Rosenhan - Methodology - Natural Observation
The main advantage of Rosenhan using a natural observation to conduct his research is that findings can be said to be high is ecological validity because the psychiatrics were in their natural environment (Psychiatric ward) and did not know that they were taking part in a piece of Psychological research. Their behaviour should therefore have been natural and the conclusion is that psychiatrists cannot differentiate the sane from the insane should be highly reflective of real life.
As well as this because psychiatrics were not aware of the true aims of the study there was no chance of demand characteristic having an effect upon results, therefore increasing the overall validity of Rosenhan’s findings.
Rosenhan - Ethics
However, a disadvantage of Rosenhan using a natural observation is because the psychiatrists were not aware of the true aims of the study, i.e. they were not aware they were being assessed to see if they could differentiate the sane from an insane patient, the ethical guideline of lack of informed consent had been breached.
As well as this Rosenhan and the other pseudo-patients lied to the psychiatrists by pretending to have an auditory hallucination when in fact he did not, therefore breaking the ethical guideline of deception which may well have angered psychiatrists when the research was published.
Rosenhan - Data
The main type of data gathered by Rosenhan in his research was qualitative data such as the 'real' patients voicing their suspicions about the pseudo-patients or the nurses judging the pseudo-patients behaviour as pathological. Gathering qualitative data was an advantage as it allowed Rosenhan to gather a more detailed and in-depth understanding of whether psychiatrists can differentiate the sane from the insane within psychiatric hospitals.
Rosen also gathered quantitative data, such as the total number of days the pseudo- patients were kept in each hospital or the average daily contact time with psychiatrists. By gathering such quantitative data Rosenhan was able to easily make comparison between the hospitals to see if finding were consistent across the study.
Rosenhan - Sample
Rosenhan's sample consisted of a variety of psychiatric institutions - modern and old, well staffed and poorly staffed. Such a sample is an advantage as it means that Rosenhan's findings should be generalisable to all US psychiatric hospitals.
However as only US psychiatric hospitals were used, Rosenhans finding can not be representative of Psychiatric hospitals from countries outside of the US and so the sample is therefore ethnocentric.