Writing about research methods and ethical considerations are the toughest topics in IB Psychology exams. This blog post has a couple of tips that will help.

Exam tips for writing about research methods and ethics

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In this blog post I’ve written about how to use the D.E.A.L framework to evaluate and write essays about theories and models in psychology. If you find this helpful, you can also apply the same acronym to writing about research methods and ethics.

Let’s recap what D.E.A.L stands for when writing about theories and studies:

D: Describe the theory/model/study

E: Evidence (studies)

A: Applications

L: Limitations


DEAL with Research Methods

If you use this same acronym but modify the words a little you can use this to write about research methods:

D: Define the method

E: Explain how and why it’s used (link it to the particular topic in the question)

A: Applications (studies – how has it been used in studies)

L: Limitations


DEAL with Ethical Considerations

When we write about ethical considerations, most of the time we’re writing about ethical guidelines (informed consent, anonymity, debriefing, etc.). With this in mind, we can use DEAL for these essays, too.

D: Define the consideration (what is it?)

E: Explain how and why it’s relevant

A: Applications (show how it’s relevant or has been applied in studies)

L: Limitations (what are the limitations to considering ethics in research?)


Exam Tip: Prepare one method and one study for SAQs. For essays, have one method with two studies, and a second method with one study – this way you’re covered if the question is about one or two. True experiments and correlational studies will cover you for every topic in the core and options.

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