Research Methods Questions Summer 2014 – Feedback


Well done to the people who have done this. I have seen several examples of people who have already showed that they can get themselves up to A2 standard. Anything over 20 is very respectable. 23 out of 30 would be A grade standard. Some people are doing even better than that. The question in the real exam will be different because the stem deliberately does not refer to anything you have done. Nevertheless, the questions here are based on full A2 standard questions. You should be very pleased with yourself if you can do them.

The big issue with tackling these is elaboration. Most people most of the time showed that they could get hold of the main ideas in each question. The trick is to work out how much you have to write to explain your answer fully and get full marks. It is not always obvious which is why very high marks on these questions are rare in the actual exam.

The most encouraging thing to have emerged is that people who tried hard on the project and got it done on time were in a strong position to answer the questions. That has been the message throughout the year. If we push ourselves to deepen our understanding through doing extension tasks, the exam questions become more accessible.

Question By Question

a) Hypothesis writing is something people often get wrong. Most people were not put off by the word “operationalised” and wrote something clear and coherent.

b) A good example of shaping. If you just write “because of previous research”, you only get half marks. You have to show you have looked at the stem and understood what the previous research was about.

c) This is an example of a question which exposed misconceptions and required careful explanation. People tend to assume that questionnaires always have closed questions and interviews have open questions. That isn’t so. The question tests your ability to elaborate and explain. If you think people will give more honest answers in a face to face setting, please explain why.

d) Just lift it from your notes. That is why they were there.

e) The validity mind map is in your notes in order to give you a clear picture of the different strands of validity. The trick here is shaping. If you think demand characteristics would be an issue, you need to say why. Avoid dropping key terms into answers without explaining how they work.

f) The question asks about what the table shows. It doesn’t want you to repeat the numbers but to say what they mean: check the mark scheme for how to do this.

g) The question asks about “this data” so you have to refer to aspects of it rather than simply repeating “independent groups, test of difference, ordinal level”. The shaping you require is clear from the mark scheme.

h) People are starting to get the idea here and becoming more confident. You just need to incorporate as many of the figures as you can, using the type of statement you put into your research report. That is the standard format.

i) I have seen some strong answers to this question. The trick is to spot two or three things and then take the time and space to explain them. Remember the question asks you for suggestions for improvement: some people missed that. If you take your time and explain two or three ideas well, you can get to top band. You don’t have to write loads but you have to show you understand what you are writing.

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If you can record this on your review sheet, I can use it for your reference. Be honest about yourself.



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