Strengths/Weaknesses of Approaches

Part of my revision, summarised the strengths + weaknesses of each approach from my textbook.

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  • Created on: 03-05-09 16:24
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Approaches Strengths Weaknesses
Social Approach Field study allows for detailed Unethical, stresses
evidence to be collected. Less participants
demand characteristics, more
valid. Laboratory
experiments/settings are
Wide variety of applications artificial settings produce
from improving the prison demand characteristics, affect
system (Reicher & Haslam) validity.
Cognitive Approach A lot of studies carried out in Ecological validity reduced in
laboratory settings. High laboratory settings, people
control over variables. Cause are aware they are being
and effect established. studied so act differently.
Practical applications are Difficult to measure `mental
useful. Loftus & Palmer's processes' with a valid
results could prove vital for measure.
police questioning techniques.
Physiological Technical equipment provides Highly controlled lab
Approach objective reliable data due to experiment may lack validity.
high level of control gained. Low in ecological validity.
Clear links between biology Small/specific samples may
and behaviour, practical not be representative.
applications. (Discovery of
brain plasticity in Maguire study
can help rehabilitation of brain
damage patients).
Developmental Rich data can be collected Difficult to find participants
Approach who are representative
Can be applied to everyday samples so difficult to
life. E.g can be used to help generalise findings.
teachers understand learning
or what children watch on Validity of measuring
television. children's behaviour, e.g
Bandura interpreted the
behaviour as aggression but
children may interpret as play.
Individual Good use of both qualitative Often relies on the
Differences (more descriptive) and subjective opinion of an
Approach quantitative data ( statistical individual about someone
analysis, objective) else's behaviour.
Helps us understand human Demand characteristics can
affect validity of the findings.

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