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Flashcards in Research Methods:Self Reports Deck (25):

What are the two main methods of self reports?




What are the advantages of self reports?

Allows more detailed access to participant thoughts and feelings

Enables psychologists to investigate what participants might think, feel or do in the future


What are the disadvantages of self reports?

They rely on participants being honest, articulate and insightful which might not always be the case.

Participants may feel the need to give socially desirable answers


What is a questionnaire?

Made up of a list of pre determined questions that may focus on opinions, past experiences or certain scenarios.


What are the different ways that a questionnaire can be administered!

Face to face in a private/public area

En masses to a group in a particular setting

Via the post/internet/phone


What are the advantages of questionnaires?

Cost effective and time efficient as they can be quickly administered to a large group of people.

When completed privately or anonymously then they can provide honest data, improving reliability.

Reduced involvement of the researcher lessons the risk of investigator effects on the behaviour of participants.


What are the limitations of questionnaires?

Response rates can be poor when administered without the researcher present so can be difficult to generalise findings.

Results may only represent a certain type of people as only certain people may return them such as those who have time.

Difficult to phrase questions in a way that are open to interpretation by the participants.

Response bias may occur when respondents ten to reply in a similar way.


What is a closed questionnaire?

It contains closed questions where the respondent is only permitted to choose from a fixed set of responses.


What are the strengths of closed questionnaires?

Require minimum effort to answer

Saves time,especially with analysis

Gives quantitative data which can be easily analysed

Good when asking questions with a finite clear cut answer

Provides control by requiring answers in a particular way.


What are the limitations of a closed questionnaire?

Can frustrate participants when their preferred answer isn't available.

Can create a lack of encouragement.

Lacks richness and depth

Longer questionnaires can cause fatigue

You need to know the range of answers to the questions.


What is an open questionnaire?

Contains open questions where the participant can say what they want with no restrictions.


What are the strengths of an open questionnaire?

Good way of accessing motivations and feelings

Offers flexibility to the respondents

Produces rich and in depth data


What are the limitations of an open questionnaire?

More time consuming for participants

Difficult to analyse

Questions may not be answered in helpful ways such as ambiguous responses


What do self report techniques require?

They require participants to somehow report on themselves.


What is an interview?

Interviews involve the researcher directly asking participants questions and recording their responses.


What are the strengths of interviews?

A well conducted interview can address sensitive complex issues that other methods are unable to do.

Interviews are a good source of qualitative data which is rich in detail.


What are the limitations of interviews?

Participants responses can be influenced easily by researchers.

Interviews only work best with participants who are confident, articulate and honest

Interviews are highly dependent on the skills of the interviewer especially with unstructured interviews.


What are structured interviews?

These use pre determined questions where the interviewer has already decided what they are going to ask about and the same questions are used with all the participants.


What are the strengths of structured interviews?

The method is standardised so data can be summarised easily and presented as percentages for particular responses.

Have set questions which make it easier to compare responses. This makes it easier to identify patterns and trends. Therefore, they are easier to quantify and analyse.

They are reliable, replicable and generalisable


What are the limitations of structured interviews?

Any interesting response which occurs spontaneously cannot be pursued as the researcher is restricted to asking all the respondents the exacts same questions in the same order .

Less valid and ignore data to restricted answers or sensitivity.


What is an unstructured interview?

An interview where the researcher has a general aim but there are no fixed questions. Participants are directly questioned based in the answers they give.


What are the strengths of an unstructured interview?

data gathered can be rich in detail, and the interviewer might find an explanation for the behaviour of that particular person being interviewed.

interviewer can follow new lines of enquiry. Interviewees may introduce relevant ideas that the researcher would not have thought to ask about in the original design.

results are more valid because the responses are given in greater depth without the researcher imposing their view on participants through questioning.

might also allow a professional to reach a diagnosis for a particular client's disorder.


What are the limitations of an unstructured interview?

difficult to collate the data from different and non-standardised interviews.

analysis of this data would be subjective, less scientific and more time consuming

cannot be replicated and generalised

not very reliable.


What is a semi-structured interview?

an interview where a list of questions have been worked out in advance but interviewers are also free to ask follow up questions when they feel it is appropriate.


How to write good questions?

avoid overuse of jargon

avoid emotive language and leading questions

avoid double-barrelled questions

avoid double negatives