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Transcript of PSY367 4
List the three types of research methods used in the study of work stress.
types of research methods used in studying work stress include:
Contrast and compare the strengths and weaknesses of experimental research designs and correlational research designs.
Cite two frequent criticisms of the qualitative research method, and state a defence against these two criticisms.
Explain the two types of reliability indices,
i.e., test-retest reliability and internal consistency reliability
Explain the four types of validity,
i.e., concurrent, predictive, construct and discriminant validity.
– researcher takes on a “professional stranger” to observe the goings-on
Qualitative methods are an important complement to experimental and correlational methods
NOTE: Both these methods have methodological strengths and weaknesses.
Explain the three ways in which a qualitative research design may complement a quantitative research design.
List the three approaches taken by researchers in the measurement of stress
1. Cases are valuable because they can
For example, when existing theory and quantitative research show that A always causes B, and
you find a case where A does not cause B,
then it indicates that existing theory and quantitative research are lacking in some way, and
you would be well justified to carry out further research to discover why.
2. Cases are valuable especially when there is
little existing theory to explain
Cases allow us to derive theory using an inductive approach.
In this way, theory is not merely thought up using logic, but is also grounded in empirical observations.
This reduces the chances of developing an invalid theory.
3. Cases are valuable as a
of an already existing theory
i.e., cases are used to support an existing theory
Used for measures of psychological phenomena that do not change over time
Since people’s personalities do not change much, people’s responses to the same item should not differ much over time (e.g., two weeks).
If they do change, then the item is prone to too much random error.
Internal consistency reliability
Used for measures of stress that are expected to change over time
This refers to how consistent a set of items are with each other.
For example, if we measure three times the same item in the same questionnaire, e.g., “I am generally optimistic”.
We should expect that everyone will answer exactly the same way to the question all three times.
This set of three items is likely to have perfect consistency (or reliability).
One way of assessing validity is to see whether the measure has high correlations with another established measure that measures the same thing.
For example, if you developed a new IQ test, you would go about testing concurrent validity in the following way.
First, you get a group of people to do your IQ test and another established, valid IQ test.
Next, you would compute the correlations between the people’s scores on both tests.
If the correlations are high, then your IQ test has concurrent validity.
If the correlations are low, then your IQ test does not measure the same thing as the more established IQ test, and you cannot claim that it is a valid measure of IQ.
Another way of assessing validity is to see if the measures predict phenomena that they are expected to predict.
For example, if your IQ test had predictive validity, one would expect that high scores on your IQ test would predict high scores in school exams many years later, controlling for variables such as motivation and good health.
Together, tests of reliability, concurrent validity and predictive validity demonstrate the construct validity of a measure.
Construct validity is of utmost importance in stress research, as it is in all psychology research where one deals with realities that have no physical substance.
The only way to study such realities is to study the constructs that operationalise the intangible concepts that we all understand, know are there, but can neither see nor touch them.
Stress exists but we cannot trap it in a glass jar to study it.
We can however, describe it in greater practical definition (i.e., operationalise it).
This test of validity assesses whether the measures are sufficiently different from measures from which they are meant to be different.
For example, measures of IQ should have very low correlations with measures of EQ.
NOTE: The above tests of validity do not apply to qualitative research methods.
Past Exam Questions
(a) How do quantitative research methods contribute to the study of work stress?
(b) How do qualitative research methods contribute to the study of work stress?
(a) Explain the 4 types of validity. Give examples of each.
(a) Provide a positive critique of the qualitative approach in research on work stress.
(Required: 1. Formulate four strengths of the qualitative research approach. 2. Use an academic research paper on work stress that you are familiar with to illustrate these four strengths)
(a) Define validity. How do researchers decide whether a measure is valid?
(b) Can a set of survey items be reliable but not valid? Give an example to explain why.
The medical research approach
Medical technicians capture and collate health data relevant to the body’s immediate and long-term stress response.
Doctors analyse the data and diagnose.
Self-report measures are collected from subjects.
These measures can also encompass medical history, laboratory reports and medical test reports.
However, what is distinctive about this approach is that psychological measures such as the perception of stress and stressors are also used.
There are some challenges associated with using psychological measures.
Psychological measures need to be properly validated using a range of statistical procedures to ensure that they are robust enough to be included in a study.
The occupational epidemiology approach
This approach is not widespread.
It measures objective environmental factors such as toxins and decreased safety training, and relates them to health outcomes, e.g., eye injuries.