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Tip: Go beyond one sentence explanations of limitations like “ecological validity.” This post explains exactly how to explain limitations of ecological in detail.
In this type of essay, this means explaining how the procedures of a research method are applied in a particular topic (see the example essay for a demonstration of this being done).
To show critical thinking in a research methods essay, it’s important you can explain strengths and limitations of the research method you are writing about.
To quote the official IB FAQs document, “…the different research methods for the study of psychology at this level: case studies, naturalistic observations, interviews, experiments, field experiments, quasi-experiments, natural experiments, correlations studies.” Therefore, make sure the method/s you are writing about is from this list.
Tip: Prepare to write about true experiments and/or correlational studies for Paper 1 and 2.
A far better evaluative point to make is to explain that maybe these results in a controlled environment might not be reflective of what happens in real life, possibly due to the fact that in this scenario there were no consequences for a wrong answer and the level of emotion is much lower than when witnessing real crimes.
These are better points to make because they are focused on a key aspect of the true experiment – the controlled environment.A common weakness in research methods essays is they do not fully address the question by explaining the use of the method in relation to the A good way to check if the answer has applied the explanation to the topic is to read the explanation and see if it could also be true of any topic in IB Psychology.If it’s generic enough so it could be used across multiple topics, then the application needs to be clearer.In research methods essays, however, it’s a little different.Many students make the mistake of explaining what the results show about .Another even easier way to check is to see if the topic or approach is even mentioned at all in the explanation! The key is in the final 1-3 sentences after the results when you make it clear what the results show about the question, i.e.Examiner’s reports always complain that “there’s too much description in essays”. what conclusions are we drawing from those results?These are used in every topic and it simplifies the preparation for this tricky question.Our IB Psychology Revision Textbook follows this approach.For example, if I was writing about Loftus and Palmer’s car crash study to show the use of a true experiment to study cognitive processes, it would not be that relevant to the question to explain a limitation of the study based on the characteristics of the participants (e.g.they had limited driving experience) because this isn’t really linked to the true experimental method.