Strengths and Weaknesses of sampling, designs and experiments

Just a couple of strengths and weaknesses for all the types of sampling, experiment designs and research methods that I used in my revision.

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  • Created by: Adam Egg
  • Created on: 10-01-12 09:52
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Time sampling as a method of collecting observational data
Strengths Weaknesses
1. Reduces the number of observations by 1. Observations may not be representative
using an objective means of sampling because important aspects may be
which allows for a clearer focus during missed as they could happen outside the
observations. time frame.
Event sampling as a method of collecting observational data
Strengths Weaknesses
1. Useful when behaviour to be recorded 1. Observer may miss some observations if
only happens occasionally and might be too many things happen at once.
missed if time sampling is used.
Structured observations
Strengths Weaknesses
1. Enables systematic observations to be 1. Categories may not cover all possibilities
made so important information is not and so some behaviours not recorded or
overlooked, otherwise observer may be placed in an `other' category.
overwhelmed by the stream of 2. Richness of data is lost as you are tallying
information. the results rather than recording
specifically what happens.
Unstructured observations
Strengths Weaknesses
1. Provides rich qualitative data. 1. Might only record the most eye catching
behaviour which might actually be the
most relevant.
2. The behaviour studied is largely
unpredictable which may make it difficult
to analyse effectively.

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Observational techniques in general
Strengths Weaknesses
1. What people say they do is often 1. Observers may `see' what they expect
different from what they actually do so to see. Their presence influences the
observations give a different take on participants behaviour and they are not
behaviour. behaving normally (observer bias).
2. It is a means of conducting preliminary 2.…read more

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Strengths Weaknesses
1. Easier to analyse the data and 1. May not permit people to express their
respondents have only a limited range of precise feelings.
responses to choose from. 2. Social desirability bias
Opportunity sample
Strengths Weaknesses
1. Quick and easy to select the sample as 1. May be biased as unlikely to be
you simply take advantage of the people representative of a target population as
that are around you when you conduct it involves looking at people who are
your research.…read more

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Rating scales
Strengths Weaknesses
1. Enables respondents to represent 1. Respondents may avoid using ends
thoughts and feelings quantitatively of the scales and go for the middle
because they are rating their responses. of the road thus answers do not
2. They can give us an idea about how represent true feelings.
strongly a participant feels about 2. Participants may provide the
something. It gives a more detailed answers that they feel they should ­
response than a simple yes no answer. social desirability bias.…read more

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Can access information that may not be the spot which gives scope for them to
revealed by predetermined questions. ask leading questions.
3. Can use body language to confirm verbal 2. Requires well-trained interviews, which
responses. makes it more expensive to produce
reliable interviews when compared to
structured interviews.
3. The data can be difficult to analyse as
each respondent may provide slightly
different responses which means it is
difficult to do anything with.
Laboratory Experiment
Strengths Weaknesses
1.…read more

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Allows researchers to investigate areas 2. May be subject to bias if the participants
that would otherwise be unavailable to know that they are being studied.
them. 3. Impossible to replicate exactly
3. If subjects are aware of being studied
there will be little bias from demand
Repeated Measures Design
Strengths Weaknesses
1. The participants are the same in each 1.…read more

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Matched Pairs Design
Strengths Weaknesses
1. Participants only have to be tested once 1. A lengthy and time consuming process
which reduces the effects of boredom or that can be quite wasteful of participants
better performance due to repeating as a large number of people would need
the task. to be tested to find appropriate pairs.
2. It controls for individual differences 2. Matching participants may be impossible.
which may have an effect on your final
Correlational Analysis
Strengths Weaknesses
1.…read more

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Usually more time consuming and can
cost a lot more money due to having to
include a large sample in order to
address the quantitative requirements.…read more


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