Examine and Assess the Advantages of Three Different Methods Used in Psychological Research

Topics: Psychology, Research, Scientific method Pages: 5 (1710 words) Published: March 7, 2012
Examine and assess the advantages of three different methods used in psychological research

Psychological research has many advantages within society, helping us to better understand many different aspects of the world around us; this essay will be looking at three different research methods to ascertain the advantages of using methods within psychology. First of all we will identify which methods we are going to examine then we will assess the advantages of using these methods through the eyes of the relevant psychologist against their individual studies but first let’s distinguish what is meant by the term research method. Methods are used within a psychological study to help determine the hypotheses of the psychologist, or can be used to help better understand life’s issues such as personality, human behaviour etcetera.

One form of Psychological research used is questionnaires; Adorno et al. chose this method to study a specific kind of personality namely the Authoritarian personality. Psychologists need reasonably accurate methods to measure different aspects of the personality, subsequently Adorno devised what was known as a scale, this scale helped to measure aspects of a person’s personality. A scale in psychological research refers to a set of items, statements that participants are asked to reply to, every individual entry on the scale is connected in meaning and together they join, adding up to a bigger picture. Once establishing this form of measurement; Adorno developed what was known as the F-scale this became crucial to his studies. These scales were presented in the form of a questionnaire, circulated to over 2000 people, as you can see questioners have a great advantage of being able to reach lots of people quickly. (McAvoy 2010)

However the authoritarian personality study has had an incredible impact since being published in the 50s not always positive though, nevertheless one main idea to come from his F-scale study is what is known as the acquiescence response bias this being were participants can show a preference to agree with the questions presented to them on the questionnaire, despite the topic. People can tend to just go along with the thoughts expressed in the questionnaire. Today questionnaires are constructed in such away as not to allow this, thus making the results more valid. The work of Bernard Bass had a great impact of helping us to identify the advantages of this, he included a mix of positive and reverse statements to the f-scale thus indicating participants are thinking about there responses rather than just going along.

However another study carried out with questionnaires based on the time spent surfing the web and deppresion by Morrison and Gore (Brace & Byford 2010), was again sent to a large number of people (1319) it was suggested that 18 of them was found to be addicted to the internet, and the majority of these addicts were suffering with depression. They were given a number of different sets of questions, through comparing the different sets of questions researchers could identify possible links to internet us and depression. However we must be careful of the conclusions developed through questionnaire-based studies, as we have what is known as causality, which refers to the chicken and egg syndrome as in the study above are depressed people drawn to the web or does the web cause depression.

Nevertheless the advantages for this method of study can outway the disadvantages, questionnaires permit researchers to study vast numbers of people quickly and methodically, also the questions can be offered in the same way to everyone. Thus allowing through a complex analysis of the questions a numerical score to be achieved, then for this numerical data to be narrowed down to a single digit, therefore transforming peoples answers into a number, making it possible to compare the score with other scores. Thus turning quantitative data into qualitative data, another method...
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