Loading...

PSYCH202A: Research Methods

Unit 5: Observation, Survey, and Experimental Research Designs   Almost all psychological research conducted today falls into one of three categories: observation, survey, or experimental design. While these designs do differ in their methods of gaining evidence and results, all three are used in psychology research. Frequently, psychologists will use multiple designs to study the same subject in order to confirm or further the theoretical implications found after using one of the designs. In this unit, you will learn to identify the similarities and differences between the designs as well as the different types of methods at your disposal. We will also identify the strengths and weaknesses of each design type in order to learn when to employ which design.

Unit 5 Time Advisory
This unit should take approximately 10 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 5.1: 2 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 5.1.1–5.1.4: 1 hour

☐    Sub-subunit 5.1.5: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 5.2: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 5.3: 1.5 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 5.3.1: 0.5 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 5.3.2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 5.4: 3.5 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 5.4.1: .5 hour

☐    Sub-subunit 5.4.2–5.2.4: 1 hour

☐    Sub-subunit 5.4.5: 0.5 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 5.4.6: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 5.5: 1 hour

Unit5 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to: - Define the three main types of observation research and identify the advantages and disadvantages of each. - List and define five sources of error in observation research. - Compare and contrast probability and nonprobability sampling procedures. - Define survey research. - Compare and contrast written and interview survey methods. - Define experimental design. - Define the pretest-only and pretest-posttest design; compare and contrast these two types of design. - Define confounding variable. - Define factorial design.

5.1 Observation Design   5.1.1 What is an Observation Design? Types of Observation Designs   - Reading: California State University, Fresno: Dr. Karl Oswald and Dr. Paul Price’s “Observational Research” and Dr. Russell A. Dewey’s “Observational Research” Link: California State University, Fresno: Dr. Karl Oswald and Dr. Paul Price’s “Observational Research” (HTML) and Dr. Russell A. Dewey’s “Observational Research” (HTML)

 Instructions: Perhaps the simplest research design is the
observation design. In essence the design is this: just watch people
and record what they do. However, even this simplicity has an
underlying complexity. Please read these pages for an introduction
to observation designs and the types of observation designs. At the
end of this subunit, you should be able to define the three main
types of observation research: naturalistic observation, participant
observation, and controlled (structured) observation. You should
also be able to identify the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Note that these readings cover the material you need to know for
subunits 5.1.1–5.1.4.  

 Reading these webpages should take approximately 1 hour (about 30
minutes each).  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpages above.

5.1.2 Naturalistic Observation   Note: This subunit is covered by the readings assigned beneath subunit 5.1.1. For this subunit, you should be learning the properties of naturalistic observation, the strengths and weaknesses of this design, and how it relates to other observation designs. You should also think about situations in which naturalistic observation would be the appropriate design.

5.1.3 Participant Observation   Note: This subunit is covered by the readings assigned beneath subunit 5.1.1. For this subunit, you should be learning the properties of participant observation, the strengths and weaknesses of this design, and how it relates to other observation designs. You should also think about situations in which participant observation would be the appropriate design.

5.1.4 Controlled (Structured) Observation   Note: This subunit is covered by the readings assigned beneath subunit 5.1.1. For this subunit, you should be learning the properties of controlled observation, the strengths and weaknesses of this design, and how it relates to other observation designs. You should also think about situations in which controlled observation would be the appropriate design.

5.1.5 Methodological Pitfalls: Reactivity, Reliability, and Sampling Error   - Reading: Valparaiso University: Dr. Daniel Arkkelin’s “Sources of Error in Observation” Link: Valparaiso University: Dr. Daniel Arkkelin’s “Sources of Error in Observation” (HTML)

 Instructions: There are a number of ways that observation data can
be contaminated. After clicking on this link, please scroll down to
the heading “Sources of Error in Observation” and read that section
for a summary of what types of error can arise in observational
research. At the end of this subunit, you should be able to list and
define five of the sources of error in observation research.  

 Reading this webpage should take approximately 1 hour.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

5.2 Sampling Techniques   - Assessment: Cengage Learning’s Workshop: “Sampling Methods” Link: Cengage Learning’s Workshop: “Sampling Methods” (HTML)

 Instructions: The people you select to participate in your research
will make up your sample. Please complete the entire workshop and
take the quiz at the end of it to gain an understanding of different
sampling methods. Note that you do not need to e-mail the quiz to
anyone; it is for your benefit. You will learn about probability
sampling procedures (simple random sampling, stratified random
sampling, and cluster sampling) and nonprobability sampling
procedures (haphazard sampling, convenience sampling, and purposive
sampling). At the end of this subunit, you should be able to compare
and contrast probability and nonprobability sampling procedures.  

 Completing this workshop should take approximately 2 hours.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

5.3 Survey Research   5.3.1 Reasons for Conducting Survey Research   - Reading: Research Methods Knowledge Base: William Trochim’s “Survey Research” Link: Research Methods Knowledge Base: William Trochim’s “Survey Research” (HTML)

 Instructions: Sometimes, just watching people will not provide the
information that we need to address the research question. The basic
idea behind survey research is this: Just ask people why they do
what they do. Please read this page for an introduction to survey
research. You might also click the links for “select the survey
method,” “construct the survey itself,” “types of questions,”
“decisions about question content,” “decisions about question
wording,” “decisions about response format,” and “question placement
and sequence.” At the end of this subunit, you should be able to
define survey research.  

 Reading this webpage should take approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above. The Saylor Foundation is grateful to
Professor William Trochim for his kind permission to reference
students to this site.

