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Study notes

Self-Report Techniques

  • Levels: AS, A Level
  • Exam boards: AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB

Self-report techniques describe methods of gathering data where participants provide information about themselves without interference from the experimenter.

Such techniques can include questionnaires, interviews, or even diaries, and ultimately will require giving responses to pre-set questions.

Evaluation of self-report methods

Strengths:

- Participants can be asked about their feelings and cognitions (i.e. thoughts), which can be more useful than simply observing behaviour alone.

- Scenarios can be asked about hypothetically without having to physically set them up and observe participants’ behaviour.

Weaknesses:

- Gathering information about thoughts or feelings is only useful if participants are willing to disclose them to the experimenter.

- Participants may try to give the ‘correct’ responses they think researchers are looking for (or deliberately do the opposite), or try to come across in most socially acceptable way (i.e. social desirability bias), which can lead to giving untruthful responses.

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