Research Methods in Psychology

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When doing studies, psychologists employ a range of approaches. The strategies differ and have characteristics that make them appropriate for a certain scenario or unsuitable for it. Methods for descriptive analysis are a collection of methods used to explain actions or events. They may not authorize researchers to establish behavioral triggers. Case studies, observation (controlled, normal, and participant), and surveys are examples of descriptive testing techniques.

Typically, case studies are a good source of theories and provide detailed information on the people in question. Case studies are, however, restricted since the person does not be representative of the population. Surveys, on the other hand, provide a large amount of information on a large sample.

The weakness of surveys is that respondents may give inaccurate answers. Naturalistic observation allows the researcher to observe behavior in its natural setting and can also generate new research ideas. However, the fact that the observations are conducted on a small scale makes the results unrepresentative of the population. Controlled observation in a laboratory setting can be replicated, provides quantitative data, and is quick to conduct. However, the method can lack validity since participants will change their behavior when they know that they are being watched.

Psychologists could also use experiments in their research. Experiments are controlled and can help a researcher identify cause and effect. A researcher can also distinguish placebo effects from the effects of treatment unlike in the case of descriptive methods. However, since an experiment is artificial, the results may not be generalizable to a population. Tests are also a common research method used by psychologists. Tests provide insightful information regarding aspects such as personality traits, abilities, and attitudes. However, the challenge comes in constructing tests that are both reliable and valid.

In my opinion, psychological experiments are the most applicable method across a variety of situations. This is because despite being applied in describing behavior and events, they can also be used to identify cause and effect. Psychological experiments have actually shaped the field of psychology since its formative years.    

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