Disadvantages of the scientific method

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  • Disadvantages of the sicentific method
    • Lack of ecological validity
      • Due to high levels of control the scientific method lacks ecological validity
      • in order to reduce variables, settings and tasks are often artificial meaning thins lack realism to the participants, which can therefore affect the results
      • For example, Rosenhan's study on psychiatric doctors was unrealistic as the doctors themselves wouldn't have to identify fake symptoms in their day to day job.
    • Ethical issues
      • the use of NHAs in research is deemed highly unethical because the animal participant has no say in whether they want to particpate
      • human participants are also often used presenting ethical issues within human research. Harm to participants is common, along with lack of informed consent
      • For example, Zimbardo's reasearch into prison roles presents heavy harm to participants,it can be argued that his research was takentoo far, and that the harm could have been prevented.
    • Reductionist
      • The scientific method assumes all behaviour is caused by just one thing (the IV)
      • This is a disadvantage as it ignores other important factors such as individual differences or any variables.
      • For example, Loftus and Palmer assumed that change in the estimates of speed were due to them changing the verb in the group, ignoring any individual differences due to memory itself.
    • Subject to social desirability bias
      • Buss' study - some questions asked face to face meaning different reactions from participants due to the desire to be socially acceptable
      • Participants want to make themselvessound better in real life than they actually.
      • This could lead to unreliable results as participants may be untruthful if they feel the need to impress their experimenter


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