[SOLVED] 1-1 Discussion: Research Methods

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[SOLVED] 1-1 Discussion: Research Methods
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This discussion will focus on the following research methods used in personality psychology:

  • Correlational studies
  • Experimental studies
  • Case methods

Imagine your team is applying for a grant to conduct a major study in personality psychology. Before getting into the specifics of the study, the team leader has asked each team member to discuss one of the different research methods available in personality psychology. You will be assigned a research method based on the first letter of your last name (MY ASSIGNED RESEARCH METHOD IS EXPERIMENTAL METHODS!).

Your initial post will describe the assigned research method and how it is implemented. Discuss how personality researchers use the method and also discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the research method assigned. Be sure to mention the appropriate applications of the method you are describing. The overall goal here is to inform the team about the appropriate use of your research method as well as its strengths and weaknesses. Your instructor may reassign research methods as needed for this discussion, so check the announcements for any reassignments.

First Letter of Last Name Research Method
A–H Correlational: Longitudinal Studies
I–P Experimental Methods
Q–Z Case Study Research Methods

Respond to two peers’ posts that examine the other two research methods. Compare the strengths and weaknesses of their methods with your own. Are there similarities and differences to applications for the methods you are comparing?

To complete this assignment, review the Discussion Rubric document.



A case study is a descriptive and exploratory analysis of a person, group or event. Case studies aim to analyze specific issues. A case study is one of the most obvious and frequently used research design. All sciences used the case study method design (Funder, 2016).

There are three types of case studies:

1- single instrumental case study (just one issue/concern),

2- collective/multiple case study (several cases to illustrate that issue/concern),

3- intrinsic case study (studies the case without first focusing on an issue/case). Its design can be divided into three categories: explanatory, descriptive and explanatory. Explanatory case studies aims to explain the “how” and “why”. Descriptive case studies aim to analyze the sequence of events after an amount of time has passed. Exploratory case studies aim to find answers of “what” or “who”.

Appropriate methods used in case studies include: interviews, surveys, focus groups, observations and in some case, field trials. Utilizing a case study allows the understanding of complex issues. It is an in-depth and intensive study of a particular situation.

The strengths of the case study design is that you can focus on specifics. A lot of data is collected when conducting case studies but that’s the beauty of it because through comparison and differences is how researchers find results. Case studies provide detailed information. They also provide insight for further research. A weakness of a case study is that a lot of data is collected which can makes it difficult to organize and analyzed. Another weakness is that the degree to which its findings can be generalized is unknown (Funder, 2016). Case studies are time-consuming and can be difficult to replicate.

According to Alpi & Evans (2019) it’s important to distinguish the difference between case study and case reports. Case reports provide an exploration of a phenomenon by a trainee in the health professions (Alpi & Evans, 2019). They are a familiar way of sharing events but vary in content to case studies. These publications are useful and well written but are much shorter and less rich in depth than case studies.


Alpi, K. M., & Evans, J. J. (2019). Distinguishing case study as a research method from case reports as a publication type. Journal of the Medical Library Association, 107(1), 1–5. https://doi-org.ezproxy.snhu.edu/10.5195/jmla.2019.615

Funder, D. C. (2016). The personality puzzle. New York, NY. W.W. Norton & Company.


There are three main types of research designs used in personality psychology: experimental, correlational, and case studies. In the social sciences, as in the life sciences, a case study focuses on a specific individual or event to understand a given phenomenon, giving the researcher the ability to get an in-depth and detailed examination of the subject of interest (Funder, 2016). Case studies are also used to understand a complex or multi-faceted issue in a real-world context, particularly when the issue is an extreme or novel one. Case studies have been employed extensively in psychology, including the study of Phineas Gage in understanding how the brain influences behavior, including personality (Damasio, 2018). Renowned psychologist Sigmund Freud frequently used case studies to understand behavior, including the case of the “Rat Man” in obsessive-compulsive disorder and Little Hans and his horse phobia (Goldberg, 1996). Another popular case study is the study of Genie the Feral Child wherein researches were able to focus on how isolation, neglect, and abuse impacted personality and behavior.

A case study may involve direct observation of the subject, as well as unstructured interviews with the subject and reviewing any diaries or notes that the subject kept. In psychology, case studies are best used in understanding atypical behavior. In personality psychology, this could include observing and studying someone displaying high levels of certain personality traits to better understand different personality disorders. Case studies could also be useful in personality psychology for studying how traumatic events can shape personality, such as in cases similar to those of Genie or Phineas Gage.

As with all research designs, case studies have their advantages and disadvantages. The primary advantage of a case study is that it allows the researcher to get an in-depth look at the area of interest, providing them the opportunity to incorporate all of the pieces into the problem instead of examining isolated variables. With their attention focused on a small-scale problem rather than a large-scale incident, researchers are better able to pick up on smaller details and observe the whole person rather than just bits and pieces. Another strength of the case study is that it allows researchers to develop hypotheses and theories that can be further tested and solidified. Therefore, case studies are excellent starting points in research. As with most things, a strength can also result in a weakness. While the case study can help to advance research and our understanding of personality, its limited scope also presents a problem when it comes to generalizing any findings onto the overall population. As, by definition only a few people, and oftentimes only one person, are observed and studied during a case study, it is hard to say that those findings apply to everyone as each person is unique. It is also hard to say which facts gleaned from a case study are crucial to furthering our understanding of personality, and human behavior in general, and which facts are merely incidental. As such, this is where more inclusive research designs, such as correlational and experimental studies, come into play (Funder, 2016).


Damasio, H. (2018). Phineas Gage: the brain and the behavior. Revue Neurologique, 174(10), 738-739. doi:10.1016/j.neurol.2018.09.005

Funder, D. C. (2016). The personality puzzle (7th ed.). K. Barton (Ed.). New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Goldberg, C. (1996). Review of Freud’s case studies—self-psychological perspectives. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 13(3), 449-451. doi:10.1037/h0085211

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