RESEARCH METHODS
SELF-REPORT
G541 PSYCHOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS
CHECKLIST: Self-Report
 Be able to describe the terms self-report, interview, questionnaire,
survey.
Know strengths and weaknesses of self-report in general, and
interviews, questionnaires and surveys specifically.
Be able to describe terms open/open-ended questions,
closed/closed-ended questions.
Know strengths and weaknesses of both open and closed questions.
Be able to describe the term rating scale. Useful also to be able to
describe, Likert scale.
Know strengths and weaknesses of rating scales in general .
ACTIVITY 1
Worksheet 1: KEY WORDS
Complete the key terms related to this topic
You can use the resources and internet to help
Each definition should be at least two sentences long
You should use these terms where appropriate in your responses to
exam questions
EXAMPLE ESQ: June 2009
A researcher is Interested In finding out why students at a large sixth form
college have decided to study psychology. He is going to use a self-report
questionnaire.
1(a). Suggest one open and one closed question that could be used to
investigate subject choice. (4)
(b). Discuss the validity of the closed question you have suggested to
investigate subject choice. (4)
2(a). Suggest how the researcher could use a random sampling technique
to get 40 psychology students to complete the questionnaire. (2)
(b). Evaluate the use of random sampling in this study. (4)
3(a). What is quantitative data? (2)
(b) Outline one strength and one weakness of quantitative data in this
study. (4)
TOTAL: 20 MARKS
RESOURCES: Self-Report
• Internet
• PowerPoint
• Exam Style Questions (ESQ)
ACTIVITY 2
Worksheet 2: Summary of the Self-Report Method
Outline key features of the self-report method
Identify ethical issues related to the self-report method
Outline strengths of the self-report method
Outline weaknesses of the self-report method
KEY FEATURES: Self-Report
Self-report is a method of data collection in which the participant
themselves answer questions about their behaviour, thoughts and
feelings. Questions may be asked in an interview or in the form of a
questionnaire that participants are asked to respond to.
 Instead of using an objective method of data collection, participants are asked to make
subjective judgements.
Interviews are ac commonly used technique in clinical psychology and psychotherapy.
They can be structured, semi structured or unstructured.
Usually self-report questions are responded to by participants themselves, although
occasionally others respond for them e.g. In the case of small children or people with
learning difficulties who are unable to respond on their own behalf.
The most common form of self-report in psychological investigations is the
questionnaire or psychological measure.
As with observations, self-report is a method in its own right, but it is also frequently
incorporated into experiments
ACTIVITY 3
Worksheet 3: Studies that use Self-Reporting Techniques
Reicher & Haslam
Thigpen & Cleckley
Rosenhan
Griffiths
Studies that use self-reporting
Study
Reicher &
Haslam
Thigpen &
Cleckley
Rosenhan
Griffiths
Approach
Role of
Self-Report
Method of Self Report:
QUESTIONNAIRES
KEY FEATURES: Questionnaires
Questionnaires and psychological tests such as personality test and IQ
tests are all self-report measures.
Questions in a questionnaire can be open or closed.
Open questions area open ended and allow free rein in answering
them.
Closed questions have a limited number of possible responses. They
can be questions that require a simple yes/no answer or they require an
answer from a range of possible answers.
Questionnaires frequently use rating scale. They can consist of
questions ore statements that participants respond to on a scale (e.g.
Likert scale) where responses may take the form of ‘strongly disagree’
to ‘strongly agree’ on a scale of 1-4 where 1=strong disagree and
4=strongly agree.
If participants have to select answers from a range of possible
responses they can be referred to as forced-choice questions.
OVERVIEW: Questionnaires
Nature & Use
Set of questions
Design: open (qual) or closed (quan)
Advantages
•A lot of data can be collected
•Does not require specialist administrators
•People are more willing to answer embarrassing
or personal questions on an anonymous written
questionnaire than in a face-to-face interview
Disadvantages
•Leading questions, social desirability bias
•Biased samples
Ethical Issues
Confidentiality
Privacy
Method of Self Report:
INTERVIEW
KEY FEATURES: Interviews
Unstructured - Structured - Semi Structured
a.
