Three Psychological Research Methods Essay

1492 words - 6 pages

Methods used in psychological research are used to obtain quantitative or qualitative data. Quantitative data is more often than not derived from methods such as experiments and statistics analysing data using surveys, questionnaires and interviews. Qualitative data tends not to be aimed at finding exact measurements in its findings, but is more concerned with evidence collection and analysis through practices such as observation and ethnography (using observations through involvement in activities over a period of time) (Brownlow 2011).

Psychologists look for explanations for human behaviour; they reach conclusions through research processes which attempt to explain or even predict said behaviour. Researchers strive to obtain facts and discover ‘what’ and ‘why’ with regards to understanding cause and effect and this research may help to understand human cognition and memory. There are many advantages and disadvantages in using particular methods of psychological research but this essay will examine and assess only the advantages of three different methods of research, giving examples.
The first method we will assess is one used by Adorno et al. This quantitative method of collecting data used a questionnaire, which they called the F-scale (F for fascism) (McAvoy 2010). Adorno argued that certain personality traits made individuals prone to be highly prejudicial. There is evidence to support this claim as they also used clinical interviews revealing aspects of individual’s childhoods, such as the fact that they had been brought up by very strict parents, which were found of participants who scored highly on the F-scale and not always found in individuals with a low score. People with authoritarian personalities tended to be obedient of people with high status, opinionated and traditional in their values (McAvoy 2010).

It was concluded that people with authoritarian personalities where likely to see themselves as superior to others. Therefore, the study indicated that individuals with a strict upbringing by pushy parents were most likely to develop an authoritarian personality. It was believed that this was because the individual was not able to express hostility towards their parents (for being strict and critical). Consequently, the person would then displace their hostility to other people, namely those who are in a minority. Adorno et al. concluded that people with authoritarian traits, as identified by the F-Scale, were predisposed to having 'fascistic' characteristics such as ethnocentrism (the tendency to favour one's own ethnic group), respect for authority figures and obsession with power (McAvoy 2010).
This method of collecting data proves that the authoritarian personality exists and the data collected may help to explain why some people are more resistant to changing their prejudiced views. Here, this method of psychological research proves to be reliable to a certain point as the validity of the data collected measures what...

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