Doing Psychological Research: Gathering and Analysing Data

By Nicky Hayes | Go to book overview

PART I
Gathering data

The aim of this book is to provide a reasonably comprehensive introduction to the basis of psychological research. To this end, it is divided into two parts. Part I is concerned with gathering data, while Part II addresses the way that we go about analysing it.

Part I begins by exploring some of the general issues about data collection, and the way that different approaches to scientific research lead us to collect data in different ways. From there, we will go on to look at different research methods, and at the types of things we need to be careful of when we are carrying them out. We will be looking at experiments, exploring issues of experimental control, variables, field and laboratory experiments. We will also look at observational studies, exploring issues concerned with behavioural sampling and recording, and with different types of observation, such as laboratory and ethological observations, epidemiology, and diary methods.

The section will continue with a look at how questionnaires are used in psychology, exploring the tricky matters of questionnaire design and the effects of different types of questions. This will lead us into psychometrics, where we will look at the process of test construction and the important issues of reliability, validity, and standardisation. Interviewing is another essential research method for modern psychologists, and we will be looking at interview schedules, interviewer effects, and the different types of interview such as structured and rapport interviewing.

Those methods are largely independent of one another; but often, psychologists will use case-study methods to gather data, applying several different techniques to understanding one particular case. This leads us into the process of triangulation, in which a psychologist can use several different types of measurement. We'll also be looking at idiographic measures measures which are not for comparing people with one another, but for looking in depth at one person's own characteristics. And we will be looking at the research method known as meta-analysis, which psychologists use to make sense out of a series

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