Final Thoughts For PSYA4

I have had a couple of sessions with students in the last few school days looking at Depression and Research Methods.

For Depression, the crucial bit is to know the evidence. If you can do that you will have the basis for evaluating the approaches and also for evaluating the therapies. Please note for the therapies, you can be asked about appropriateness and effectiveness separately. If you don’t have the 20 pieces of evidence document, please click on this link.

For Research Methods, you need good strategy and tactics. Fundamental to this is knowing the definitions. Go through the skeleton notes and pick out all of the key terms. It is important to repeat the key phrase of the question. If the question asks you how the psychologists might have assessed the reliability of their content analysis, begin your answer by saying “The psychologists could have assessed the reliability of their content analysis by checking the inter-rater reliability.” So know the key terms and be able to elaborate and explain. How much you elaborate and explain depends on the number of marks available: keep an eye on the number of marks.

Sometimes, you need to go right the way back and explain everything. For example, if you are asked to explain how you would design a study, cover what looks like a basic and obvious point such as each participant doing everything and the environment being quiet and without distractions. You get marks for this.

Ethical issues sometimes catch people out. There is a list of the key issues in your skeleton notes. Please note that a debrief is not an issue but is a response to the issue of informed consent.

It is essential that you know the inferential tests. Please make sure that you understand for which types of test chi squared, Spearman’s rho, Mann Whitney and Wilcoxon are used.

Writing from opposites is an idea we have used in AS and which is useful here. If it asks you to justify random sampling, a good approach is to explain why random sampling is better than opportunity or volunteer sampling.

You may get a longer question: 10 or 12 marks where you have to write a procedure or a results section. These can be intimidating. The key is to look at the bullet points which tell you what to include. Use these bullet points as sub-headings.

In general, the trick is to take your time and think. The content is all covered in your notes. Make sure you learn it and then apply it.

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