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When conducting psychological research there are three main research designs that researchers use. All three research designs can collect, analyze and interpret data, but each have important differences. Name and describe each of the three research designs. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of each design. Give a research example of each design.
The three research designs are descriptive research, correlational research, and experimental research.
Descriptive research provides a description or snapshot of the current state of affairs or some phenomenon in order to understand the nature of that phenomenon. Advantages of descriptive research is that it provides a complete picture of the situation and is often real world or events that are naturally occurring. Disadvantages are that there is no statistical relationship, beyond anecdotal evidence, that are studied; causal influence cannot be inferred, and it is difficult to determine which variables are influential in the study due to the inability to repeatedly measure all of the variables and to even know what all of the variables are.
Correlational research tests relationship between two or more variables. Advantages of correlational research are statistical tests to show the relationship is unlikely to occur due to chance, the ability to make predictions about future outcomes, and it can be used to assess real-world events. The main disadvantage is that no causal relationship can be inferred from the relationship of the variables.
Experimental research is used to asses the causal relationship between two or more variables by manipulating independent variables and testing the causal impact on a dependent variable. While it is more difficult to assess real-world events, experimental research has all of the other advantages of correlational research in addition to the ability for causal inference. Disadvantages are the difficulty to manipulate important variables or many variables at one time and the cost of conducting experiments.
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