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|Method||Primary Feature||Main Advantages||Main Disadvantages|
|Case Studies||An individual, group, or event is examined in detail, often using several techniques (Ex. Observation, interview, psychological test)||Provides rich descriptive info, often suggesting hypotheses for further study. Can study rare phenomena in depth||Poor method for establishing cause-effect relations. The person or event may not be representative. Often relies heavily on the researcher’s subjective interpretations|
|Naturalistic Observation||Behaviour is observed in the setting in which it naturally occurs||Can provide detailed info about the nature, frequency, and context of naturally occurring behaviours||Poor method for establishing cause-effect relations. Observer’s presence, if known, may influence participants’ behaviour|
|Surveys||Questions or tests are administered to a sample drawn from a larger population||A properly selected, representative sample typically yields accurate info about the broader population||Unrepresentative samples can provide misleading info about the population. Interviewer bias and social desirability bias can distort findings|
|Correlational Studies||Variables are measured and the strength of the association between them is calculated. Naturalistic observation and surveys also are often used to examine associations between variables||Correlation allows prediction. May help establish how well findings from experiments generalize to more natural settings. Can examine issues that cannot be studied ethically or practically in experiments||Correlation does not imply causation, due to bidirectional causality problem (possible that X caused Y, Y caused X, or both influenced each other) and third variable problem (X may have been caused by Z)|
|Experiments||Independent variables are manipulated and their effects on dependent variables are measured||Optimal method for examining cause-effect relations. Ability to control extraneous factors helps rule out alternative explanations||Confounding of variables (cannot tell which it is). variable influenced the dep. variable), demand characteristics (cues), placebo effects (expectations), and experimenter expectancies can threaten the validity of causal conclusions|
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