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Research Methods in Psychology

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Science is knowledge, knowledge that is gained through observation, research, analysis and pondering. Thus all the questions that arise in the human heart and mind are answered owing to what we may broadly categorize as research methodology. The theme of research and the modes of operandi that are adopted for it, irrespective of the discipline of study may be generalized into few broad categories. Humans gain knowledge owing to their observation, experimentation, research etc. The field of psychology is no exception from the above topology. Thus the quest of psychology is carried on through systematic or observational research of the world we live in. It may involve minute study in a systematic approach of research and in some cases it may use observational research. Systematic observations involve special facilities and sophisticated equipments whereas observational research is done in natural settings.

Many research methods are being used by the psychologists for answering different questions, experimental research and naturalistic observation serve to be a few among them

COMPARISON OF NATURALISTIC & EXPERIENTAL RESEARCH METHOD

Naturalistic method of study could be well understood from the word ‘nature’ i.e. it would be un-tamed, un-tampered and a sample of reality, with no artificial stimuli involved.  Thus naturalistic observation of psychology brings forward the most precise reality to be noted or observed. Yet at the same times it proves to be less controllable. The experts involved in said methodology have limited or no control over the environment, input and stimulus conditions of the research being carried out. As a result the outcome of said research methodology is less predictive (Naturalistic research methods in psychology, 2004). In specific cases of psychological observation, the data conceived through naturalistic methods may be negatively affected if the subject becomes aware that he/she is being observed, moreover said negative baring on the experiment be observed due to some other unwanted intervention.

In contrast to naturalistic approach the experimental method of research gives the feeling of better control. The experimentation is carried on bases on certain research design patterns or ideas. The experts have a set of input or stimulus conditions to play with. The output of such research methodology is predictive, although the extent of its perfection and authentication may be debatable at times. Yet, the over all process seems to be under more control (Experimental research, 2008).

To understand experimental method of research, one may take the example of a group of students involved in one such experiment. They are given few set of variables. One or a set of variables out of the lot are defined and remaining may be randomized.  Thus the same process of experiment is repeated by varying variables at will and noting down the results respectively. The outcome of such an experiment may not always be close to perfection, yet they enable the students to have an effective understanding of their over all work (Experimental research, 2008).

Another variation in the two methods of research is that results and proofs of the experimental work are reproducible at times with in defined limiting parameters. Yet the set of readings and results gained through natural observation may not be reproducible on many occasions (Experimental research, n.d).

Naturalistic methods can give us rich descriptions about the nature of the living being along with the social and emotional effects it is undergoing. Yet the results drawn out of the methodology may not be directly proportional as input to output. On the other hand,  whereas experimental research is an approach to cause and effect, with the option for better control and repetition as well.

Thus owing to above key elements one has to say that naturalistic method is also dependent on the expert carrying out the experiment, as to what things he can observe, and what changes in a subject prove noticeable to the psychologist in one way or the other. On the other hand the output data of experimental methodology may be analyzed at will and at any stage once a cycle of the experimental process is completed.

At the end one may conclude that no methodology alone can be commented as close to perfection. A thorough authentic case study may demand more then one method to be utilized to gain the right set of parameters to comprehend about a subject and subsequently work upon it.

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