5.3.2 The Oral Interview vs. Written Question Methods   - Reading: Research Methods Knowledge Base: William Trochim’s “Types of Surveys” and “Plus & Minus of Survey Methods” Link: Research Methods Knowledge Base: William Trochim’s “Types of Surveys” (HTML) and “Plus & Minus of Survey Methods” (HTML)

 Instructions: There are a variety of ways to implement a survey
research project. Please read these webpages to understand the
distinction between oral and written surveys and the advantages of
both. At the end of this subunit, you should be able to compare and
contrast interview and written survey methods.  

 Reading these webpages should take approximately 1 hour (about 30
minutes each).  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpages above. The Saylor Foundation is grateful
to Professor William Trochim for his kind permission to reference
students to this site.

5.4 Experimental Design   5.4.1 The Difference between Quasi-Experimental and True Experimental Design   - Reading: Research Methods Knowledge Base: William Trochim’s “Types of Designs” Link: Research Methods Knowledge Base: William Trochim’s “Types of Designs” (HTML)

 Instructions: The strongest design type for determining causal
relationships is the experiment. In this design, you manipulate a
variable and see what effect it has on another variable. Please read
this webpage for an overview of different types of designs. This
reading will help you choose between experimental and
quasi-experimental designs. Quasi-experimental designs are beyond
the scope of this course. We will focus on two-group experimental
designs in the sections that follow. At the end of this subunit, you
should be able to define what an experiment is.  

 Reading this webpage should take approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above. The Saylor Foundation is grateful to
Professor William Trochim for his kind permission to reference
students to this site.

5.4.2 The True Experimental Design   - Reading: Research Methods Knowledge Base: William Trochim’s “Two-Group Experimental Designs” and AllPsych Online: Dr. Christopher L. Heffner’s Chapter 5: “Experimental Design” Link: Research Methods Knowledge Base: William Trochim’s “Two-Group Experimental Designs” (HTML) and AllPsych Online: Dr. Christopher L. Heffner’s Chapter 5: “Experimental Design” (HTML)

 Instructions: The simplest experimental design is the two-group
design. Within this design type, there are different ways to
implement the experiment. Please read these webpages for an overview
of different types of two-group designs. At the end of this subunit,
you should be able to define the pretest-only design and the
pretest-posttest design. You should also be able to compare and
contrast these two designs. Note that these readings will cover the
material you need to know for subunits 5.4.2–5.4.4.  

 Reading these webpages should take approximately 1 hour (about 30
minutes each).  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpages above. The Saylor Foundation is grateful
to Professor William Trochim for his kind permission to reference
students to this site.

5.4.3 Posttest-Only Design   Note: This subunit is covered by the readings assigned beneath subunit 5.4.2. For this subunit, you will learn the properties of the most basic experimental research design. You will learn how this design addresses threats to internal validity and allows a causal conclusion to be drawn.

5.4.4 Pretest-Posttest Design   Note: This subunit is covered by the readings assigned beneath subunit 5.4.2. For this subunit, you will learn how adding a pretest to the posttest-only design increases the strength of the design.

5.4.5 Confounding Variables and Internal Validity Revisited   - Reading: Psychology World: Richard Hall’s “Extraneous and Confounding Variables and Systematic vs. Non-Systematic Error” and Research Methods Knowledge Base: William Trochim’s “Internal Validity” Link: Psychology World: Richard Hall’s “Extraneous and Confounding Variables and Systematic vs. Non-Systematic Error” (PDF) and Research Methods Knowledge Base: William Trochim’s “Internal Validity” (HTML)

 Instructions: Internal validity refers to the quality of your
study. Basically, the better the internal validity, the stronger the
conclusions that you can draw from the data. Please review these
webpages to review the concept of internal validity and confounding
variables. At the end of this subunit, you should be able to define
confounding variable and identify the primary way we control for
them in experiments.  

 Reading these webpages should take approximately 30 minutes (about
15 minutes each).  

 Terms of Use: The Richard Hall article above is released under a
[Creative Commons Attribution
2.5](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/) (HTML). You can
find the original version of this article
[here](http://web.mst.edu/~psyworld/extraneous.htm) (HTML). Please
respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on Trochim’s
“Internal Validity.” The Saylor Foundation is grateful to Professor
William Trochim for his kind permission to reference students to his
site.

5.4.6 Complex Experimental Designs: Increasing the Number of the Independent Variables and/or Increasing the Number of Levels of the Independent Variable   - Reading: Research Methods Knowledge Base: William Trochim’s “Factorial Designs” Link: Research Methods Knowledge Base: William Trochim’s “Factorial Designs” (HTML)

 Instructions: Even though it’s a bit beyond the level of an
introductory course, the factorial design is an important tool for
psychologists. This design allows a researcher to manipulate more
than one variable simultaneously. This acknowledges the fact that
behavior in the “real world” usually has multiple influences (e.g.,
think about your reasons for taking this course). Please read this
webpage for an introduction to factorial designs. At the end of this
subunit, you should be able to define factorial design.  

 Reading this webpage should take approximately 1 hour and 30
minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above. The Saylor Foundation is grateful to
Professor William Trochim for his kind permission to reference
students to this site.

5.5 Assessment: Observation, Survey, and Experimental Research Designs   - Assessment: McGraw-Hill: Paul C. Cozby’s “Multiple-Choice Test on Experimental Design” Link: McGraw-Hill: Paul C. Cozby’s “Multiple-Choice Test on Experimental Design” (HTML)

 Instructions: After you have completed Unit 5, please take the
above assessment to test your knowledge. Note that some of the items
may refer to specific material that was not covered in this section.
You may use those items to determine how well your knowledge will
generalize to other aspects of experimental design.  

 Completing this assessment should take approximately 1 hour.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.