AP Psychology: Research Methods Used in the Study of Psychology

Watch online video lessons about the research methods used in the study of psychology and learn about statistics, research designs, reliability of experiments, and more. These lessons are just a portion of our AP Psychology course. 

About this chapter

Research Methods Used in the Study of Psychology - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

Because psychology is a scientific field, there are certain ways that psychologists perform experiments, gather data, and analyze their findings. In this chapter, you'll learn about ways to set up experiments, how research is conducted, and how to make sure your experiment is reliable and valid. After gathering data, psychologists have to analyze it, which you'll learn about in terms of statistics. Because psychology deals with humans, there can be some confusing ethical questions that arise, and you'll see how deception plays a part in many psychological experiments. After completing this chapter, you should be able to:

  • Assess the reliability and validity of an experiment
  • Understand the scientific method in the field of psychology
  • Identify basic statistical data
  • Describe different types of psychological research
  • Explain how psychology can be applied to other scientific fields

Intro to Statistics, Tests, and MeasurementExplore using the scientific method to set up psychological studies with hypotheses and control groups.
Types of Research DesignsLearn about the three main types of research designs - descriptive, case, and correlation - in the field of psychology.
Reliability and ValidityUnderstand the concepts of reliability and validity and what these can mean for psychological experiments.
Statistical AnalysisLearn about descriptive and inferential statistics and how they are used by psychologists.
Ethics of Psychological ExperimentsExplore how deception and consent are important when it comes to ethical questions involving human and animal test subjects.
Applied vs Basic PsychologyUnderstand how psychology can be applied to other disciplines and how this is different from basic psychology.

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What do psychologists have to think about when designing studies and interpreting results? In this lesson, you'll explore how the scientific method can help with the difficult task of studying behaviors and their potential causes.

What are the three main research designs, and what are their advantages and disadvantages? In this lesson, you'll explore the different goals behind descriptive, correlational and experimental research designs.

How do validity and reliability contribute to study design in psychology? In this lesson, you'll look at how experiments can fail reliability and validity requirements to get an idea of the challenges behind conducting significant psychological research.

What are the two main types of statistics used by psychologists? In this lesson, you'll start to see what psychologists need to do to analyze their data and test the significance of their results.

What are the ethical principles of psychological research? In this lesson, you'll take a look at the careful considerations a psychologist must make with respect to her participants when she designs a test.

In this lesson, we look at the difference between basic and applied psychological research and why there is a separation. Through examples, we'll answer the questions: What is the purpose of research if it doesn't apply to the real world, and how are the two interrelated?

Many psychological tests, including intelligence tests, are about comparing your score to others' scores to see how you did. Watch this lesson to find out about two important concepts in psychology: standardization and norms.

Psychological assessments are tests that are meant to analyze a person's abilities or personality. In this lesson, we'll examine some common types of psychological tests, including projective tests, inventories, and aptitude tests.

What's the best way to score tests? In this lesson, we'll look at two major types of tests that are scored differently from each other: norm-referenced and criterion-referenced tests.

How do you measure psychological traits? In this lesson, we'll look at how psychologists measure traits, including direct and indirect observation. We will also explore why psychological traits are so difficult to measure.

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