Major Movements in Psychology

Psychology As a Science

Do all psychological studies use numbers?

Most psychological studies are quantitative and rely on the translation of psychological traits and behaviors into variables that can be analyzed statistically. Qualitative research, however, also has a place in psychological research. In qualitative research a smaller number of subjects are observed or interviewed intensively. The observations are recorded not in numbers but in a long, detailed narrative. From these narratives, the researcher identifies themes that can be explored with greater precision in later quantitative research. Thus, qualitative research is hypothesis generating vs. hypothesis testing. It is more broad-based and open-ended than quantitative research but less precise and reproducible. It is best understood as a preliminary type of research.


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