The Basic Types Of Research Methods Used In Psychology
Psychology is an extremely wide field made up of a variety of areas. It is therefore unsurprising that psychology research is conducted in a number of ways. This article will briefly outline some of the basic types of methods used in psychology research of all types, and also present some examples of these methods.
Types Of Research Methods According To Nature Of The Study
Types of the research methods according to the nature of research can be divided into two groups: descriptive and analytical. Descriptive research usually involves surveys and studies that aim to identify the facts. In other words, descriptive research mainly deals with the description of the state of affairs as it is at present, and there is no control over variables in descriptive research.
Analytical research, on the other hand, is fundamentally different in a way that the researcher has to use facts or information already available and analyse these in order to make a critical evaluation of the material.
Descriptive Research: Assessing The Current State Of Affairs
Descriptive research is designed to create a snapshot of the current thoughts, feelings, or behaviour of individuals. This section reviews three types of descriptive research: case studies, surveys, and naturalistic observation .
Sometimes the data in a descriptive research project are based on only a small set of individuals, often only one person or a single small group. These research designs are known as case studies descriptive records of one or more individuals experiences and behaviour. Sometimes case studies involve ordinary individuals, as when developmental psychologist Jean Piaget used his observation of his own children to develop his stage theory of cognitive development. More frequently, case studies are conducted on individuals who have unusual or abnormal experiences or characteristics or who find themselves in particularly difficult or stressful situations. The assumption is that by carefully studying individuals who are socially marginal, who are experiencing unusual situations, or who are going through a difficult phase in their lives, we can learn something about human nature.
A final measure of central tendency, known as the mode, represents the value that occurs most frequently in the distribution. You can see from Figure 3.6 that the mode for the family income variable is $93,000 .
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Correlational Relationships Between Variables
A correlation is the measurement of the relationship between two variables. These variables already occur in the group or population and are not controlled by the experimenter.
- A positive correlation is a direct relationship where, as the amount of one variable increases, the amount of a second variable also increases.
- In a negative correlation, as the amount of one variable goes up, the levels of another variable go down.
- In both types of correlation, there is no evidence or proof that changes in one variable cause changes in the other variable. A correlation simply indicates that there is a relationship between the two variables.
The most important concept is that correlation does not equal causation. Many popular media sources make the mistake of assuming that simply because two variables are related, a causal relationship exists.
Evaluation Of Teaching Method
Let us consider an academic institution that wants to evaluate the teaching method of 2 teachers to determine which is best. Imagine a case whereby the students assigned to each teacher is carefully selected probably due to personal request by parents or due to stubbornness and smartness.
This is a no equivalent group design example because the samples are not equal. By evaluating the effectiveness of each teacher’s teaching method this way, we may conclude after a post-test has been carried out.
However, this may be influenced by factors like the natural sweetness of a student. For example, a very smart student will grab more easily than his or her peers irrespective of the method of teaching.
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General Classification Of Types Of Research Methods
Quantitative research describes, infers, and resolves problems using numbers. Emphasis is placed on the collection of numerical data, the summary of those data and the drawing of inferences from the data.
Qualitative research, on the other hand, is based on words, feelings, emotions, sounds and other non-numerical and unquantifiable elements. It has been noted that information is considered qualitative in nature if it cannot be analysed by means of mathematical techniques. This characteristic may also mean that an incident does not take place often enough to allow reliable data to be collected
Types Of Research Methods According To Research Design
On the basis of research design the types of research methods can be divided into two groups exploratory and conclusive. Exploratory studies only aim to explore the research area and they do not attempt to offer final and conclusive answers to research questions. Conclusive studies, on the contrary, aim to provide final and conclusive answers to research questions.
Table below illustrates the main differences between exploratory and conclusive research designs:
|Findings might be topic specific and might not have much relevance outside of researchers domain||Findings are significant as they have a theoretical or applied implication|
Main differences between exploratory and conclusive research
My e-book,;The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Dissertation in Business Studies: a step by step assistance;contains discussions of research types and application of research methods in practice. The e-book also explains all stages of the;research process;starting from the;selection of the research area;to writing personal reflection. Important elements of dissertations such as;research philosophy,;research approach,;research design,;methods of data collection;and;data analysis, sampling and others;are explained in this e-book in simple words.
