Why used?• Growing concern about artificiality and lack of ecological validity in research• Non experimental research is now seen as valuable to psychology• Examples: – Surveys – Interviews – Observations – Case Studies
• Triangulation – combination of different research methods in a study in order to collect richer data. Depends on the topic.• Deductive approach – the quantitative approach - with a hypothesis that is tested against empirical evidence.• Inductive approach – qualitative approach – researchers study how people experience situations. They gather data and then see what these could mean.
Subjectivity vs objectivity• The role of the qualitative researcher involves an active engagement in the research process – a subjective element is placed in to the research process.• Experimental method is based on the assumption of objectivity in the research process.
Interviews• One of the most common ways of gatheringqualitative data Can be short or in-depth Need interview schedule – plan to follow with structured or open ended questions Interviewers need training!
Considerations of Interview• Interviewer effect – researcher needs to act professionally and be aware of responses to age, sex, ethnicity of the interviewer.• Participant bias – people often adjust their responses to what they THINK is appropriate for the interviewer.• Social Desirability Bias – most people want to present a positive picture of themselves so they don’t always tell the truth.
Types of Interviews• Structured – procedure is highly controlled – Specific questions – Easy to analyze and compare data• Unstructured – Open ended: only topic and time are specified – Difficult to analyze, but more info are revealed• Semi-structured – Look like informal conversation but follow the schedule – Closed and open-ended questions (respondent can answer morefreely)
Ethics in interviews• Informed consent and confidentiality• May be distressing and sensitive• Researcher must be professional!• If respondents decide to withdraw their information, you must follow wishes.
Your turn to be a researcher You have been commissioned to carry out research using interviews on one of the following issues:1. positive and negative experiences in CAS projects2. what it is like to live in a foreign country3. teenagers and drug use and abuse4. prejudice in classroom Consider the following questions1. How would you carry out your research?2. How would you obtain your sample?3. What potential difficulties do you anticipate in carrying out the interview?
Observation• A data collection method which aims to describe behavior without trying to establish cause and effect relationships.• Most take place in a natural setting - Naturalistic Observations• Originally used with animal studies – but now some are used in labs (one way mirrors)• Raw data may be visual, audio or written
Observation• Impossible to record EVERYTHING• Researcher Bias – often the researcher sees what s/he WANTS to see (to counteract - several researchers and comparing notes – to ensure inter-observer reliability)• Try to get people and animals to act naturally - typically they change their behavior when know being watched.
Observation• Participant observation• Non-participant observation• Reactivity – people and animals change their behaviour when they are observed• Covert observation (secret)• Overt observation (participants know)
Example• What happens when an administrator comes in to observe students or the teacher? (overt observation) – How valid is the data?• What happens when an administrator asks student to observe or report on activities in a classroom?(covert) – How valid is the data?
Your Turn• During the break you will conduct an observation.• Where are you going to carry out your observation? (cafeteria, media center, front office, classroom)• Each member of the group should take notes.(!!!)
Your Turn1. Compare your notes. To what extent are your observations similar? Discuss this.2. Are there any ethical considerations in what you did?3. Discuss how you could make sense of this data.
Ethics of Observational Research1. Need to obtain informed consent of those being observed.2. If using covert research, must make proposal to ethics committees.3. It could be argued that observation in public places does not violate rights because they are in a PUBLIC place!
Famous Covert Participant Observation: Rosenhan, 1973• Read the story in a frame – p. 341. Discuss ethical issues in Rosenhan’s participant observation2. Was the use of covert observation justified?
Case Studies• Originated in clinical medicine – patient’s personal history• Grounded in real life, produces rich data that provides insight into unique phenomenon or individual’s behavior
Case Studies• Individual or group observed• Describes people’s experiences, feelings, thoughts (qualitative data)• Can include quantitative data – test scores, IQ scores, blood tests• Allows for in-depth investigations of human experience not available in other research methods
Case Studies• Not really a research method itself, but an approach to the study of something unique (the case)• Methods used for gathering data – Interviews, observations – Letters, diaries, pictures, TRIANGULATION – Clinical notes, – Blood samples
Ethical Aspects of Case Study• It is deeply personal in nature, so researcher must be very protective of identities• Researcher needs professional competence (understand anorexia, child abuse, drug dependence, etc.)• Include – Informed consent, no deception – Right to withdraw, debriefing – confidentiality
Famous Case Study: Money 1974• http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/2813gender.html
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