EVALUATION ISSUES IN PSYCHOLOGY
The Edexcel Specification expects you to be able to (AO1) know and understand, (AO2) apply, (AO3) analyse and evaluate all the material in the course.
Evaluation means looking at the strengths and weaknesses of research: what features are done well and what features can be improved. It also means making comparisons: looking at how research is similar to or different from other research into the same area.
Notice the reference to "conclusions" in the AO3 definition. Evaluation isn't about making a bunch of unconnected points. It's about building to a conclusion. This is particularly important in the essay questions in the exam, where top band will not be awarded to evaluation that doesn't build to a conclusion.
EVALUATING STUDIES: GRAVE
Edexcel encourages you to use an easy mmemonic when evaluating studies:
GENERALISABILITY means whether the study's sample is truly representative of the target population
RELIABILITY means whether the procedures are consistent enough to be replicated and get the same results again
APPLICATIONS means whether the study is useful in the real world
VALIDITY is whether to the study really tells you about what it is supposed to tell you about
ETHICS means whether the study ensures the wellbeing of its participants and the wider community
The crucial questions you should be asking and answering when evaluating are:
EVALUATING THEORIES: CODA
I find this mnemonic valuable for evaluating theories:
CREDIBILITY means the strengths of a theory: what makes it believable?
OBJECTIONS refers to criticisms of a theory: what counts against it?
DIFFERENCES are how the theory differs from other theoriesd that try to explain the same thing
APPLICATIONS means whether the theory is useful in the real world
The crucial questions you should be asking and answering when evakuating are: