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As part of their Psychology elective, Year 9 girls visited St Leonards Park to undertake some qualitative and quantitative research. Ms Wenlock, their teacher, set them a task of doing naturalistic observation and surveys across the park – research methods that they will later use in psychological research.
Maddie and Kya of Year 9 did an ‘honesty test’ experiment. They set a Tennis Ball in the centre of the park to see whether people took it, left it, or tried to return it to an owner. They then noted the characteristics of the person: how old they are, what their gender is, and other variables that might contribute to their research.
“We saw one woman take the Tennis ball who had a dog. They played with it, then she took it with her,” Kya said. “Other people looked at the tennis ball, as if wondering ‘should I pick it up, but then left it,” Maddie said. The girls are both studying psychology because they are curious about how the brain works and why people do what they do.
Another group, Ashley and Abigail, took notes on how many people were using the park for exercise – after 15 minutes they had observed there were more males exercising than females. Katie, Isabelle and Grace also observed who was exercising in the park, noting those who were and were not exercising.
Katie, Isabelle and Grace are all interested in Psychology as a career path. Katie is fascinated by Criminology and loves watching crime investigation TV shows. Isabelle is interested in Counselling (“all my friends come to me for counsel,” she says.) And Grace enjoys the scientific elements of psychology, like the experiments.
The girls agreed that their favourite thing about psychology so far has been hearing from the School Counsellors who talked to the girls about their study and research paths.