Unstructured interview
In an unstructured interview there is no predetermined structure in the
interview, although the interviewer will normally have some goal or sense of
direction in mind. The interviewer will ask open-ended questions and the
answers given by the interviewee stimulate new questions. The directed but
unstructured interview is the type of interview normally used in a therapeutic
context as a therapist’s aim will enable the patient to talk.
b.
Structured interview
In a structured interview the interviewer has a predetermined list of questions
which they stick to. Respondents are all asked the same questions in the same
order.
c.
Semi-Structured interview
In a semi-structured interview the interviewer has a list of questions but the
approach is flexible and can be shaped by the interviewee’s responses.
OVERVIEW: Interviews
Nature & Use
Questions can be predetermined, or created
in response to answers.
Design: structured/ unstructured questions
Advantages
•Lots of ‘rich’ data
•Telephone interviews
Disadvantages •Social desirability bias, interview bias
•Requires skilled personnel
Ethical Issues
Confidentiality
Privacy
EVALUATION:
Different types of self-report methods
Strengths
Weaknesses
Unstructured
Interview
Allows collection of rich,
qualitative data
Hard to compare
responses
Structured/
Semi-Structured
interview
Enable comparisons between
participants responses
Limit interviewees
responses, so full
information is not gained.
Open ended
questions
Enable freedom to answer as
they choose
Makes statistical analysis
difficult
Close questions
Enable collection of
quantitative data and
therefore make statistical
analysis possible
Limit interviewees
responses, so full
information is not gained.
EVALUATION: Self-Reports
STRENGTHS
•Valuable method of investigating thoughts and feelings.
•Practical research method that enables collection of
large amount of data.
•Measures are usually standardised and can be
reproduced
•Can produce numerical data that can easily be analysed
•Self report is subjective and lacks scientific rigour
•Interviewing can be time consuming and not usually
conducted on large samples
WEAKNESSES •It is not possible to gauge whether respondents are
telling the truth in their responses.
•Requires respondents to recall events or feelings, which
effects reliability.
PROCEDURE: Overview
5-7 marks




Good description of procedure
Good evaluation of procedure
2 strengths
2 weaknesses
Describe (4 marks)
•Type
•Timing (20 min)
•Who
•Location
•When (time of day)
•IV/DV
8-10 marks

In-depth description of procedure,
including use of specialist terms
 In-depth evaluation of procedure
 3+ strengths
 3+ weaknesses
 Good use of grammar and limited
spelling mistakes.
Evaluate (6 marks)
•Reliability
•Validity
•Ethics
PROCEDURE: Plan
1.
2.
3.
4.
What the researcher is going to do step by step.
If it’s an observational method- what behaviour is going to be observed?
Have you classified the behaviour and created a coding system? Have all
the observers been chosen and given training on what behaviour to
observe and record? How you chosen where the observation in going to
be?
Don’t forget your key terms- i.e. what type of experiment is it? - The
strengths and weaknesses of that experiment type? Sampling methodstrengths and weaknesses of your sampling method and anything which
might affect your sample (Cohort effect). Single Blind/Double Blind
procedure? Any type of control method such as counterbalancing for
repeated measures design? What type of design in it? Inter rater
reliability? Ecological Validity? Ability to generalise?
How about any ethical issues which might need to be considered for the
study? How might they affect the results? How might you deal with
them? (Remember-brief/debriefing for a laboratory experiment?)
Remember- relate all these to the experiment in question. Responses
need to be in context. If the experiment is a laboratory experimentinclude factors that affect laboratory experiments such as low Ecological
validity which means it’s difficult to generalise outside a lab setting.
