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Research Methods In Psychology

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❶Because the field is so diverse and studies are based primarily on the function and effect of various factors on the human mind, several methods of research have been designed to help us narrow down a study and help draw a conclusion from it. How to Cite This SparkNote.

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Research Methods

In this kind of interview much qualitative data is likely to be collected. Structured formal interviews are like a job interview.

There is a fixed, predetermined set of questions that are put to every participant in the same order and in the same way. The interviewer stays within their role and maintains social distance from the interviewee. Questionnaires can be thought of as a kind of written interview. They can be carried out face to face, by telephone or post. The questions asked can be open ended, allowing flexibility in the respondent's answers, or they can be more tightly structured requiring short answers or a choice of answers from given alternatives.

Covert observations are when the researcher pretends to be an ordinary member of the group and observes in secret. There could be ethical problems or deception and consent with this particular method of observation. Overt observations are when the researcher tells the group he or she is conducting research i. Bandura's Bobo doll study. Here spontaneous behavior is recorded in a natural setting. Here the observer has direct contact with the group of people they are observing.

Non-participant aka "fly on the wall: The researcher does not have direct contact with the people being observed. A pilot study is an initial run-through of the procedures to be used in an investigation; it involves selecting a few people and trying out the study on them.

It is possible to save time, and in some cases, money, by identifying any flaws in the procedures designed by the researcher. A pilot study can help the researcher spot any ambiguities i.

For example, research has shown that alcohol dependence correlates with depression. That is to say, the more alcohol people consume, the more depressed they become. On the other hand, it could be the other way around as well: The attributes of correlations include strength and direction. The direction may be positive both variables both increase or decrease together , negative one variable increases while the other decreases or unrelated a random relationship between variables.

This is so because a third variable could be shown to cause the occurrence of one of the variables. Furthermore, only experiments can prove causation.

Experiments are generally the studies that are the most precise and have the most weight to them due to their conclusive power. They are particularly effective in proving hypotheses about cause and effect relationships between variables. A hypothesis is a prediction of how one variable relates to another.

There are two types of hypotheses, null and directional. The null is a prediction that there will not be any change in the dependent variable when the researcher changes the independent variable. The directional hypothesis states that the change in the independent variable will induce a change in the dependent variable. In a true experiment, all variables are held constant except for the independent variable, which is manipulated. Thus, any changes in the experimental groups can be solely attributed to the action of the independent variable.

This is called being objective. For instance, in an experiment to test whether music improves people's memories, we would have a sheet of paper with ten unrelated words on it for people to memorize. The control group would have no music playing in the background while the experimental group would have some music in the background. Because as researchers we have adhered to the scientific method and held all variables as constant as possible, if the experimental group does report better recollection of words, then we could assume that the music had an effect on memory.

However, we must be certain to do our best to ensure that any controllable differences between the two groups are eliminated in order to ensure that no confounding variable interferes with the experiment.

There are two main ways to pick, or sample the subjects in an experiment, random and stratified. In a random sampling each person has an equal chance at being picked.

If the researcher wanted all religions represented equally he would employ stratified sampling. For instance, the experiment could be performed only on women, or on mixed groups with equal numbers of each sex in them, to eliminate the possibility of biased results from one gender having better average memory than the other.

Steps must be taken to make sure that there is no experimenter bias. Two common forms of bias are demand characteristics and expectancy effects. If a researcher expects certain results from an experiment and influences the subjects response this is called demand characteristics.

If the experimenter inadvertently interprets the information to be as expected in his hypothesis it is called expectancy effect. To counteract experimenter bias the subjects can be kept uninformed on the intentions of the experiment, which is called single blind. If the people collecting the information and the subjects giving it are kept uninformed then it is called a double blind experiment. The experiment should also be reported so that other researchers can repeat it. If an experiment isn't repeatable it will not hold much weight in the scientific community.

To help an experiment be repeatable the researcher should have the variables be measureable, this is called being empirical. Whether researching humans or animals the experiment should be ethical. When humans are the subjects they should be informed of what the study is, consent to being in it, be debriefed afterwards, and their information should also be kept confidential.

Researchers study organisms in their natural environments or habitats without trying to manipulate or control anything. In this method, the researcher observes the behavior under study in its natural setting while attempting to avoid influencing or controlling it. The observations are done in a naturalistic setting without any preparation or participation of the researcher.

Therefore, the behavior is observed in public places, streets, homes, and schools. Observing people from other cultures response in the same setting is a way to provide information for cross-cultural research. This method includes tests , questionnaires , and interviews. All of which do the same thing, give the subject a stimuli, i.

The advantage of using these is the ability to inexpensively and rapidly collect vast amounts of data. This allows a psychologist to compare one person, or a group of peoples results to thousands of others. The disadvantage is that they are not always telling what the subject's response is but what the subject says is the response.

Once the information is gathered it has to be put into some kind of form, usually numerical. Statistics deals with the collection, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of numerical data. The goal of statistics is to summarize the data and let descriptions or inferences be made. Inferences are used when making predictions of the relationships of variables. Descriptions are concise displays, using statistical symbols ,of the information in frequency distributions, measures of central tendency , or measures of variability.

There are agreed upon standard symbols used in statistical displays. These symbols can be used by themselves or in equations. A frequency distribution is obtained by taking the score and splitting them into subgroups. The subgroups are then put on either a histogram bar graph or a frequency polygram line graph. When a frequency distribution has most of the scores on one side of the graph it is considered skewed. If it has most of the scores in the middle with equal amounts on both sides it is considered symmetrical.

In measures of central tendency there is one number that is used to represent a group of numbers.


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This type of experiment is conducted in a well-controlled environment – not necessarily a laboratory – and therefore accurate and objective measurements are possible. The researcher decides where the experiment will take place, at what time, with which participants, in what circumstances and using a standardized procedure.

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A summary of Research Methods in 's Research Methods in Psychology. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of Research Methods in Psychology and what it means. Perfect for acing essays, tests, .

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An Introduction to the Types Of Psychological Research Methods The types of research methods in psychology are diverse, and here we provide you with an overview of the ways in which these methods are utilized. A wide range of research methods are used in psychology. These methods vary by the sources of information that are drawn on, how that information is sampled, and the types of instruments that are used in data collection. Methods also vary by whether they collect qualitative data, quantitative data or both.

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There are three main types of descriptive methods: observational methods, case-study methods and survey methods. Hale, J. (). The 3 Basic Types of Descriptive Research Methods. Psych. Research in humanistic psychology is more typically pursued by ethnographic, historical, and historiographic methods. The testing of different aspects of psychological function is a significant area of contemporary psychology.