Doing Psychological Research: Gathering and Analysing Data

By Nicky Hayes | Go to book overview

9
Analysing documents

Diary studies

Document research

Meta-analysis

Not every form of psychological research involves direct interaction with research participants. Sometimes psychologists use the evidence provided from documents to learn about human experience, or to analyse what other psychologists have learned so far. In this chapter, we will look at two major ways of obtaining psychological evidence from documents: diary methods of investigation, and the research method known as meta-analysis.


The diary method

What do these threeterms mean?structured questionnaireopen-ended formatdiary record

The diary method is an approach to collecting data in which respondents are required to keep notes about a particular type of experience or event, at appropriate intervals over a period of time. The notes provide the basic data for the research, which can be analysed using a variety of different methods, both quantitative and qualitative. Diaries can vary in form, ranging from a tightly structured questionnaire, which needs to be completed on a regular basis, to open-ended reports, in which the person notes down their experiences from time to time. But whatever form they take, diary methods always involve the participant making repeated recordings over time, and this allows the researcher to explore issues of development, change or recurrent experience in a way which is very difficult using other research techniques.


Advantages and disadvantages of diary methods

There are several advantages to using a diary approach for the researcher. Breakwell and Wood (1995) identified seven in all, which are listed in Table 9.1. But perhaps the most important advantage of all is

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Doing Psychological Research: Gathering and Analysing Data
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • List of Figures ix
  • List of Tables xi
  • List of Worked Examples xiii
  • List of Formulae xiv
  • Introduction xv
  • Acknowledgements xix
  • 1: Approaches to Psychological Research 1
  • Part I - Gathering Data 15
  • 2: Gathering Data for Psychological Research 17
  • 3: Experiments 35
  • 4: Observational Studies 55
  • 5: questionnaire Studies 70
  • 6: Psychometrics 91
  • 7: Interviews 113
  • 8: Case Studies and Ethnography 131
  • 9: Analysing Documents 147
  • Part II - Making Sense of Data 165
  • 10: Introducing Qualitative Analysis 167
  • 11: Grounded Approaches to Qualitative Research 183
  • 12: Conversations, Discourse and Images 201
  • 13: Protocol Analysis and Other Techniques 220
  • 14: Introducing Quantitative Analysis 239
  • 15: Numbers as Descriptive Statistics 257
  • 16: Descriptive Statistics in Visual Images 278
  • 17: Two-Sample Tests 303
  • 18: Correlation and Regression 331
  • 19: Analysis of Variance 349
  • Glossary 366
  • Statistical Tables 379
  • References 387
  • Index 392
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