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Ethics In Social Psychological Research
For better or worse , when we think about the most unethical studies in psychology, we think about social psychology. Imagine, for example, encouraging people to deliver what they believe to be a dangerous electric shock to a stranger . This is considered a classic study in social psychology. Or, how about having students play the role of prison guards, deliberately and sadistically abusing other students in the role of prison inmates. Yep, social psychology too. Of course, both Stanley Milgrams experiments on obedience to authority and the Stanford prison study would be considered unethical by todays standards, which have progressed with our understanding of the field. Today, we follow a series of guidelines and receive prior approval from our institutional research boards before beginning such experiments. Among the most important principles are the following:
Studies Using The Delphi Method
The Delphi method was developed in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s in the military domain. It has been considered particularly useful in helping researchers determine the range of opinions which exist on a particular subject, in investigating issues of policy or clinical relevance and in trying to come to a consensus on controversial issues. The objectives can be roughly divided into those which aim to measure diversity and those which aim to reach consensus.
Different ways to employ this method have been devised but they tend to share common features, namely a series of rounds in which the participants generate ideas or identify salient issues, comment on a questionnaire and re-evaluate their original responses. After each round, a facilitator provides an anonymous summary of the forecasts/opinions made by the experts and of their reasons.
There is no limit to the number of panellists involved but between 10 and 50 might be considered manageable. The panellists are chosen on the basis of their expertise which could take many forms .
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Key Words And Concepts
Alpha level: The level of risk for making Type I errors within Null Hypothesis Significance Testing
Anonymity: The degree to which participants identifying information is disassociated from their study data
Applied research: Applied research questions tend to focus on a specific problem. They typically emphasize predicting or influencing an outcome rather than in understanding why that outcome is predicted or influenced by a given factor
Basic research: Basic research is aimed at formulating and testing fundamental psychological principles governing a domain of interest
Between-participant design: This research design examines causal relationships by randomly assigning people to only one of two or more conditions and examining differences emerging between the groups
Confederate: Someone who appears to be a participant in a research study to other participants, but who is actually part of the research team playing a role to create desired research conditions
Confidentiality: Whether researchers keep participants identifying information to themselves
Confirmatory research: When the researcher specifies and tests what factors are likely to cause an effect, and perhaps even when and why such factors have their effects
Constructs: Those elements in a study thought to vary across people and/or situations.
Construct validity: The degree to which a measure specifically and sensitively captures its intended construct
Ordinal scales: Scales that provide a rank ordering of the data
Focus Groups And Case Studies
In a focus group, researchers gather participants together and ask questions of the group. Researchers might observe a focus group and take notes on the session, or they can operate as the group’s facilitator. As with interviews, researchers can record focus groups for further review and analysis.
In a case study, researchers study one central case of a person or a small group. Researchers might also make a case study of data from previous focus groups. Some researchers use the words “focus group” or “case study” interchangeably when studying a small group. Both focus groups and case studies are qualitative research methods, recording information rather than numerical data.
Researchers can hold focus groups and case studies on many topics, including public health, food preferences or even entertainment options. Researchers might want to use this method if they are looking for a very descriptive dataset to examine. However, you might not want to use a focus group or a case study if you need a broader scope of data to analyze.
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Administering Exams After The End Of Semester
During the semester, students in a class are lectured on particular courses and an exam is administered at the end of the semester. In this case, the students are the subjects or dependent variables while the lectures are the independent variables treated on the subjects.
Only one group of carefully selected subjects are considered in this research, making it a pre-experimental research design example. We will also notice that tests are only carried out at the end of the semester, and not at the beginning.
Further making it easy for us to conclude that it is a one-shot case study research.;
Types Of Research Methods According To The Purpose Of The Study
According to the purpose of the study, types of research methods can be divided into two categories:;applied research;and;fundamental research. Applied research is also referred to as an action research, and the fundamental research is sometimes called basic or pure research. The table below summarizes the main differences between applied research and fundamental research. Similarities between applied and fundamental research relate to the adoption of a systematic and scientific procedure to conduct the study.
