psychology - Advantages of the scientific method.

  • "Discuss the advantages of the scientific method in psychology"
  • "Discuss the disadvantages of the scientific method in psychology"
  • "Discuss ethical issues in the use of human participants in research in psychology"
  • "Discuss ways of dealing with ethical issues when using human participants in research in psychology"
  • "Discuss ethical issues in the use of non-human animals in research in psychology"
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Psychology-Advantages of the scientific method.

  • Any method or piece of research which underlies knowledge in psychology is a 'scientific method', the degree to which it may be considered as 'scientific' varies.
  • As such the advantages of the approach are altered.
  • points:
  • Controlled
  • Replicable 
  • Falsifiable
  • Ecological Validity
  • Historical trends
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Advantage

  • One huge advantage is the possibilty to decipher some scientific grounding in each of the four approcahes.
  • Psychodynamic - 1890's
  • Behaviourist - 1900's
  • Biological - 1930's
  • Cognitive - 1940's
  • The approcahes in order have been considered as slowly increasing in 'scientific' standing over time and this is termed a 'Historical trend'.
  • Thus it is considered an advantage that psychology is generally becoming more 'scientific' over time and this is a good thing because it means that we are able to more effectively generate practical applications that also work more effectively. 
  • E.g a hugely effective treatment for schizophrenia is both CBT and chemotherapy.
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Methods

  • The methods employed in psychology vary obviously in how 'scientific' they are.
  • Methods:
  • Lab
  • Field
  • Observation
  • Natural (Quasi)
  • Twin/Concordance
  • Adoption
  • Family
  • Animal
  • Interview
  • Case study
  • Questionnaire
  • Correlational
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Varying 'scientific' qualities

  • For something to be labelled as generally 'scientific' it must:
  • Provide an evidence base ( determining a theory's falsifiability)
  • We must be able to determine whether or not something can be proven or disproven by scientific means. From this, effective practical applications can be developed.
  • Be controlled
  • Those which are most controlled have the most success in removing extraneous variables that my affect results and cause misrepresentations, thus with more control it is easier to establish cause and effect and properly describe the effect of IV on the DV. 
  • Be reliable (easily repeated with consistent results)
  • In repeating the experiemnt the same results are easily obtained and thus a relationship between varibales can be more effectively established (proven).
  • Objective (the same results may be obtained by anyone)
  • This scientific trait increases the validity and therefore emploaybility of research. Results can be said to truly represent that studied and not at all any subjective interference, they may be used to make predictions.
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Advantage

  • Controlled:

Method                    

Laborotory

Research

  • Milgram's study of obedience
  • Selye's GAS model
  • Loftus and Palmer's EWT 
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Advantage

  • Replicable: (So that it may be repeated and predictions may be made)

Method

  • Questionnaire
  • Field

Research

  • Buss' mate preferences
  • Bennte-Levy and Marteau's fear inducing characteristics
  • Langer and Rodin's 'The effect of percieved choice on health in the elderly'


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Advantage

  • Objective:

Method

  • Twins
  • Correlation

Research

  • Genain quadruplets (Gottesman)
  • Rahe's SRRS (Correlational observation between variables stressful life events and illness).
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Advantage

  • Falsifiable:

Method

Lab/Animal

Research

  • Pavlov's 'Classical conditioning'
  • Skinner's 'Operant conditioning'
  • Bandura's 'Social learning theory'
  • Selye's 'GAS model'
  • Milgram's disproving 'GAD'
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Advantage

  • Ecological validity:

Method

  • Field
  • Case study
  • Observation
  • Natural/Quasi

Research

  • Any such case study is high in ecological validity because everything about it has not been manipulated and thus is true to natural task, setting etc and hence reflects real life behaviours and occurences. (This is highly subjective and not at all very scientific).
  • Clive Wearing
  • Freudian 
  • Phineas Guage 
  • etc.
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Advantages explanation

  • With a lack of control in a scientific method it will immediately become less 'scientific' as in case studies or natural observations or indeed any method less controlled than another. 
  • However as we have seen in these instances advantages can be drawn such as a heightened quality of ecological validity which serves to allow research to be more aptly linked to real actual life behaviours and occurences.
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