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Research Methods: Advantages and Disadvantages
Laboratory Experiment: A true experiment involves the experimenter manipulating one variable (the
independent variable) and measuring what effect this has on another variable (the dependent variable). In a
laboratory experiment this involves strict control over extraneous variables through a standardised procedure
in a controlled environment.
Field Experiment: Manipulation of the independent variable in a reallife setting.
Natural Experiment: The independent variable changes through a natural occurrence and the researcher
just records the effect on the dependent variable.
Naturalistic Observation: A recording of spontaneouslyoccurring behaviour in the participant's own
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Controlled Observation: Recording of spontaneouslyoccurring behaviour in conditions set up by a
researcher, in a laboratory for example.
Participant observation: Type of research in which a researcher becomes involved in the everyday life of
the participant with or without their knowledge.
Structured Interview: Interview in which participants are asked a series of fixed questions with a limited
range of verbal answer options (e.g. yes/no).
Clinical Interview: Interview with semistructured guidelines, allowing further questioning to elaborate upon
answers. Questions can be rephrased and followup questions added.…read more
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Questionnaire: Written method of gaining data from participants that does not necessarily require a
researcher to be present.
Case Study: Indepth and detailed study of an individual or particular group. It is often applied to unusual
examples of behaviour. It involves interviews and data gathering.
Content Analysis: Content of a communication such as a TV programme, conversation or article is coded,
recorded and analysed.…read more