METHODS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH, General characteristics of...


As a result of studying this chapter, students will:


• the essence and main purpose of psychological research methods, possible grounds for their classification;

• the basic requirements for writing a scientific report;

be able to

• distinguish between research and diagnostic problems and methods of psychology;

• compare the possibilities of comparative and longitudinal methods of research, qualitative and quantitative data processing;


• the basic conceptual apparatus of the theory of organization of psychological research.

General characteristics of psychological research methods

The method in the broadest sense of the word can be defined as a method of cognition, an approach to studying the phenomena of nature and social life.

Methods of psychological science can be classified in different ways, for different reasons. In the previous chapter, we were actually turning to one of the classifications of psychological methods - dividing them according to the goals of the psychologist's work into correctional, diagnostic and research.

Correction methods differ from the other two groups in that they are not aimed at collecting information at all. Their goal is to change something in the person himself, or in his view of the problem situation, or the situation itself to overcome the difficulties that a person has turned to a psychologist.

Diagnostic methods are aimed at collecting data on the psychological characteristics of an individual. In scientific research, such methods, if used, are only used as auxiliary methods. The fact is that, as a rule, they are ineffective for achieving their own research goals. After all, the very precise and detailed descriptions of individuals obtained with their help are difficult to unify and unify, spread to other people, as the goals of scientific research usually require. Closest of all, diagnostic methods are combined with methods of qualitative research, which, however, are also rarely used in serious scientific works.

Research methods are aimed at identifying common patterns in the functioning of the psyche, which are valid if not for all people in general, for a significant part of them. On the basis of knowledge of these laws, psychologists solve two basic problems of scientific research in psychology - the explanation and prediction of human behavior. Methods of scientific research suggest the collection of data on the regularities underlying the relationship of various psychological properties to each other and the basis for their manifestation in behavior, as well as the patterns of their functioning and development. At the same time, the received data are "collective", they do not say anything about the individual person. This is their main difference from the methods of psychological diagnosis.

In accordance with the mentioned objectives of scientific research, two main directions of scientific research in psychology can be distinguished:

• study the patterns of functioning and development of the psyche, such as, for example, a reaction to frustration, psychological features that distinguish people from heart disease from healthy, etc.,

• Development of methods for researching and diagnosing psychological features, methods of influence (correction of the psyche) - for example, translation of an already existing questionnaire into another language, developing an induction procedure for emotions, creating educational programs for children with developmental disabilities, etc.

Studies in both directions are conducted using two groups of methods. Methods of scientific research are divided into methods of data collection and methods of data processing. Since these methods are associated with the receipt and convenient presentation of data collected empirically, they are commonly referred to as empirical methods. More often, however, this term refers only to methods of data collection. In the following, we shall adhere to this narrower meaning of empirical methods.

The methods of data collection (empirical methods) are aimed at obtaining psychological information from the test subjects, while the data processing methods are aimed at processing, correctly presenting and drawing adequate conclusions from information collected using empirical methods.


However, the researcher's work includes both procedures for working with experimental material, as well as purely theoretical work related to the identification of the scientific problem of research proper, with the development of its overall design and the strategy of the research psychologist, as well as the theoretical interpretation of the newly obtained facts .

Therefore, in a scientific study, there are four main stages:

- planning and organization of research;

- collection of new scientific data;

- data processing;

- interpretation.

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