Research Methodology (Encyclopedia of Psychology)
The wide variety of strategies employed by psychologists to answer research questions.
Psychologists use a wide variety of techniques to answer research questions. The most commonly used techniques include experiments, correlational studies, observational studies, case studies, and archival research. Each approach has its own strengths and weaknesses. Psychologists have developed a diversity of research strategies because a single approach cannot answer all types of questions that psychologists ask.
Psychologists prefer to use experiments whenever possible because this approach allows them to determine whether a stimulus or an event actually causes something to happen. In an experimental approach, researchers randomly assign participants to different conditions. These conditions should be identical except for one variable that the researcher is interested in. For example, psychologists have asked whether people learn more if they study for one long period or several short periods. To study this experimentally, the psychologist would assign people into one of two groupsne group that studies for an extended period of time or to another group that studies for the same total amount of time, but in short segments.
The researcher would make sure that all the participants studied the same material, for the same total...
(The entire section is 769 words.)
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