IB Psychology

Resources for the new syllabus

Qualitative Methods

Because SL students are only given 20 hours for research methods and HL students are given 60, we recommend that qualitative methods should be focused on HL students only to prepare them for the Paper Three tests. SL students should focus on common quantitative methods used in the core and options topics to discuss if a question of this nature popped up in the exams.

The following materials are from the current course, but they’ll be updated to reflect the new syllabus soon.


  • Qualitative vs. quantitative data (link)
  • Observation Methods (naturalistic, covert, overt, participant, non-participant)(link)
  • Observation Considerations (e.g. Hawthorne effect, disclosure)(link)
  • Analysing observational data

  • Case Studies (link)
  • Case studies to investigate a problem (link)
  • Generalizability
  • Generalizability of Case Studies
  • Sampling techniques
  • Participant expectations
  • Researcher bias
  • Credibility
  • Triangulation

  • Interview methods
    • semi-structured (link)
    • narrative (link)
    • focus group (link)
  • Interview considerations (e.g. sampling method, data recording, transcription, etc.)(link)
  • Inductive/Thematic Analysis of Interview Data (link)
  • Reflexivity
  • Ethical Considerations
  • Evaluating the qualitative approach
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