Overview of Research in Psychology

Writing psychology research papers in college is quite common. Fortunately, research in psychology is quite interesting. [nbsp]Although considered complicated, with the right tools, it can be easy and rewarding.

Per se, psychological research seeks to systematically study and analyze behaviors and experiences among individuals or groups.

Note that research in psychology should be reflective of the prevailing circumstances.

In this, it is lucid that psychological research could be very broad, which therefore makes it important to clearly limit your study to a certain field or within particular parameters.

You as such need to generate appropriate ideas for a psychology[nbsp]research paper.

Herein, the context of the research is very important. It looks at the research factors and aims of the specific study.

Observing such context requires you to understand the different types of research designs in psychology.

This is because one research may be suitable for one context and not the other. [nbsp]

Choosing the correct design requires you to clearly comprehend the purpose of research in psychology. [nbsp]Markedly, such purpose is highlighted in the different goals of research in psychology that include:

1.[nbsp]Describing a phenomenon: As a key purpose of research in psychology, it aims at observing a particular behavior or experience and taking note of all the entailed details about it.

Such details include what is happening, who is involved, where it is happening, and the prevailing circumstances.

2.[nbsp]Explaining a phenomenon: Research in psychology also intends to explain the reason for a particular behavior or experience.

For instance, you could be required to explain why a student is showing certain delinquent behavior.

Doing this requires you to determine the types of research designs in psychology that are likely to effectively explain the cause of this behavior.

3.[nbsp]Predicting the occurrence of a phenomenon: Psychological research also seeks to prognosticate particular behavior or experience.

Such research should help identify the possible results from a particular trend in behavior.

4.[nbsp]Controlling a phenomenon: Controlling behavior is a major reason to consider when choosing an approach among the different types of research designs in psychology.

Some studies intend to find out how to control certain behavior.

Such studies require effective approaches to avoid negative or biased influence on entailed behavior. In this, the purpose of research in psychology is changing behavior from undesirable to desirable. [nbsp]

5.[nbsp]Solving a phenomenon: This is another important purpose of psychological research.

Under this goal, research in psychology seeks to provide solutions to problems facing the community, organization, or an individual.


Applications in problem solving may include scenarios within the classroom, hospital, industry, or military. [nbsp]Such applications focus on enhancing the quality of life among society members. [nbsp]


Types of Research Designs in Psychology

There are different types of research designs in psychology. It is therefore particularly important for you to understand fundamental research methods in social psychology.

In this, it is your duty to determine the most appropriate design for the study you intend to conduct.

Doing so requires you to clearly identify the kind of data to be collected. Usually, such data could be either quantitative or qualitative.

It is advisable to explore different psychology research examples for ideas on how to collect both types of data.

Markedly, different types of research designs in psychology are suited for particular research questions.

You are as such required to ensure that the data you intend to collect effectively answers these research question(s).

That said, key types of research designs in psychology include: [nbsp]


1.[nbsp]Descriptive Research Design

This research design usually focuses on generating a picture of present feelings, thoughts, or behavior among individuals.

The design do not test relationships between particular variables.

Attributes, including behavior and feelings are therefore observed and measured independently, without comparison to each other.

Categories of descriptive designs encompass 1) surveys, 2) case studies, and 3) naturalistic observations.

a)[nbsp]Surveys: Surveys are among the most common research methods in social psychology. The designs use questionnaires or interviews to collect research data.

They target a limited number of people and could be used to collect data on areas such as behaviors and beliefs.

Accordingly, the selected sample is representative of the whole group. Psychologists usually use this design to secure values on prevalence estimates (or incidence rates).


b) Case studies: These are considered among the most critical types of research designs in psychology.

They are very common in descriptive research and focus on even a more limited number of individuals than the surveys.

Usually, a case study may involve a single individual or a single tiny group. Such designs are more suitable in the study of abnormal individuals or unusual experiences.

Their intention is to create an understanding of the human nature.


c) Naturalistic observation: This is the last design in descriptive research and entails direct observation of daily events. In most cases, such observation is done within the context the phenomenon is occurring.

Lack of interference with the natural context is important in ensuring that data collected is accurate.

The most common data collection scenario in this design is ‘strange situation’, where data collected is coded for analysis.[nbsp]

Note that research results acquired through descriptive research designs are analyzed using descriptive statistics.[nbsp]


2.[nbsp]Correlational Research Design

This is one of the most common types of research designs in psychology. It seeks to measure two or more related variables as well as assess the relationship between the respective variables.

Basic designs in correlational research have two categories of variables, including 1) predictor variable and 2) outcome variable.

In correlational research, the entailed correlation between the two variables can be tested by graphing the variables using a ‘scatter plot’. A linear relationship can then be tested using a straight line.

Note that variables can have either positive linear relationships or negative linear relationships.

Further, there are nonlinear relationships, where variables are not related to each other in any way. Such variables are independent of each other.

As well, there are curvilinear relationships, where it is not possible to describe the relationships between the variables using a single straight line. [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp]

Among the different types of research designs in psychology, the correlation research design is considered quite elaborate when it comes to using mathematical methods and models.

Its use therefore requires you to learn the application and interpretation of values like Pearson correlation coefficient, multiple regression, common-causal variable, and spurious relationship. [nbsp]


3.[nbsp]Experimental Research Design

The experimental research design is one of the most basic research methods in social psychology.

It intends to derive concrete conclusions on causal relationships between research hypothesis’ variables that have been developed from correlational research designs.

In this design, key variables include ‘independent variables’ and ‘dependent variables’. The independent variable is the causing variable and is usually manipulated by the individual conducting the research.

Differently, the ‘dependent variable’ is influenced by manipulations in the experiment.

The experimental research design in used to establish causation. [nbsp]Note that despite it being one of the most common types of research designs in psychology, its application is marred by numerous challenges.

Such challenges include them being usually carried out in the laboratories and the fact that it is impossible to manipulate some key social variables in an experiment.[nbsp]