Psychology IA: a couple of questions

So, our teacher in psychology knows absolutely nothing about IB psychology and IAs, so this forum is my only chance of gaining some information! Anyways, here are some questions that I had about it:

1. For the experiment itself, how much are we allowed to copy? For example, we are replicating Bransford and Johnson (1972). There is a passage there about doing laundry, and we wondered if we could use the original passage that Bransford and Johnson used. Or must we absolutely create our own passage?

2. If somebody has any knowledge about that particular experiment, is okay if we use these two experimental groups: 1. context before passage, and 2. no context ? Is the "no context" group the same as a control group? I was a bit confused here.
also, is it so that for our IAs, we only need 2 experimental groups?

3. Debriefing: does it have to be verbal, or is it possible for us to later send an email to the participants telling them about the nature, purpose, results & conclusions of the experiment? 

That's pretty much it I think, thanks in advance for any replies!
Also, if you have any tips from your own experience with doing the psych IA, I would greatly appreciate if you would also write them here! For example, errors that we should avoid, things that you did wrong and that we should be wary about, etc. ^_^

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I am just about to start my IA too. Since you are taking SL Psychology, you should replicate the exact study. You need to copy everything. therefore, if you do have access to the original passage then you should use it. As for your second question, I'm taking HL psychology, however from what I heard my teacher telling my SL classmates, SL experiments should only have one condition, that is you should have one group. To answer your last question, debriefing should be documented and included within the appendix so it should be written not verbal.

If you are using the Oxford Psychology book, there is a whole section dedicated to explaining the IA for both HL and SL.

Hope this helped and good luck :)


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  1. Basically what @LLLLYYYY said - just do the whole experiment again.  
  2. You'd need some variation of variables for an experiment, so it'd be impossible to really do this study with only one group.  I think that having two groups is OK, but you probably should check with your teacher.  
  3. You should still give it as a verbal bit after you finish your experiment, just in case your teacher checks (and of course to be ethical), but definitely write it in the appendix as part of the script.   

Some tips that I found helpful:

  • Don't worry if your results are really weird - try to figure out why in the discussion, and put some good reasons.  
  • In the discussion, carefully choose the issues and improvements you want to discuss - remember there's a word limit, and you want to discuss the best ones.  
  • Don't cram everything into the appendix - the appendix is only for supplementary information which isn't truly necessary in the main body e.g. script, consent form, information sheet.  
  • Check everything against the criteria, as this is what you're being marked against.  
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