Research in Psychology

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Chapter 2 : Research in Psychology

Research in Psychology arrow_upward

  • Research is the systematic process of collecting and analyzing information to increase understanding of the phenomenon under study.
  • Psychologists do studies and research to answer questions about behavior and mental processes, instead of relying on opinions or “common sense”.
  • Research methods in psychology can be placed into the following categories:
    • Observation
    • Case Study
    • Experimentation
    • Correlation
    • Self-report Analysis

    Observation arrow_upward

  • Observation is a research method in which data collection is achieved by watching and recording the activity of people.
  • Observation allows researchers to record actual responses.
  • Observations can be conducted in two ways:
    • Naturalistic Observation
    • Controlled Observation

    Naturalistic Observation

  • Participants are watched in their own environment, i.e. in the place where the activity being observed is usually conducted.

  • Controlled Observation

  • The observation is done under the researcher’s control, where he or she can make changes to the environment.

  • Case Studies arrow_upward

  • Case studies are in-depth investigations of a single person, group, event or community.
  • Case studies provide rich qualitative data and have high levels of ecological validity.

  • Correlation arrow_upward

  • A correlation is a relationship between two measured variables such that a change in one variable is related to a change in the other.
  • Correlations can be:
    • Positive
    • Negative
    • Zero

    Positive Correlation

  • If an increase in one variable tends to be associated with an increase in the other, this is known as a positive correlation.

  • Negative Correlation

  • If an increase in one variable tends to be associated with a decrease in the other, this is known as a negative correlation.

  • Zero Correlation

  • A zero correlation occurs when there is no relationship between variables.

  • Self-Report Methods arrow_upward

  • Self-report is a way to obtain data by asking participants to give information about them.
  • Self-report methods include:
    • Questionnaires
    • Interviews


  • A questionnaire can be thought of as a kind of written interview.
  • They can be carried out face to face, by telephone, or by mail.
  • The researcher’s choice in questions is important because of the need to avoid bias.

  • Interview

  • An interview is a self-report research method which involves asking verbal questions, typically face-to-face.
    • Interviews can be either structured or unstructured.

    Approaches in Psychology arrow_upward

  • An approach is a perspective that involves certain assumptions about human behavior.
  • There are different perspectives within psychology which explain different types of behavior and give different angles:
    • Behavioral Perspective
    • Humanistic Perspective
    • Cognitive Perspective
    • Biological Perspective
    • Psychodynamic Perspective

    Behavioral Perspective arrow_upward

  • Behaviorism is primarily concerned with observable behavior.
  • The behaviorist approach proposes two main processes whereby people learn from their environment:
    • Classical Conditioning, which involves learning by association.
    • Operant Conditioning, which involves learning from the consequences of behavior.

    Humanistic Perspective arrow_upward

  • Humanism is a holistic psychological approach which emphasizes the study of every aspect of an individual.
  • The humanistic perspective centers on the view that each person is unique and has the free will to change at any time in his or her life.

  • Cognitive Perspective arrow_upward

  • Cognitive psychology assumes our behavior is rooted in mental processes, and emphasizes the study of:
    • Perception
    • Attention
    • Language
    • Memory
    • Thought
  • It is an extremely scientific approach and typically uses lab experiments to study human behavior.

  • Biological Perspective arrow_upward

  • The biological approach believes that most behavior is inherited and has an adaptive (or evolutionary) function.
  • Theorists in the biological perspective who study behavioral genomics consider how genes affect behavior.

  • Psychodynamic Perspective arrow_upward

  • The psychodynamic approach includes all the theories in psychology that consider human thought and behavior to result from the interaction of internal drives and forces, particularly those that are unconscious.

  • Thank You from Kimavi arrow_upward

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