Contents. Research Methods Planning Research The Experimental Method Advantages and Disadvantages Questioning Advantages and Disadvantages The Observational Method Advantages and Disadvantages Case Studies Advantages and Disadvantages Correlation Advantages and Disadvantages Summary.
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Psychologists carry out research using a number of techniques.
1) The Experimental Method
3) The Observational Method
4) Case Studies
5) Correlational Method
Manipulation of the independent variable under controlled conditions allows cause and effect to be inferred, although there is less control in field experiment.
Easy to replicate due to standardised procedure
More accurate data collected
Data is more objective than other methods.
Experiments are artificial environments which may produce artificial behaviour. Field experiments are less artificial and therefore they are more ecologically valid.
Ethical Problems over deception, consent, invasion of privacy, potential harm etc.Advantages and Disadvantages of the Experimental Method
There are many questioning techniques. Psychologists use both interviews and questionnaires.
Questionnaires conditions allows cause and effect to be inferred, although there is less control in field experiment.
Questionnaires can be highly structured enabling results to be easily analysed using descriptive statistics.
Easy to analyse and quantify
Easy to replicate
Easy to administer
Very Flexible allowing the researcher to explore interesting things that may arise.
People may give biased answers to create a socially desirable response.
Very Time Consuming
Difficult to analyse and quantify
Potential for participants to give incorrect responses.Advantages and Disadvantages of the Questioning Method
Controlled Observations conditions allows cause and effect to be inferred, although there is less control in field experiment.
More controlled enabling more accurate observations.
Easy to replicate
High in Ecological Validity
This method is often the only appropriate and ethical method.
Validity problems. If the participants know that there behaviour is being observed their behaviour may change. This would mean that their behaviour was unnatural.
Cause and Effect can not be established
Ethical Concerns. Is this an invasion of privacy?Advantages and Disadvantages of the Observational Method
Highly detailed data is collected. conditions allows cause and effect to be inferred, although there is less control in field experiment.
The data is high in Ecological Validity
It is often the only suitable method. E.g. Teaching a Chimpanzee to speak. (Gardner and Gardner 1969)
It is the only suitable method when researching very rare cases. A Case of Multiple Personality. E.g. Thigpen and Cleckley (1954)
It lacks generalisability to the rest of the population due to having a very small and unrepresentative sample.
No cause and effect can be legitimately established.
Very difficult to replicate.
Time Consuming and Expensive
Problems with a participants’ memory distortions when recalling past events
More potential for observer bias due to the subjective nature of the method.Advantages and Disadvantages of the Case Study Method
Precise information about the degree of the relationship can be established by the correlation coefficient.
No manipulation of behaviour is required
Establishing a relationship between the 2 variables may imply that there could a cause and effect relationship. Further experimental research can be conducted to establish cause and effect.
No cause and effect can be established. E.g. There may be a positive correlation between caffeine intake and stress scores, but the correlation does not indicate that caffeine is causing the stress.Advantages and Disadvantages of the Correlation Method