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Western University
Psychology 2310A/B
Rod Martin

Research Methods in Abnormal Psychology Research Questions in Abnormal Psychology Description Symptomatology Epidemiology Etiology Treatment Epidemiological Research Large-scale surveys of the general population Incidence – number of new cases of a disorder in a year Prevalence – frequency of a disorder at a given point in time Lifetime Prevalence – proportion of the population who meet criteria for diagnosis at some point in their life Risk factors, mediators, moderators The Case Study Uses of Case Studies Generate hypotheses for further research Challenge theoretical assumptions Demonstrate new therapy techniques Detailed description of rare phenomena Limitations of Case Studies Low Internal Validity Selectivity of memory – observer bias Subjective evidence Insufficient evidence of causality – confounds, no controls Low External Validity Lack of repeatability Lack of generalizability Single-Subject Experimental Designs ABAB Design (Reversal) Correlational Studies Statistical association between variables Range from -1.0 to 0 to +1.0 No manipulation of variables Advantages Good external validity Quantitative, objective, rigorous Repeatable, generalizable Useful when experiment can’t be done for ethical or practical reasons Disadvantage Internal validity problem: Direction of causality can’t be proved Some Partial solutions Control statistically for possible confounding variables Quasi-experiments - matched controls However, still correlational studies No manipulation of independent variable Longitudinal research (e.g., high risk) The Experiment Experimental and Control Groups Random assignment to groups Independent and Dependent Variables E.g., Double-blind placebo designs Strengths Good internal validity: direction of causality Limitations Possible external valid
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