Langer and Rodin Methodology
An advantage of Langer and Rodin using a field experiment to conduct their research is that findings will be high is ecological validity because the elderly participants were in their natural environment (A nursing home) and did not know that that they were taking part in a study. Their behaviour should therefore have been natural and the conclusion that increased levels of control and responsibility can benefit the health and wellbeing of elderly people will be highly reflective of real life.
A disadvantage of Langer and Rodin using a field experiment however us that the research will have had low control over extraneous variables, such as other factors that may have affected the residents happiness or activity levels during the research, This means that Langer and Rodin cannot clearly infer cause and effect in seeing how increased levels of control and responsibility effect the health and wellbeing of the elderly within a care home environment.
Langer and Rodin Ethics
Ethically the participants in Langer and Rodin were not aware of the research aims of the study, i.e. they were not aware that they were being assessed to see if increased control/responsibility had a beneficial effect upon health and therefore breaching the guideline of lack of informed consent.
As well as this, residents in the comparison group (CG) were found to be twice more likely to die than the responsibility induced group (RIG) residents. Although there was no risk of direct physical harm from the research, withholding a beneficial treatment from some residents whilst not others could be seen as unethical.
Langer and Rodin data
An advantage of Langer and Rodin using a questionnaire to collect their data is that large amounts of data could be collected relatively easily and in a relatively short amount of time. For example, Langer and Rodin were able to quickly and easily question 91 residents (Questionnaire 1) about how happy and active they felt both before and after the researcher, as well as 2 nurses (questionnaire 2) about how they perceived the residents in terms of their happiness, alertness, dependency, sociability and activity levels, again both before and after the research.
A disadvantage of Langer and Rodin using a questionnaire is that the honesty of participants cannot be guaranteed who may give socially desirable answers for example, the elderly residents may not have wanted to appear 'Unhappy' in the care home and may therefore have rated themselves as 'happier' than they are were. This could decrease the overall validity of Langer and Rodin’s findings.
Langer and Rodin - Sample
A disadvantage of Langer and Rodin sample is that it was ethnocentric as it was conducted in just one nursing home in Connecticut USA. Findings on control and health benefits are therefore un-generalizable to other nursing homes in other areas of the country or even the world.
Furthermore there is an issue with gender bias in the sample as there were very few males, therefore findings might not truly represent the way men respond to control.