Doing Psychological Research: Gathering and Analysing Data

Doing Psychological Research: Gathering and Analysing Data

Doing Psychological Research: Gathering and Analysing Data

Doing Psychological Research: Gathering and Analysing Data


"This is a book that should definitely be considered for many introductory psychology courses that need a factual and accessible exposition of psychological research principles and methods."
Times Higher Education Supplement

"... covers a wider spectrum than many introductory texts on methods in psychology and has a stronger emphasis on qualitative methods than others... it will be particularly attractive to students seeking a lifeline into methods at first year undergraduate level. Nicky Hayes' reputation will strengthen the demand for it, particularly among undergraduates who have already used her texts at 'A' level."
Professor Nigel Lemon, University of Huddersfield

"... there are other research methods textbooks for 'A' level students currently on the market... Nicky Hayes has written a book which renders most of these obsolete. The new 'A' level specifications allow students to venture into areas of research that require different forms of qualitative analysis. These are hardly addressed in competing texts and are given thorough treatment by Nicky Hayes. I admire her ability to offer depth of treatment to complex issues without losing her audience. This is an interactive textbook, and I am pleased to see that every chapter contains worked examples, definitions and activities... I can highly recommend this book."
Mike Stanley, Gordano School, North Somerset, UK

Research methodology is one of the most important and also one of the most difficult aspects of psychology for many students to grasp. This new textbook, written by one of the most experienced and respected writers of psychology textbooks in the UK, provides a comprehensive account of both qualitative and quantitative methods. It does so in the friendly, lucid style which has made Nicky Hayes' other textbooks so popular with students and teachers.

Doing Psychological Research has been carefully written and designed to help students grasp complex concepts and to provide them with a sound methodological 'toolkit' for carrying out their own projects. The book is divided into data-gathering and analytical sections, and covers the main methods used in psychology for each of these purposes. Exercises and activities, worked examples of statistical tests, and self-assessment questions all help to deepen understanding and illustrate the relevance of the material. A full bibliography and index and a useful glossary of terms complete the package.

This is the accessible but comprehensive introductory text which many students and teachers of research methods in psychology have been looking for. It is likely to become essential reading for introductory courses.


Many years ago, as a psychology student, I learned all about operant conditioning, which was very fashionable at the time. I learned how a hungry small rodent in a Skinner box would wander around the box, active because it was hungry, and would eventually press a lever, which would give it a food reward. Gradually, I learned, the animal would come to associate the two events – the pressing of the lever and the receipt of food – at which point it would approach the lever when it was hungry, and begin pressing. It all seemed very straightforward and logical.

In those days it was compulsory for BSc psychology students to undertake some coursework involving animals – not vivisection, but usually some kind of learning experiment. I was rather reluctant to do this, but wasn't able to articulate why: the idea of ethical objections to 'harmless' animal coursework had not yet been voiced, and I only understood later where my own reluctance came from. Eventually, therefore, I found myself in the animal lab with two hamsters, charged with the task of seeing that they obtained their food by means of the Skinner box. The hamsters had previous experience, so didn't have to learn the task from scratch. They had been reduced to four-fifths body weight to make sure they would be hungry, as per the textbook, and my task was to place them in the box, and record how they behaved.

The first hamster, it appeared, had been reading the same books as I had. It explored a bit, and then began pressing the lever, breaking off every now and again to nose into the food box. This rapidly produced the predicted response, and that hamster would hammer away on its lever throughout the experimental session, pausing now and then to eat, then going straight back to pressing its lever. So far, so good. I came away with a nice clear frequency chart, and an even clearer conviction that doing an animal experiment as coursework was just pointless. After all, we knew what was going to happen.

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