Module 4 Psych Soc Strategy - Research Methods

  • Reading psychology passages critically.

    A common type of MCAT passage in the psychology section begins with the introduction of an issue of theoretical or social concern. Next, the passage conceptualizes the issue from a variety of perspectives, and, finally, the passage transitions to the presentation of research findings. The methods are outlined and results presented for one or more studies in graphs and tables. It's important to understand that almost every passage like this is an invitation for you to read the study methods and results critically.

    Most of the questions following the passage will be about the issue, seeing if you have mastered the relevant conceptual vocabulary. Is it a memory study? Is it about personality? About conformity? You already know those questions are coming. You have worked hard and you know the psychology concepts.

    However, there will also be questions about study design. Is it an experiment, a pseudo-experiment, or a longitudinal study? To what degree are the conclusions of the research justified? Are the results significant? Is the study potentially biased? Some topics like cognitive development, working memory, or social conformity are good candidates to be the focus of a passage. Experimental design will rarely be the focus of a passage, but there are experimental design questions going along with almost every passage.

Suggested Assignments

Review the conceptual vocabulary for Research Methods using the illustrated conceptual primer on this site.

Extend practice using the Essential Concepts ANKI Deck to include the Research Methods cards. 

Integrated Course practice items:

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