Psychology 9990

Research Processes


Research Processes
Research Processes focuses in on some of the key aspects that comprise of psychology and the processes of research

1. Developing an ‘Aim and Hypothesis’

2. Defining, manipulating, measuring and controlling variables

3. Ethical Considerations

4. Participant Selection

5. Data analysis and forming conclusions

6. Evaluating the research

Aims and Hypothesis


An ‘aim’ is what generally tells us the purpose of the investigation or what the study intends to show or discover. They help to explain the reasons that why a particular hypothesis is being investigated, providing clause for ‘why actually’ the study is being carried out.

Perhaps the first step that needs to be taken when designing an experimental (or even a non-experimental study) is decide and establish the aims and hypothesis of the study. Therefore, an aim tells us why a study is being conducted and the hypothesis tells us what the study is about. 


A hypothesis is a ‘testable’ statement that is used to make the research more precise/exact - in essence it is more specific than the aim of a research. This is devised by psychologists so that they’re clear o what they want to ‘prove’ in the given research. 

It should ideally provide more detail about the variables being investigated, should also be ‘falsifiable’ as it is ‘tested’. The main hypothesis can be written in various ways. They also may differ in terms of the nature of predictions/estimation they make about the results and conclusions of an investigation. 

The Types Of Hypothesis:

Non-directional hypothesis:
A non-directional hypothesis (also known as the two-tailed hypothesis) is used to determine the change in the Independent Variable (IV) and Dependent Variable (DV) - it does however not indicate the direction of change i.e whether or not the effect results in an increase or decrease. 

This type of hypothesis is usually chosen if the effect of a certain variable is being used for the first time, there are therefore no previous evidence to suggest what the results might be. 

Conclusively, a non-directional hypothesis in a correlational study predicts that there will exist a relationship between the two measured variables and not the direction.


A hypothesis states that there could be a difference between the levels of concentration of students who study in a well-lit room in contrast to a moderately lit room  - with multiple factors influencing the outcome of the concentration levels (such as levels of brightness growing to be annoying and mental disturbance and consequently low lights serving as a clause for distraction and lack of attention.) - It predicts a condition yes, but not which one will be better at increasing concentration. 

Directional Hypothesis:

When ‘previous evidence’ or ‘previous research’ suggests the direction of an effect (of the IV’s on the DV), it is then when a Directional hypothesis is used.  This is also known as the ‘one-tailed’ hypothesis.

This has different meanings when it comes to an experimental study and a correlational study – in an experiment the ‘best’ condition is to be determined while in a correlation the factor of the correlation being positive or negative stands. 


If we refer to the aforementioned example there might be evidence that a well-lit room determines more linear and focused attention as things are visually clearer. This is a directional prediction and thus the hypothesis might be: Students studying in a well-lit room have higher levels of concentration. It is also possible that a contrasting hypothesis could be tested as a directional hypothesis i.e students studying in a moderately lit room have higher levels of concentration. 

In a correlational study however – If the case of a correlation between the amount of time a child spends consuming electronic media vs analogue, print media and their respective IQ levels. Conventionally, the correlation would be negative as in the more time mindlessly consumed via e-media, the lower the IQ levels. The same could be said about the child consuming too much print media (that would however be conventionally positive as longer attention spans do exist). However, a positive correlation would be the more time a child spends consuming e-media, the higher IQ levels (in the case that the child benefits from technology-based and interactive being spatially intelligent that benefit from both audio and video and negative in the case that the child gets bored quickly looking at redundant rote-structured learning.) It is important to remember that your hypothesis should not say that one factor instigates a change in the other. 

Null Hypothesis: 

This is implied when any difference between the IV and the DV is so insignificant that it is likely to be caused by chance/coincidence.  A null hypothesis is written with this in mind: “There will be no difference in the DV between condition Y and Condition Z or “Any difference in the DV between condition Y and Condition Z is due to chance/coincidence”.  Correlational studies need a null hypothesis because they predict the scenarios of no link or pure chance. 

It is important to note and state both levels of the IV and DV otherwise your null hypothesis will not make any sense. A meaningless null hypothesis would be: “There is no difference between in learning via e-media and learning via print media.”

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