Chapter 1: Methods

1.2 – Types of Research

Social psychology research involves observations, correlational studies, experiments, field experiments and other methods of evaluation. Social psychologists often wish to assess attitudes and beliefs about particular subjects of interest. One way to gather this data is through surveys. Surveys are convenient and allow us to gather large amounts of data in a relatively quick fashion. It may appear as though surveys are easy to create and distribute; however, there are many factors to consider when creating a survey. Word placement and the ordering of questions are two factors that can influence the results of your survey. The following video breaks down some of the factors to keep in mind when creating a survey.

 

Link to video

Test Your Knowledge

Further reading: How to be a wise consumer of the research

Is all research the same? How do we know if we can trust the results or if there may be flaws? Well, as noted above, replication is one way to help us make these determinations. Often times, research conducted in social psychology involves topics that involve every day activities and relationships. In psychology, we want students to be able to not only able to read research studies, but to be able to critically evaluate them. We want you to learn how to be a wise consumer of research. The following article from the American Psychological Association (2007) provided tips on how to critically evaluate psychology research:

American Psychological Association article

 

In research, we want to show that the results of our studies can be replicated. In other words, other researchers who utilize the same hypothesis and approach as our study should receive similar results-right? Why does replication matter? It matters because replication helps to support our results and show that the results from our study weren’t just a “fluke.” It helps to add confidence to our results. The activity below takes you through some social psychology studies that have been replicated. See if you can determine which studies were able to be successfully replicated.

Test your knowledge

Go through the following quiz to see if you can identify which of the following experiments have been successfully replicated.

Link to quiz.

License

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Social Psychology by Jennifer Croyle is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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