§;; Assumes that other variables do not change
§;; Reports are compiled in a language of technical language of discipline
|§;; Aims to solve a problem by adding to the field of application of a discipline
§;; Often several disciplines work together for solving the problem
§;; Often researches individual cases without the aim to generalise
§;; Aims to say how things can be changed
§;; Acknowledges that other variables are constant by changing
§;; Reports are compiled in a common language
Differences between applied and fundamental research
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What Are Research Methods
Research methods are processes used to collect data. You can use this data to analyze current methods or procedures and to find additional information on a topic. Professionals use research methods while studying medicine, human behavior and other scholarly topics. There are two main categories of research methods: qualitative research methods and quantitative research methods.
Quantitative research methods involve using numbers to measure data. Researchers can use statistical analysis to find connections and meaning in the data. Qualitative research methods involve exploring information and non-numerical data. These research methods also examine how people might connect meaning to their experiences and emotions.
Relational Or Correlational Research
A study that investigates the connection between two or more variables is considered relational research.The variables that are compared are generally already present in the group or population. For example, a study that looks at the proportion of males and females that would purchase either a classical CD or a jazz CD would be studying the relationship between gender and music preference.
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What Is Correlation Method In Psychology
The correlational method involves looking for relationships between variables. For example, a researcher might be interested in knowing if users privacy settings in a social networking application are related to their personality, IQ, level of education, employment status, age, gender, income, and so on.
Data Collection And Analysis In Qualitative Research
Another approach to data collection in qualitative research is participant observation. In;participant;observation, researchers become active participants in the group or situation they are studying. The data they collect can include interviews , their own notes based on their observations and interactions, documents, photographs, and other artifacts. The basic rationale for participant observation is that there may be important information that is only accessible to, or can be interpreted only by, someone who is an active participant in the group or situation. An example of participant observation comes from a study by sociologist Amy Wilkins on a university-based religious organization that emphasized how happy its members were . Wilkins spent 12 months attending and participating in the groups meetings and social events, and she interviewed several group members. In her study, Wilkins identified several ways in which the group enforced happinessfor example, by continually talking about happiness, discouraging the expression of negative emotions, and using happiness as a way to distinguish themselves from other groups.
Types Of Psychology Research
- Describe the different research methods used by psychologists
- Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of case studies, naturalistic observation, surveys, and archival research
- Compare longitudinal and cross-sectional approaches to research
There are many research methods available to psychologists in their efforts to understand, describe, and explain behavior and the cognitive and biological processes that underlie it. Some methods rely on observational techniques. Other approaches involve interactions between the researcher and the individuals who are being studiedranging from a series of simple questions to extensive, in-depth interviewsto well-controlled experiments.
Correlational research can find a relationship between two variables, but the only way a researcher can claim that the relationship between the variables is cause and effect is to perform an experiment. In experimental research, which will be discussed later in this chapter, there is a tremendous amount of control over variables of interest. While this is a powerful approach, experiments are often conducted in very artificial settings. This calls into question the validity of experimental findings with regard to how they would apply in real-world settings. In addition, many of the questions that psychologists would like to answer cannot be pursued through experimental research because of ethical concerns.
Challenges Associated With Conducting Developmental Research
The previous sections describe research tools to assess development in infancy and early childhood, as well as the ways that research designs can be used to track age-related changes and development over time. Before you begin conducting developmental research, however, you must also be aware that testing infants and children comes with its own unique set of challenges. In the final section of this module, we review some of the main issues that are encountered when conducting research with the youngest of human participants. In particular, we focus our discussion on ethical concerns, recruitment issues, and participant attrition.
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Why Use Experimental Research Design
Experimental research design can be majorly used in physical sciences, social sciences, education, and psychology. It is used to make predictions and draw conclusions on a subject matter.;
Some uses of experimental research design are highlighted below.
- Medicine: Experimental research is used to provide the proper treatment for diseases. In most cases, rather than directly using patients as the research subject, researchers take a sample of the bacteria from the patient’s body and are treated with the developed antibacterial
The changes observed during this period are recorded and evaluated to determine its effectiveness. This process can be carried out using different experimental research methods.
- Education: Asides from science subjects like Chemistry and Physics which involves teaching students how to perform experimental research, it can also be used in improving the standard of an academic institution. This includes testing students’ knowledge on different topics, coming up with better teaching methods, and the implementation of other programs that will aid student learning.
- Human Behavior: Social scientists are the ones who mostly use experimental research to test human behaviour. For example, consider 2 people randomly chosen to be the subject of the social interaction research where one person is placed in a room without human interaction for 1 year.