It’s blindingly obvious that students will learn things better if we model them first (see Rosenshine, 2012) and most of us are in the habit of modelling all sorts of things, including the sorts of thinking and writing skills that Psychology requires. However, with the recently increased emphasis on practical skills at A – Level (in Edexcel’s specification, anyway) I’ve found myself planning for lots of practical work and it occurred to me that I’ve never modelled the whole process of a practical investigation for my students. Bits of it, yes, but not the whole thing. On reflection, that strikes me as a bit of an oversight. Here is an attempt to put that right. The aims are twofold: (1) to show, all in one, the steps involved in carrying out a practical investigation so that students have an overview of what they will need to do and how it all fits together; and (2) model good research practices and set appropriate expectations about ethical conduct during research. It is based around a practical investigation that can be done in 45-60 minutes depending on the size of the group. It’s a correlational study of the relationship between D2:D4 digit ratio and aggression. There’s a lesson plan, a slideshow, a PBAQ-SF questionnaire for measuring aggression an Excel spreadsheet for analysing the results and a sheet for students to record their observations during the demo. I’ve also written an example report, which is pitched for students studying the Edexcel specification (users of other specifications YMMV).
Rosenshine, B. (2012). Principles of instruction: research-based strategies that all teachers should know. American Educator, Spring 2012.