PROCEDURE: Self-Report
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
Decide aim and research question & hypothesis
Identify research method being used
Identify variables
Plan procedure: obtain ethics approval, outline how
you will carry out this research, give examples of
questions
Possibly run pilot study in order to check feasibility
Outline details of how you will collect data
If, appropriate, thank and debriefed pts
Analyse data, produce findings and draw conclusions
Write report of practical investigation
ACTIVITY 4
Worksheet 4: Exam Style Questions (ESQ)
Complete the following ESQ for self-report
Example ESQ: June 2009
Scenario 1: Modernising Supermarkets
Scenario 2: School Library
Scenario 3: Holiday Preferences
Scenario 4: Happiness Levels
EXAMPLE ESQ: June 2009
A researcher is Interested In finding out why students at a large sixth form
college have decided to study psychology. He is going to use a self-report
questionnaire.
1(a). Suggest one open and one closed question that could be used to
investigate subject choice. (4)
(b). Discuss the validity of the closed question you have suggested to
investigate subject choice. (4)
2(a). Suggest how the researcher could use a random sampling technique
to get 40 psychology students to complete the questionnaire. (2)
(b). Evaluate the use of random sampling in this study. (4)
3(a). What is quantitative data? (2)
(b) Outline one strength and one weakness of quantitative data in this
study. (4)
TOTAL: 20 MARKS
Exam Style Questions: Self-Report
Scenario 1
A large supermarket has decided to modernise its premises. The
manager proposes to conduct a survey, asking customers what sort
of refreshment/eating and drinking facilities they would like in the
updated store. The survey will gather quantitative data.
1a. Sketch an appropriate chart for recording the findings of this
study (4)
1b. Describe one limitation of the quantitative data will be recorded
on this chart (2)
2. Identify two ethical issues the manager needs to consider when
conducting this survey, and suggest how they could be managed (6)
3. Outline an appropriate procedure the manager could follow for
this study (8)
1
Fictional category
Number of pupils
Science fiction
20
Fantasy
20
Crime
15
Thrillers
12
War
10
Romance
15
Historical
10
Humour
18
Scenario 2
A school librarian asked pupils to
complete a questionnaire about
the types of books they would like
to see in the school’s fiction
library. Pupils were asked to
select three fictional categories.
The school had a population of
500 pupils, 40 of whom returned
a completed questionnaire to the
librarian.
1a. Sketch an appropriate graph to represent the findings of this study (3)
1b. Draw one conclusion from the findings of this study (2)
2. Suggest why the findings of this study may not be valid (3)
3a. Suggest how the librarian could have obtained a random sample for this study (3)
3b. Describe one strength of using random sampling in this study (3)
4. Outline an alternative way the librarian could have measured the pupil’s fictional
book preferences (6)
2
Exam Style Questions: Self-Report
Scenario 3
A researcher used a structured interview to investigate people’s
holiday preferences. He used open and closed questions to gather
both quantitative and qualitative data about where people preferred
to go on holiday, what type of holiday they enjoyed the most and
what type of accommodation suited them best.
1a. Describe the terms ‘open question’ and ‘closed question’ (4)
1b. Give an appropriate ‘open question’ that could have used in this study
(2)
2a. Describe a sampling technique the researchers could have used to
obtain a suitable sample in this study (2)
2b. Describe one strength of using this sampling technique for this study (2)
3. Discuss the issues of reliability and validity in relation to this study (10)
3
Exam Style Questions: Self-Report
Scenario 4
An office manager wanted to compare people’s happiness levels on
Monday mornings with their happiness levels of Friday morning, to see if
the through of coming to work for the next five days influenced their mood
more then the though of the forthcoming weekend break. She decided to
do this using a questionnaire in which participants had to apply a rating
scale to reflect their levels of happiness.
1a. Describe an appropriate rating scale for this study (3)
1b. Outline one weakness of using a rating scale in this study (2)
2a. Describe the type of data gathered in this study (2)
2b. Outline one strength of this type of data in relation to this study (2)
3a. Suggest an appropriate alternative one-tailed hypothesis for this study
(3)
3b. Explain what makes your hypothesis one-tailed (2)
4. Briefly discuss the issue of reliability in relation to this study (6)
4