Psychological January 16, 2018 As part of this assignment,

Psychological Research Methods

Alyssa Roberge

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Rowan Cabarrus Community College

January 16, 2018





As part of this assignment, an online psychological
research study named, “The Pet Effect” was examined. Studies or surveys are research methods used to ask
a large group of people about their beliefs or behaviors. (Pastorino
& Doyle-Portillo, 2013, p.24 or 1-4c) This research is being investigated by Michelle Fernandes, an
undergraduate psychology student at Nottingham Trent University. The study involves
answering survey questions and is estimated to take 30 minutes to complete.

This study was an example of positive psychology, examining the relationship between pet ownership, pet attachment,
social support and its mediating effects on empathy, self-compassion and
wellbeing with a specific focus on depressive symptoms.” (Nottingham Trent University, 2018).  The survey is open to anyone between the ages
of 18 and 30. The researchers top priority is to maintain the participants’
anonymity and confidentiality by not
sharing any personal information (Pastorino & Doyle-Portillo, 2013, 1-5a). Before
beginning the study, the researcher uses informed consent by providing
information about the possible risks before the participant consents to their
answers being recorded (Pastorino & Doyle-Portillo, 2013, 1-5a).

The survey included a range of questions about owning
pets and ability to express emotions, which could possibly be altered by the
ownership of a pet. The survey took about 20 minutes to complete from start to
finish. Demographic based questions like age, ethnicity, and country of
residence, native language and relationship status.  (Nottingham University, 2018).

When wanting to conduct research, psychologists will
use the scientific method to test their
proposed hypotheses (Pastorino & Doyle-Portillo, 2013, 1-4a). There are a
variety of methods of research they can utilize when collecting their data.

Those methods are: case studies, naturalistic observation, surveys,
correlational studies, and experiments. 

Case studies are an in-depth observation of one
particular participant. It is difficult to take the results of a case study and
imply that those results apply to everyone (Pastorino & Doyle-Portillo,
2013, 1-4c). Naturalistic observation would be observing behaviors in the
environment they would normally occur. Naturalistic studies are predominantly
used to achieve the goals of prediction and description (Pastorino &
Doyle-Portillo, 2013, 1-4c) Surveys ask a large group of participants about their
beliefs and or behaviors which could be an effective form of research as long
as the questions are worded correctly. A survey can be a hit or miss and it all
depends on the researchers choice of wording. Correlational studies observe the
relationship between two or more variables. Correlation studies allow
researchers to make predictions about behavior but they do not aid them in
drawing cause-and-effect conclusions.  Experiments test casual hypothesis. Experiments
can be conducted in many different ways. Researchers can conduct an experiment
where they manipulate the variable in order to produce different results (Pastorino
& Doyle-Portillo, 2013, 1-4c).

There are many advantages for researchers to
collect their data from participants over the Internet yet there are some
disadvantages. The main advantage to collecting research data online would be
the ability to obtain a large and diverse sample. A disadvantage would be
participants taking the survey multiple times so the results would not be
completely reliable. There are definitely more advantages that outweigh any

The main ethical principles as discussed in the
textbook include respect for participants’ dignity and welfare, informed
consent and confidentiality. The Institutional
Review Board reviews
proposed research studies to ensure they meet ethical guidelines. Researchers
must keep data received confidential and be given informed consent to let the
participants know they can withdraw from the study at any time.

is a need to replicate research studies because when a study is replicated, the
results can be checked for reliability. Replicating a study is crucial for
researchers to see if the results from a one time study are reliable or if they
were just a fluke. If I were to replicate the study I took, I would definitely change
the age range. I would not have it be limited to thirty years old because there
is definitely a lot to be told about the psychological benefits pets have on
people especially ones that are elderly, which are not represented in this