Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Various Research Methods

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Various Research Methods

Experimental Method

Advantages of Experimental Method:

  • Precise control possible

Disadvantages of Experimental Method:

  • Artificial setting typical
  • Causal conclusions possible
  • Intrusiveness typically high
  • Precise measurement possible
  • Complex behaviors difficult to measure
  • Theory testing possible
  • Unstructured exploratory research difficult

Correlational Observation

Advantages of Correlational Observation:

  • Relationships between variables can be found

Disadvantages of Correlational Observation:

  • Causal conclusions impossible
  • Precise measurement usually possible
  • Control of variables difficult
  • Intrusiveness usually low
  • Many participants required


Advantages of Ethnography:

  • Unfamiliar situations can be described

Disadvantages of Ethnography:

  • Control of variables impossible
  • Complex behaviors can be described
  • Precise measurement difficult
  • Intrusiveness low
  • Investigator bias possible
  • Participants treated humanistically
  • Causal conclusions impossible

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Questionnaires


Advantages of Questionnaires:

  • Data collection efficient

Disadvantages of Questionnaires:

  • Causal conclusions impossible
  • Attitude or opinion can be measured
  • Self-reports difficult to verify
  • Unbiased sample selection difficult
  • Response rates low when mailed

Naturalistic Observation

Advantages of Naturalistic Observation:

  • Realistic setting helps generalization

Disadvantages of Naturalistic Observation:

  • Control of variables impossible
  • Intrusiveness low
  • Data collection inefficient
  • Investigator bias possible

Archival Research

Advantages of Archival Research:

  • No additional data collection required

Disadvantages of Archival Research:

  • Causal conclusions impossible
  • Rare behaviors can be studied
  • Appropriate records often not available
  • Nonmanipulable events can be studied
  • Data collected by nonscientists
  • Data usually correlational at best

Case History

Advantages of Case History:

  • Rare cases can bestudied

Disadvantages of Case History:

  • Control of variables impossible
  • Complex behavior can be intensively studied
  • Data often based on fallible memories
  • Investigator bias highly likely
  • Causal conclusions impossible

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