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Social Sci LibreTexts

Types of Research

  • Page ID
    13568
  • OUTLINE

    Psychological research is divided between three major methods: descriptive, predictive, and explanatory.

    Descriptive Methods:

    1. Observational Methods; the researcher is observing human or animal behavior.

      1. Naturalistic observation; observation occurs in the human/animal’s natural habitat.

      2. Laboratory observation; observation occurs in a contrived and controlled situation.

      3. ADVANTAGES: Allows for flexibility to change what we are studying.

      4. DISADVANTAGES: Lack of control.

        1. More powerful methods typically have a lot of control and little flexibility.

    2. Case Study Method

      1. An in depth study of one or more people. This methods incorporates observational techniques as the aim is to describe the individual(s).

        1. EX: Freud & Piaget

    3. Survey Method

      1. Surveys involve questioning individuals on a topic(s), then describing their responses.

      2. ADVANTAGES: Easier to distribute (can be done in person, on the phone, over email, online, etc.), allows researchers to study larger groups more easily while still being descriptive.

      3. DISADVANTAGES: Is your sample representative of the population? (combat through random sampling.) Are the questions understandable? Do the questions create biases for answers? (*concern on the validity of the survey)

        1. Sample: Group of people who participate in the study

        2. Population: All people that the study is generalizing

    Predictive Methods (Relational Methods)

    1. Correlational Method

      1. Describe behaviors and predict from one variable to another. Correlational method assess the degree of relationship between two measured variables. The prediction is only assessing the RELATIONSHIP between variables, not the cause. The two variables are simply related in someway.

        1. cOrReLaTiOn, nOt CaUsAtIoN

        2. TWO TYPES OF RELATIONSHIPS

          1. Positive: as one variable increases, the second increases.

          2. Negative: as one variable increases, the other decreases.

      2. Regressions

    2. Quasi-experimental Method

      1. Research that compares naturally occurring groups of individuals

    Explanatory Method

    1. Experimental Method