Research Methods

Where Do Research Ideas Come From?

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The Researcher's Ideas Based on Observations, Interests, etc.

Example: Kitty Genovese was murdered in front of three dozen witnesses, none of whom took any steps to help her. A researcher may wonder why this happened?

A Problem in Need of a Solution

Example: It is clear that there is a problem with binge drinking in this country. What problems does it cause for college students? How can we deal with it?

Some Questions are Answered, but New Questions Arise

Example: We know that sex education in schools helps students. What kinds of sex education programs will work best?

A Theory Predicts that Some Behavior Will Occur

Example: Psychodynamic (e.g., Freudian) theory explained that autism was a result of "refrigerator mothers." How can we tell if this is actually the case?


How Does Theory Affect Research?

Source: Spear, J. H. (2007). Prominent schools or other active specialties? A fresh look at some trends in psychology. Review of General Psychology, 11(4), 363-380. Copyright American Psychological Association. Reprinted with permission.


What Affects the Methodology You Use in Your Research?

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Last modified: November 2021