Disadvantages of scientific approach

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  • Created by: gracepxx
  • Created on: 18-04-16 14:07


Scientific method used to look at phenomena in the world

Used to produce valid wxplanations about world around them 

2 different models commonly used 

Inductive completes research prior to producing theory

Deductive which proposes theory first 

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P1 - External Validity

Method may lack in external validity 

Due to having aritficial setting it can be difficult to find support from real-life situations

Could suggest findings cannot always be generalised to wider population

Mandel (1998) - analysis of obedience showed that Milgram's findings only have very limited correlation with everyday behaviour 

Disadvantage because we cannot use research from different settings unless we know they can be generalised and as psychology aims to improve all areas of society, such a restriction is a big limitation

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P2 - Internal validity

Studies may lack internal validity

Research may have problems with investigator effects & demand characteristics whereby Ps behaviour changes due to setting or want to please researcher

Means effects on DV may be due to other variables than manipulation of the IV

E.g questionnaire with leading questions won't obtain true feelings of Ps 

Disadvantage as makes causal relationships hard to establish and gives invalid results 

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P3 - Ignores individual differences

Aims to find similarities between people and make generalisatons about their behaviour 

DIfferences such as age, gender, culture and other elements of Ps' socioexonomic backgrounds are overlooked 

Most research done on male USA college students then generalised - ignore differences such as age and intellect

Limitation as it lowers external validity of studies 

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P4 - Reductionist

Reducing behaviour down to variables that can be operationalised and manipulated means we often oversimplify it to point that we are no longer studying what we set out to

R.D Laing (1965) - discussed schizophrenia and suggested it was wrong to assume everyone's is caused by same thing and instead idigraphic approach should be used and each patient treated individually 

Disadvantgage - assuming all humans have same mentality and respond in same way to things - we are reducing their behaviour down instead of looking at is as a whole 

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P5 - Ethical issues

Method raises ethical issues

Ps may be harmed and decision has to be made whether benefits from research outweigh harm caused

Argued that despite psychological harm in Milgram's study, knowledge obtained was of enough value to excuse it 

However, it is subjective whether or not ethical issues can be excused

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