Research Methods of Psychology

Topics: Scientific method, Research, Causality Pages: 5 (1095 words) Published: February 21, 2011
Defination of Psychology: The scientific study of behavior and mental processes. Goals:
1. To describe behavior and mental processes
2. To predict behavior and mental processes
3. To allow psychologists and their clients to control or change behavior and mental processes 4. To explain (establish cause and effect relationships concerning) behavior and mental processes. The first three goals (description, prediction, and control) are the easiest to achieve; there are many research methods available that can help psychologists to achieve those goals.  The last goal, establishing cause and effect relationships, can only be achieved by research using the experimental method. Research of Pychology:

* Basic research—explores theories, general scientific understanding (meets first three goals of psychology—describe, explain, and predict) * Applied research—addresses real-world problems (meets fourth goal—change) Research methods: Naturalistic Observation, Case Studies ,Surveys, Correlational Research, Experimental Research. Goals of Psychology | Research Methods |

To Describe | Case Studies, Naturalistic Observation, Survey Research | To Predict | Correlational Research |
To Explain | Experimental Research |
To Control | Often involves many steps in process |

TO CONTROL/CHANGE BEHAVIOR: Often involves many steps in process: >Make observations, develop theory, describe phenomenon.
> Attempt to find variables that are related(correlations) > Use that information to develop experiment.
> From your findings, conclude what may be useful in changing/controlling behavior – application. Naturalistic Observation: Observing and recording the behavior of humans or animals in their natural environment. Advantages:

1. Gives the researcher the opportunity to view the variable of interest in a natural setting. 2. No artificiality of the laboratory
3. May be the only option if lab experimentation is not possible 4. Can offer ideas for further research.
Disadvantages :
1. less control over variables
2. Can be time consuming and expensive
3. cannot imply causality
4. observer bias and subject reactivity
5. target behavior only occurs once
6. people may change behavior if know being observed
SURVEY: A research technique in which questionnaires or interviews are administered to a selected group of people. Advantages:
1. large quantity of information
2. It’s fast, cheap, and easy.
3. More flexible than some other methods.
1. Can be affected by an unrepresentative sample or poor survey questions 2. Some participants try to please the researcher, lie to make themselves look better, or have mistaken memories. Correlational Research: A research technique based on the naturally occurring relationship between two or more variables. Involves measuring behaviors or variables that are already in place. * Could use descriptive methods to get that data.

Then apply correlation
- how much one variable predicts the other.
Advantages :
1. efficient
2. study things that can’t be controlled/manipulated in laboratory 3. description and prediction possible
Disadvantages :
1. no control over variables
2. cannot imply causality
3. Reverse Causality (Cannot determine which variable caused which). 4. The “third variable” problem
(Something other than two variables that were measured accounts for the relationship). Experimental Method: A research technique in which an investigator deliberately manipulates selected events or circumstances and then measures the effects of those manipulations on subsequent behavior. 1. Independent variable:

* The variable that is manipulated by the experimenter to test its effects is called Independent variable. 2. Dependent variable:
* The...
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