company in order to illustrate some core ideas in statistics. You can view them here.

If you need a bit more on inferential statistics, you can follow this link to the Khan Academy.


There’s more here than what you need to cover. I find the ones on hypothesis testing, one and two tailed tests and Type 1 Errors useful. See what you think.

We concentrate in A Level on interpreting the significance of p values. If you look at last week’s Post Of The Week, you can see under point 8 some of the problems with this.


  1. With 13B, I’ve seen over the last couple of lessons some examples of highly effective learning. On Tuesday, as people were getting to grips with revising the AS material, I wrote on the board what I was noticing about how you learnt. I noted that it was a good idea to start with the basics: a word or a phrase for each method and its strength or limitation. We then realised that to write about these well, it is necessary to have some extra vocabulary: demand characteristics, control. We looked at how to link a method to an example: for case studies, always think of Genie. Finally, we thought about how you needed to go beyond highlighting key words in order to understand fully what you were reading. You need to do something with the text. What was really good about all of this was that when we went through the questions, it was possible to hear these different approaches to learning in the answers which were given. We must be on the right track.

    In today’s lesson, we were able to go quickly and cover a lot of ground. We based our learning around images and focused on examples to make the concepts make sense. We also focused on our own experience as researchers.

    This seems like really good learning. You are bringing to lessons ways of working which give you the best possible chance of succeeding in the exam. Thank you.

  2. […] can find out more about this by looking at this post from earlier in the […]

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