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Psychologists use scientific research methods in order to understand people's feelings, actions and thoughts. There are various ways to conduct research. There are three main research methods, the descriptive, correlational and experimental.

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Introduction

Methods of Research Psychologists use scientific research methods in order to understand people's feelings, actions and thoughts. There are various ways to conduct research. There are three main research methods, the descriptive, correlational and experimental. What sets them apart and what are their similarities? Watching people behave is better known as observation, and in descriptive approach this is the major vehicle for gathering data. The methods used in the descriptive can be: case studies (detailed examination of a person), surveys (asking questions to a sample population) and naturalistic observation (behaviour studied in its natural setting). An example of a survey can be to go out and assemble a group of people that represents the population and ask them how well they sleep and then adapt the results to the main population. ...read more.

Middle

This can be best described with an example; a student with a high pre-exam confidence correlated with following exam success. This means that a person with a high value on one measure (confidence) also scored highly on the other measure (exam grade). Correlation is the degree of relation between pairs of scores. The benefit with the correlational research method is that it allows prediction and that it examines issues that have an ethical cause to them and that otherwise cannot be experimented on. The major difficulty with this approach is that there is a great chance for bi-directional problems: does x affect y or does y affect x? ...read more.

Conclusion

I consider the descriptive approach as the most suitable for investigating behaviour. It has a humane side to it that allows the display of an actual behaviour, not an acted version of it. But on the other hand it does not investigate the source of behaviour that is the key to understand the origins of behaviour. All three approaches are good in their ways, but it depends on what you want to find out from the assessment. There are many differences in these three major approaches in psychological research, but they all have the same purpose, to study behaviour. The way in how this is done is what sets them apart. ...read more.

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