Research Methods: Advantages and Disadvantages

List the advantages and disadvantages of the following research methods:

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Research Method Advantages Disadvantages
Case Study Case studies provide rich detail that can be used to determine complex psychological problems. Case studies can also be used as tentative support for a theory or even as a challenge to a theory’s assumptions. Case studies offer a standard framework for professional collaboration. Case studies can also offer a source of new ideas about human behavior (Nevid & Rathus, 2005). Case studies are reported by those conducting the examination and therefore might contain bias, because the therapist might have a personal stake in the outcome. A second disadvantage is that case studies are dependent on subjective evidence gathered from the patient. Lastly, specific findings in one study might not be able to be applied to human behavior in general. This can limit the scope of the case study. 
Correlational Method The correlational method is more encompassing than the case study method because through the use of statistical analysis, observed subjects, and measured variables generalization beyond the actual participants is possible. One shortfall of the correlational method is that this method cannot describe the actual relationship between the correlations. 
Experimental Method Through the use of control groups, random assignment, and blind/double-blind design the experimental method can eliminate confounds, which might otherwise skew the results. The experimental method is able to isolate a single dependent variable, when used correctly, and ascertain as to whether that variable is the sole causal factor of the conclusion.   The results of the experiments can be confounded by experimenter bias, participant bias, or situational variables. As the experimental method is based on the scientific method, it is not aptly able to discover new ideas about human behavior, but rather only to observe foreseeable ones.   
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Nevid, J.S., & Rathus, S.A. (2005). Psychology and the challenges of life: Adjustment in the newmillennium (9th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.


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