Section 1: Introduction to Psychology
2: Influence of Research on Psychology
3: Experimental Research
4: Types of Research
Types of Research
What we’ve focused on is called
Experimental Methods, the true experiment. It involves randomized assignment
of subjects, standardized instructions, and at least one IV and one DV.
There are several other types of research that are not as rigorous, but that
you need to be aware of.
Perhaps the simplest form of research is
Observing behavior in their natural
Often involves counting behaviors, such as
number of aggressive acts, number of smiles, etc.
Advantages: Behavior is naturally occurring
and is not manipulated by a researcher and it can provide more qualitative
data as opposed to merely quantitative information.
Limitations: Even the presence of someone
observing can cause those being observed to alter their behavior.
Researcher’s beliefs can also alter their observations. And, it is very
difficult to coordinate multiple observers since observed behaviors must
be operationally defined (e.g. what constitutes an aggressive act)
Following a single case, typically over an
extended period of time
Can involve naturalistic observations,
and include psychological testing, interviews, interviews with others, and
the application of a treatment or observation
Advantages: Can gather extensive information,
both qualitative and quantitative and it can be helpful in better
understanding rare cases or very specific interventions
Limitations: Only one case is involved,
severely limiting the generalization to the rest of the population. Can be
very time consuming and can involve other problems specific to the
techniques used, including researcher bias.
Everyone has probably heard of this and many
of you have been involved in research involving surveys. They are often used
in the news, especially to gather viewer opinions such as during a race for
Advantages: Can gather large amounts
of information in a relatively short time, especially now with many surveys
being conducted on the internet.
data is based solely on subjects’ responses which
can be inaccurate due to outright lying, misunderstanding
of the question, placebo effect, and even the
manner in which the question is asked.
Correlation means relationship, so the
purpose of a correlational
study is to determine if a relationship exists,
what direction the relationship is, and how strong it is.
Can assess the strength of a relationship. Is popular with lay
population because it is relatively easy to explain and understand.
Limitations: Can not make any
assumptions of cause and effect (explain how third a variable can be involved,
or how the variables can influence each other).
Utilizing testing to gather information about
a group or an individual
Advantages: Most tests are normed and
standardized, which means they have very reliable and valid results. Popular
with businesses looking for data on employees and with difficult or specific
Limitations: Tests which are not rigorously
normed and standardized can easily result in inaccurate results.