Skip Nav

An Introduction to the Types Of Psychological Research Methods

Learning Objectives

❶Half were from the Southern United States a culture of honor and half were from the Northern United States not a culture of honor; this type of setup constitutes a participant variable of two levels. Interestingly, they found that those who held and tweeted anti-vaccination attitudes were also more likely to tweet about their mistrust of government and beliefs in government conspiracies.

Navigation menu

Research Methods
Laboratory Research
From the SparkNotes Blog

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. Sometimes the task is too hard, and the researcher may get a floor effect, because none of the participants can score at all or can complete the task — all performances are low.

Content analysis is a research tool used to indirectly observe the presence of certain words, images or concepts within the media e. For instance, when we assume that playing video games affects children's grades, we do not take into account the other factors that may be contributing to poor grades, such as family environment, lack of interest in studies, or the inability to retain large chunks of information, leading to poor grades.

Therefore, the cause and relation effect cannot be established with this method. Filling the gap that correlation leaves behind, by conducting experiments we can understand the cause and effect relation between any two variables.

As such, to understand whether it is really the number of hours spent playing video games that is causing poor grades, controlled experiments may be carried out where children are made to play video games for a certain number of hours every day, and their grades are be monitored over a period of days. By taking into consideration this hypothesis, and establishing results to prove whether or not it is true is what is achieved by experimentation.

Experiments are usually carried out among varied groups of subjects or participants. These groups are called treatment groups where participants are being manipulated to study the effects of this manipulation and controlled groups where participants are not manipulated in order to draw a comparison between the controlled and treatment groups. This is perhaps the best method of research as it helps us establish results after carrying out experimentation, unlike the aforementioned methods.

The disadvantage of this method lies in the fact that every variable or factor cannot be controlled and manipulated thereby affecting the final result. Moreover, an experiment can help establish only one cause and effect relationship at a time, because every variable is controlled.

Psychological research is also termed based on the time it takes to carry out research. For instance, these are popular research methods in developmental psychology, specifically known as cross-sectional research and longitudinal research. The former refers to research that is carried out at one point in time where data, variables, and all other necessary elements are available at the same point, whereas longitudinal research is carried out over a period of time where data is gathered over this time and variables are studied thereafter or at the same time.

We can say that one research method may be more accurate than the other, but it cannot be established that any one method is completely accurate. However, results obtained in a majority can help provide conclusive insight into the research. Psychological research and the methods used are vast. This overview should have given you a fair idea of how the process is carried out to obtain results.

Different Fields in Psychology. Controversial Topics in Psychology. Psychology Test Questions and Answers. Psychology Behind Why People Lie.

Theoretical Perspectives of Psychology. Brief History of Psychology. The scientific method usually begins with observing the world around us e. The next step involves generating a specific testable prediction, or hypothesis e. Next, scientists must operationalize the variables they are studying. This means they must figure out a way to define and measure abstract concepts. Clearly described operational definitions also help reveal possible limitations to studies e.

However, in the decades since Triplett discovered social facilitation, a wide range of methods and techniques have been devised, uniquely suited to demystifying the mechanics of how we relate to and influence one another. Moreover, thanks to technological advancements and the growth of social neuroscience , an increasing number of researchers now integrate biological markers e.

A culture of honor is one that emphasizes personal or family reputation. In a series of lab studies, the Cohen research team invited dozens of university students into the lab to see how they responded to aggression. Half were from the Southern United States a culture of honor and half were from the Northern United States not a culture of honor; this type of setup constitutes a participant variable of two levels.

Region of origin was independent variable 1. Participants also provided a saliva sample immediately upon arriving at the lab; they were given a cover story about how their blood sugar levels would be monitored over a series of tasks. The participants completed a brief questionnaire and were then sent down a narrow corridor to drop it off on a table. En route, they encountered a confederate at an open file cabinet who pushed the drawer in to let them pass.

In a manipulation of an independent variable—in this case, the insult—some of the participants were insulted publicly in view of two other confederates pretending to be doing homework while others were insulted privately no one else was around. In a third condition—the control group—participants experienced a modified procedure in which they were not insulted at all.

Although this is a fairly elaborate procedure on its face, what is particularly impressive is the number of dependent variables the researchers were able to measure. Second, upon returning to the lab, participants in all three conditions were told they would later undergo electric shocks as part of a stress test, and were asked how much of a shock they would be willing to receive between 10 volts and volts.

This decision was made in front of two confederates who had already chosen shock levels of 75 and 25 volts, presumably providing an opportunity for participants to publicly demonstrate their toughness. Third, across all conditions, the participants rated the likelihood of a variety of ambiguously provocative scenarios e.

And fourth, in one of the studies, participants provided saliva samples, one right after returning to the lab, and a final one after completing the questionnaire with the ambiguous scenarios. Later, all three saliva samples were tested for levels of cortisol a hormone associated with stress and testosterone a hormone associated with aggression.

Also, only those from the South experienced significant increases in cortisol and testosterone following the insult with no difference between the public and private insult conditions. Finally, no regional differences emerged in the interpretation of the ambiguous scenarios; however, the participants from the South were more likely to choose to receive a greater shock in the presence of the two confederates.

Because social psychology is primarily focused on the social context—groups, families, cultures—researchers commonly leave the laboratory to collect data on life as it is actually lived.

To do so, they use a variation of the laboratory experiment, called a field experiment. A field experiment is similar to a lab experiment except it uses real-world situations, such as people shopping at a grocery store. One of the major differences between field experiments and laboratory experiments is that the people in field experiments do not know they are participating in research, so—in theory—they will act more naturally.

In a classic example from , Alice Isen and Paula Levin wanted to explore the ways emotions affect helping behavior. To investigate this they observed the behavior of people at pay phones I know! Half of the unsuspecting participants determined by random assignment found a dime planted by researchers I know!

Presumably, finding a dime felt surprising and lucky and gave people a small jolt of happiness. Immediately after the unsuspecting participant left the phone booth, a confederate walked by and dropped a stack of papers. Only 1 out 25 of them bothered to help.


Main Topics

Privacy Policy

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.

Privacy FAQs

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, .

About Our Ads

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.

Cookie Info

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.