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Sweetening Research Methods

Year 12 Psychology students use M&Ms to demonstrate sampling methods and experimental allocation

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As a Year 12 Psychology student, conducting meaningful and valid experiments requires a thorough understanding of research methods. Sampling methods and experimental allocation are two critical components of research methods that must be understood to conduct accurate and reliable experiments. To refresh their knowledge of these concepts, Psychology students are turning to a fun and interactive tool: M&Ms!

Sampling Methods

Sampling methods involve selecting a subset of individuals from a larger population to participate in a study. There are several different sampling methods, including random sampling, stratified sampling, and convenience sampling.

To demonstrate these sampling methods using M&Ms, students start by taking a large bag of M&Ms and pouring them out onto a table. This represents the population. Next, students use different methods to select a subset of M&Ms to represent their sample.

Random Sampling: This method involves selecting individuals at random from the population. To demonstrate this, students can close their eyes and randomly select a handful of M&Ms from the bag.

Stratified Sampling: This method involves dividing the population into subgroups based on specific characteristics and then selecting individuals from each subgroup. For example, students can divide the M&Ms by color and select a certain number of M&Ms from each color group.

Convenience Sampling: This method involves selecting individuals who are easily accessible or readily available. To demonstrate this, students can simply take the M&Ms that are closest to them or the ones that are easiest to reach.

Experimental Allocation

Experimental allocation refers to the process of assigning participants to different groups or conditions in an experiment. There are several different types of experimental allocation, including random allocation, matched-pair allocation, and block allocation.

To demonstrate these methods of experimental allocation using M&Ms, students can assign different colors of M&Ms to represent different groups or conditions in an experiment. For example, red M&Ms could represent the control group, while blue M&Ms could represent the experimental group.

Random Allocation: This method involves randomly assigning participants to different groups or conditions. To demonstrate this, students can close their eyes and randomly assign M&Ms of different colors to different groups.

Matched-Pair Allocation: This method involves pairing participants based on certain characteristics and then assigning each pair to different groups or conditions. To demonstrate this, students can pair M&Ms of the same color and then assign one M&M from each pair to the control group and the other to the experimental group.

Block Allocation: This method involves grouping participants based on certain characteristics and then assigning each group to different groups or conditions. To demonstrate this, students can group the M&Ms by color and then assign each color group to a different group or condition.

Using M&Ms to demonstrate sampling methods and experimental allocation is a fun and interactive way for Year 12 Psychology students to refresh their knowledge of research methods. By understanding these concepts, students will be better equipped to conduct meaningful and reliable experiments in their future studies.

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