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Types of Self-Report


- Written methods of gaining data

- Completed by the participant 

- Researcher is not needed during completion 

- Can be paper-based or electronic


- Direct verbal questionning by an interviewer to an interviewee

- Can be done in person or over phone

- 3 structures of interviews, structured, semi-structured and unstructured

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Links to core studies

Loftus and Palmer - Questionnaire on broken glass / speed estimates

Grant et al - SAQ and MCQ questionnaire

Bandura - Rating of aggression from teachers to make the matched pairs

Chaney - Parents reporting the childs behaviour / questionnaire

Freud - Father reported Littles Han's behaviour to Freud

Baron-Cohen - The eyes task / all tasks

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StructuredWhen there is a fixed set of questions and responses

Advantages - Using the same q's makes the it standardised, replicable and easy to compare

Disadvantages - Cannot ask questions - Prevent from clarifying questions

Semi-structured - Interviewer given guidelines on questions

Advantages - Allows extra questions to be asked - Able to clarify misunderstanding 

Disadvantages - Extra questions may vary between participants, making comparison hard

Unstructured - No fixed questions or ways of answering

Advantages - Allows for more depth and interesting topics to be discussed

Disadvantages - Can be difficult to compare responses from different participants

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Types of questions

Open questions - Where participants can answer in whatever style they chose 

Advantages - Easier and quicker to collect - Easily analysed and compared

Disadvantages - Can force an option to be picked - Lacks reason why an option was picked

Closed questions - Where participants are given a set answer to pick from

Advantages - Provides more detailed data - Doesnt force participants to give a certain response

Disadvantages - Time consuming to complete and analysis - Responses may not be relevent to what researchers desired 

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Rating Scales

Likert Scales

Used to measure attitudes to certain statements and whether a participant agrees, disagrees with the statement etc. 

Owning a pet gives support and happiness 

Strongly agree / Agree / Undecided / Disagree / Strongly disagree

Semantic Differentials

Participants have to respond on a numberical scale as to how much they agree. They make use of polar opposite terms, e.g. big, small.


Big ____   ____   ____   ____   ____   ____ Small

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Ethical Issues

Confidentiality - Respondants may be ask names, age or sex which should avoided.

Deception - Irrevlant filler questions may be used to decieve the participants of the aim of the experiment.

Harm - Asking sensitive / personal questions may cause psychological harm to the participant.

Informed consent - May feel pressured into answering questions when an interviewer asks them.

Interviewer bias - The way the interviewer behaves may make someone feel uncomfortable

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