By the end of this section, you will be able to:
Describe the different research methods used by psychologists
Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of case studies, naturalistic observation, surveys, and archival research
Compare longitudinal and cross-sectional approaches to research
Social psychologists are interested in the ways that other people affect thought, emotion, and behavior. To explore these concepts requires special research methods. Following a brief overview of traditional research designs, this module introduces how complex experimental designs, field experiments, naturalistic observation, experience sampling techniques, survey research, subtle and nonconscious techniques such as priming, and archival research and the use of big data may each be adapted to address social psychological questions. This module also discusses the importance of obtaining a representative sample along with some ethical considerations that social psychologists face.