Research methods

  • Activities to develop critical thinking
  • How to integrate research methodology
  • Project-based assessments
  • Quizzes on research methodology

 In my own course, I start off with about a five-week introduction to research methods.  I try to make the activities hands-on and give students a foundation in vocabulary that we will use throughout the course.  I then continue to integrate research methods throughout the course - with special "HL sessions" on the theoretical aspects of qualitative research starting in the second year.

Where are students assessed on research methods?

The concept of how psychologists do their research is an essential part of all facets of the IB Psychology curriculum. Here is an outline of where the questions about research may be asked:

Paper 1: Students may be asked to discuss a research method used in a particular approach to studying behaviour - that is, biological, cognitive or sociocultural.

Papers 1 and 2: Students may evaluate the methodology employed in research in order to evaluate studies with regard to the essay prompt.

Paper 3: This paper is HL only. It is focused on both quantitative and qualitative research.

Internal Assessment: Students are required to carry out an experimental study.

This part of the site is dedicated to helping teach about research methodology - both experimental and non-experimental. In addition to teaching support for some of the theory required for Paper 3, you will find activities for skill development and sample work of student projects. 

In the section of this site devoted to external assessment, you will find my own attempts at Paper 3 samples - together with student responses and my own comments to students.

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Comments 4

Emily Britton 10 April 2018 - 09:52

Hi John, in paper 1 could students be asked a question on research methods at the 'topic' level e.g. "discuss a research method used in a studying the brain and behaviour" or is it just at approach level? Discuss a research method used in the biological approach. Thank you.

John Crane 10 April 2018 - 21:19

Dear Emily

Laura has answered this on Facebook for you. We have asked for clarification on this question several times and not received a reply from IB.

Sara Dean 17 May 2018 - 07:06

Hi John,

Could we use the old spec materials for the research methods and ethics questions? For example, students could fully understand two research methods for bio, cog and s-c and then have good studies as evidence for the methods. I feel like this could still apply? Or should I rework my materials for those?



John Crane 18 May 2018 - 05:22

Dear Sara

Yes, they should still apply.