The Biological Level Of Analysis

3541 words - 14 pages

Discuss how and why particular research methods are used at the biological level of analysis

The biological level of analysis argues that there are physiological origins of many behaviours, and that human beings should be studied as biological systems. This is not to say that behaviour is not the result of biological systems alone, but that we should also consider how the environment and cognition may interact with biological systems and affect physiology. This relationship is biderectional i.e. biology can affect cognition and cognition can affect biology.
Research methods are different approaches researchers and psychologists use to conduct their studies. Research methods are important as they provide the method for how researchers will collect and analyse data and also carry out their studies. Five research methods that are commonly used in psychological research are laboratory experiments, correlation studies, animal studies, case studies and brain scanning technologies studies.
While most researchers choose one method to conduct a study, sometimes researchers integrate the use of two or more research methods to investigate the study. This is done as researchers may think it is more effective and fitting in discovering the aims of the experiment. This concept is referred to as methodological triangulation. The advantage of triangulation is that it reinforces the hypothesis from a slightly varied perspective and reduces method-boundness.

At the biological level of analysis, laboratory experiments are experiments researchers use to determine the cause and effect relationship between the independent (IV) and dependent (DV) variables. In laboratory experiments, researchers measure the dependent variable by manipulating the independent variable. Laboratory experiments are often rigorously controlled, as researchers want to control as much variables in the experiment.

Laboratory experiments are used at the biological level of analysis as it allows researchers to have strict control over the variables, which is important as having controlled variables provides researchers with a source point to specify what change (or the absent of change) occurred when the independent variable was modified. If there is no control variable and the researcher manipulates more than one variable, it will be impossible to determine which variable caused the change on the item being tested.
Researchers also choose to use this research method, as laboratory experiments are easy to replicate as researchers determine the experiments conditions using a standardised procedure. This increases reliability as other researchers can easily replicate the experiment and agree/disagree with results.

Disadvantages of laboratory experiments include the low ecological validity. As researchers decide the conditions of these experiments, the experiment is conducted in an artificial environment and aren’t typical to real life. Another limitation to laboratory...

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