Methods of social psychology: from research to training
Like any other science, social psychologyuses methods: scientific research, data processing and training. And also inherent exclusively in psychological sciences - therapeutic and teaching methods.
Methods of research in social psychology
It is thanks to them that each science is enriched with new data, on the basis of which it is possible to build theories, enrich the theoretical base of science with new facts.
For research, young science uses methods borrowed from sociology and psychology:
- Observation is the very first method of investigation,used in psychology to describe behavior and internal self-feelings. It is still used in practice, but it is necessary in combination with other methods.
- Survey - the most common method of conductingsociological research, allows you to get a lot of information from a large number of people. However, these data are difficult to analyze (to deduce the percentage of respondents with different opinions). And its main drawback is the inability to evaluate results in terms of reliability. Therefore, the survey is also used in combination with other methods, more reliable.
- The experiment is mostly differentthe ability to change circumstances (factors) to test changes in people's behavior. Since the birth of psychology as a science experiments have been put on both humans and rats (sometimes their behavior is very similar to the human, for example, in a pack). But with the advent of ethical standards, the experimenters found themselves with bound hands: it is impossible not to tell a person about what quality is measured in the experiment without damaging the reliability and purity of the experiment. But resourceful scientists can not abandon experiments, because this is the most effective method, which sometimes provides the most unique data on human behavior.
- Analysis of the products of human activities bringsa lot of interesting data, especially in cases where it is impossible to use other methods (a person is not alive, or he does not make contact). The analysis consists in the search for repetitive regularities, for example, in works of art, in documents compiled by one person. Some of them testify to the clearly expressed features of the personality of the object of investigation.
- Testing. Serious psychological tests with the scale of truth provided in them (test questions for assessing the reliability of test results) allow one to delve more deeply into the knowledge of the personality of one person or in the knowledge of one quality of people with the same characteristics (for example, age, sex, social status). Tests are a diagnostic tool, they bring valuable data to science. Unfortunately, to date, very few tests meet the requirements imposed on them as a scientific method of diagnosis. And not everyone will develop a new one. Therefore, in social psychology, they are rarely resorted to.
Methods of social psychology (each of them inalone or in combination with others) are used to study an actual problem or an interesting phenomenon. But to make a discovery or bring new information and facts to science, it is not enough just to choose a method. The same requirements apply to socio-psychological research as to other sciences: a clear formulation of the research object, hypotheses, analysis of existing facts, confirmation or refutation of the hypothesis by mathematical calculations, verification of the findings is necessary. For these actions, science resorts to the following group of methods.
Methods of social psychology for data processing
As a result of the research, psychologists receivenumber: the reaction time after the introduction of a certain factor in the experiment, the level of manifestation of psychological quality, and so on. For the processing of these data, mathematical methods are used: the determination of the average values for the group, and for the confirmation or refutation of the hypothesis, factor analysis. Also use the method of expert assessments. And all this for translating numbers into new meanings for psychology.
Therapeutic methods of social psychology
Another group of methods aimed at developing personal skills, properties or treating clients. These include art therapy (painting treatment), color therapy, bodily methods and psychodrama.
Methods of psychologists-trainers
Rarely isolated in a separate group of methods,used by psychologists-trainers (analysis of the conflict situation, brainstorming and others). Their services are in demand in companies where the interaction of people is important, teamwork. Psychologists are able at the expense of motivation to encourage employees to work effectively with colleagues. In this goal, practitioners laid the whole point of the existence of the science of social psychology. It is in the interaction in groups, in collectives, that we spend most of our lives, both at work and at home, in the family. We are rarely alone. Thus the priority direction of science is declared - interactionism in social psychology. And it (science) is called upon to study the processes of interaction with other people, to explain them and to give people knowledge on the optimization of these processes. Therefore among the methods of science are also called the methods of teaching and developing the group (games and trainings), also performed under the guidance of psychologists-trainers.
The methods of social psychology make it possible to scientifically justify new knowledge, without them it would be impossible for the existence of such an interesting theoretical field.