Psychological Research: Being a Wise Consumer As psychological research is widely prevalent today, evaluating researchclaims is important. The two most dependable scientific research tools are random sampling and experimental manipulation based on random assignment.
Psychological Research: Being a Wise Consumer.
Psychological research is now widely prevalent, and influences almost every aspect of our daily lives. In this scenario, as consumers of products and ideas based on psychological research, it is very important to develop the skill to objectively evaluate research claims.
Valid research claims must be based on hard evidence and not on opinions. Scientists evaluate a particular claim based on the methods used to make the claim. The two most dependable scientific research tools are random sampling and experimental manipulation based on random assignment.
Random sampling is a very effective technique in psychological research. It involves the estimate of the attitudes and preferences of a very large group based on the responses of a small sample group. A true random sample ensures that everyone in the larger group has equal chances of being selected for the sample group, which is truly representative of the larger group. Non-response bias must be avoided, by considering the implications of the failure of people to respond to a survey. Research claims based on random sampling are only applicable to the particular group sampled and cannot be generalized for other populations.
Experimental research is based on random assignment which ensures that people in a study group have equal chances of being assigned to a specific experimental condition. This ensures that the study group consists of two identical groups: one which is assigned to the experimental condition and another which is not, which can be manipulated based on various factors.
Using longitudinal study, with a pretest and a post-test often ignore the fact that people change over time. Sound research claims require the use of control groups. Many other factors such as honesty of respondents, researcher bias, sample size and conflict of interests affect research claims. But random sampling and random assignment in experimental research remain the best means of evaluating psychological research.
How to be a Wise Consumer of Psychological Research. 2012. American Psychological
Association. Retrieved from
http://www. apa. org/research/action/mer. aspx