Psychology - research methods

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Case Studies - strengths and weaknesses

 An in-depth investigation, description and analysis  of a single individual, group, institution or event. Conducting a case study usually, involves the process of qualitative data. Using interviews, observations. Case studies take place over a long period and can involve information from other people. 

Strengths - Offer rich detailed insights that may shed light on unusual forms of behaviour. Maybe preferred to other superficial methods such as experiments. Case studies contribute to our understanding of normal behaviour e.g HM demonstrated normal memory process - existent of separate memory stores in STM and LTM. Can generate hypotheses for future study. 

Weaknesses - Generalistion of findings is obviously an issue when dealing hen dealing w/ such small sample sizes. Subjective because it is based on the opinion of the researcher's opinion. Personal accounts from family can be inaccurate and prone to memory decay - can contain low validity

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Content analysis - strengths and weaknesses

Enables the indirect study of behaviour by examining communications that people produces, e.g in text, TV, film and other media. 

Coding - initial stage of content analysis by identifying suitable categories. e.g how many times a certain word is used. Thematic analysis and qualitative - it involves identifying the implicit or explicit ideas within the data. Themes will often emerge once the data has been coded. Usually more descriptive than coding units e.g the mentally ill may be represented in the media as a 'drain on resources'. They may collect a new set of data to test the validity of the themes and categories.

Strengths - can bypass ethical issues normally associated with psychological research because info already exists within the public domain, therefore no issues with getting permission, high external validity. Flexible because it produces qualitative and quantitative.

Limitations - People studied indirectly, communication is out of context. Researcher may attribute opinions and motivations to the speaker or writer that were not intended originally. Lack of objectivity especially when descriptive forms of thematic analysis are employed. 

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