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Advantages and Disadvantages of Research Methods

Second Unit in AP Psychology; looking at what science is, the research methods used in psychology, and statistical methods in psychology.

greg miller

on 20 October 2014

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Transcript of Advantages and Disadvantages of Research Methods

Types of Research Methods
1. Naturalistic Observation

- watching / recording in natural environment

Advantages? Disadvantages?
2. Case Study

in depth observation / study of a person, animal, business, school, etc
(sample size = 1)

Adv. + Dis. ?

- real environment, more real life than lab
- can study things that would be unethical in a lab - e.g. the effects of prison on motivation
- good for unusual or rare cases (e.g. you can't find 100 people with that kind of brain injury or life experience)

- very limited application to other situations (low generalizability)
3. Survey

Asking questions of people to gather information. Written or spoken.

Adv. + Dis. ?
- great for collecting LOTS of information quickly. Cheap to do.

- People might not tell the truth
- Can be hard to design, ask right questions
- no help with causation
4. Correlation Studies

Measuring statistics to see if they change together / if they're related

Adv. + Dis. ?
- Can help find possible causes, but... is only the first step.

- no help with causation
Correlation DOES NOT EQUAL Causation.
Academic Achievement -> Self-esteem?

Self-esteem -> Academic Achievement?

Achievement <--- Genetics ---> Self-esteem?
Shark Attacks + Ice Cream Sales.
-1 to +1
6. Laboratory Study/Experiment

Changing only one variable to see if the other changes as a result. Usually testing for a difference between two groups, with only ONE difference between them. To find CAUSES.

Adv. + Dis. ?
- Only way to determine causes
-Strong conclusions possible if designed carefully

- Sometimes impossible to do: practically or ethically (smoking)
- hard to control confounding variables
Validity - does your measurement tool measure what you want it to?

Reliability - does your measurement tool show the same results if used again and again?

- can't control for outside (confounding) variables
-people might act different b/c of observer - also might "conform"
-different observers may draw different conclusions
5. Field Study- An Experiment done in
a natural setting- GE Field Study
Advantages- Subjects act naturally but the variables
are being controlled, unlike an observation.
Disadvantages- Expensive- can't control all the variables
7. Interview: Listening and recording the thought and or feelings of a subject.
Advantages: This allows for more in depth, personal

Psychologist can ask follow up questions to learn more about the subject.
Disadvantages: Difficult to know if the subject
is truthful.

Very time consuming.

Not a very large sample size usually.
8. Psychological Test: a formalized
procedure for the purpose of determining
intelligence, personality or job aptitude.
advantages: systematic and doesn't rely
on introspection. Can be measured and compared
to norms.

disadvantages: It is only a comparison to
others. example: (IQ tests are norm-referenced tests, because their goal is to see which test taker is more intelligent than the other test takers).

Sometimes difficult to judge the validity of the test- does it measure what it is supposed to measure- is IQ really "intelligence"?
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