• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Questionnaires are regularly used to assess personality. Discuss some of the difficulties associated with this particular type of method.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Questionnaires are regularly used to assess personality. Discuss some of the difficulties associated with this particular type of method. Today, there are many different methods of assessing personality, some of which get used in everyday life in order to gauge someone's personality with the intention of finding out whether someone is compatible with oneself. In psychology, we understand personality and its difficulties, through various research methods, ranging from observations, structured personality tests or questionnaires to projective techniques. The aim of such methods is to assess an individual's behavioural dispositions, whether extrovert or introvert, confident or insecure. However, questionnaires are conceivably the most straightforward and direct way to make an assessment, making them the most popular method of personality research. Nevertheless, their accuracy is often disputed, as there are many difficulties associated with questionnaires. Personality questionnaires were first devised in post-war America (1918) to assess whether soldiers were emotionally disturbed. The structure was basic, requiring only yes/no answers, but these stimulated use of questionnaires in further personality research, first taken up by Allport who initiated the Trait theory. ...read more.

Middle

Questionnaires have been improved beyond the original yes/no answers, but multiple-choice options don't always convey the subject's feelings. Different measures have been introduced to overcome constricted answers, such as using a number scale to rate whether a statement is like oneself or not at all. Open-ended answers obviously have no limitations however this creates long and laborious research that can be criticised for its lack of uniformity. Another difficulty attributed to questionnaires is the tendency to have a response set if the questionnaires are not carefully worded and put together. If there is a recognised pattern where appropriate answers can be identified, the subject may be inclined to respond repetitively, echoing the format of questions and without really thinking. It is therefore essential that questions be phrased differently each time. The most effective way of acquiring concentration from a subject is to form questions using double negatives. For example to start a question with 'It is not uncommon...' adds an element of confusion, thus making the subject think about what the question is really asking. ...read more.

Conclusion

Experimental evidence has supported such criticisms, for example those of Hartshorne and May's studies of 11-14 year olds' cheating. Arguments have been made that people's personalities are so different and complex that any form of questionnaire cannot be accurate, as mental processes are too dynamic to be assessed by any type of questionnaire. Personality therefore should not be simplified into a series of questions and answers, since everyone has an individual personality. Personality questionnaires contain many difficulties for example subjective views are not always reliable and one is susceptible to give socially desirable answers. The very structure of a questionnaire can also create difficulties due to their limiting choice of answers and the potential for a response set. Although these difficulties exist, their validity cannot be undermined within the field of personality, as they often lay the main foundations of theories and stimulate further research. When viewed as neither non-scientific research nor an analytical approach, questionnaires are generally regarded as an acceptable and reliable form of assessing personality. Questionnaires are especially useful when combined with observational and projective personality tests, such as Rorschach's inkblot experiments. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Social Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Social Psychology essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Critically evaluate trait theories of personality.

    Secondly, raters should be very familiar with the person that is being rated. Thirdly, it is wise to have several people observe the behaviour to avoid subjective ratings. Finally it is important, that assessement forms with the most valid available measure of the attributes in question are selected.

  2. self esteem and personality factors

    Eating Behaviors (Vol. 7, pp. 355-361). Trzesniewski, K. H., Robins, R.W., & Roberts, B. W. (n.d.). Personality and Self-Esteem Development Across the Life Span. Retrieved January 2, 2008. From the World Wide Web: http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/labs/robins/lab/self-esteem%20and%20personality%20chapter.pdf Zhang, L. (2006). Thinking styles and the big five personality traits revisited. Personality and Individual Differences (Vol.

  1. psychology methods in staff recruitment

    Whilst conscientiousness is seen as a valid predictor across all professions, factors such as extraversion are best utilised in very specific career paths. The use of assessment centres as a selection technique has been widely researched. Doving (2005) found that 29% of European employers use them as part of their

  2. Genetic and environmental influence in human development.…. Discuss.

    In addition, the depression will increase the likelihood of getting sympathy from others. A criticism of this is that depression often carries on after the sympathy has waned. One of the most notable behavioural explanations for reactive depression is the theory of learned helplessness.

  1. his author will compare and contrast the strengths and weaknesses of the Myers-Briggs, the ...

    These concepts are evaluated with the elements of judging and perceiving in the Myers-Briggs assessment. If a person prefers to make judgments that person relies on factual processes. However, if the person is inclined to perceive things, that person will take time to make a decision and let his or her perceptions guide the action.

  2. This study will establish if first impressions of specific personality traits extroversion, neuroticism, ...

    participants on eight constructs - positive affect, negative affect, neuroticism, extroversion, openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness and intelligence quotient. The results suggested that the longer people were exposed to each other the more accurate the first impression depending on the type of judgement, as the negative affect, openness to experience, neuroticism and

  1. When and why do we rely on stereotypes?

    Eagly (1995) discovered that stereotypes will be used when social roles are unclear, as it helps establish where you stand against another person without having to use any information other than that which is readily available; it is unfeasible to require a conversation with someone at a bus stop in

  2. Personality trait theorists have suggested that there are as few as three or perhaps ...

    and using factor analysis identified traits with relations to other traits and reduced the list to 16 personality trait factors; these factors had opposite extremes, abstractedness is the range of imagination a person has to their groundedness, apprehension is range of guilt being felt to the freeness of guilt, dominance

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work