The Four Main Research Methods in Psychology
If you are a psychology student or have any interest in getting a bachelor of arts in psychology, you’ll quickly come across these four major research methods in psychology. Usually, these four types are divided between two distinct types of psychological research: quantitative and qualitative.
- Studying objects in their natural settings.
- An interpretive, naturalistic approach to the subject of research.
- Interpreting phenomena as it naturally occurs.
- Focuses on a group of people, rather than an individual.
- Collecting samples, the results of which are usually numerical.
These four levels of analysis in psychology utilize one of these two types to learn about and develop theories.
As a psychological research method, a case study follows the qualitative research process, observing communities, individuals, and even specific events. This type of psychological research is conducted with the help of interviews to document nuanced events that happen in someone’s life. The result turns it into a multi-methodological study as the psychologist examines the individual’s daily life, trying to understand and pinpoint where unhealthy behaviors are arising from, and how they can be realized.
Following the quantitative theory, the experimental psychology method tries to look at cause-and-effect relationships, and what happens when a single variable is manipulated. Psychological experiments cover a broad range of methods that can be used to varying degrees of success, from sleep studies to field experiments. Some experiments allow the researcher to be more involved, while other psychological experiments require a hands-off approach.
When studying people from a distance, a psychologist gets an opportunity to examine behavior research methods. As a type of qualitative research, observational study in psychology looks at individuals, societies, or social constructs to see how they are being impacted by the world around them. This type of research involves mixed methods as well, due to it occurring in natural settings where the psychologist is not able to control the environment.
Both qualitative and quantitative, survey research utilizes levels of analysis in psychology. The survey method in psychology utilizes respondents to answer questions, informing the psychologist how they feel. This self-reporting questionnaire asks about feelings, and what they have been doing during their regular day. Depending on the data collected, the results can be either qualitative or quantitative. This is up to the researcher.
What’s Important about Psychological Research
Research methods in psychology help to expand the academic knowledge of mental health, and the world at large. In order to better understand the world around them, they become experts in the field of psychology and develop a deeper well of knowledge that they can use to help future clients. Are you interested in the field of psychology, and want to help others who are suffering? At St. Augustine, the BA in Psychology is the start of a long and fulfilling career in psychology. Contact us to learn more about it, and how you can start a new life.