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Research Methods – Experimental Methodology

4. Self-Report Methods

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About this Lecture


In this lecture, we think about self-report methods, which ask participants to directly report on aspects of themselves, focusing in particular on: (i) distinguishing between structured and unstructured self-reports, with semi-structured bisecting those two formats; (ii) advantages of structured self-reports being that they make it quick and easy to collect large volumes of quantitative data with minimal training for the interviewer; (iii) downsides of structured self-reports, including the shallowness of the data collected as well as the limited response options and adaptability; (iv) the ability for semi-structured and unstructured self-reports generate richer data and enable greater exploration of responses; (v) the limitations of semi-structured and unstructured self-reports, including that their length and complexity limit the number of potential respondents, as well as implanting them being more challenging for the interviewer(s) and much more difficult to replicate; (vi) how structured and semi-structured self-report methods have been implemented in research, using examples such as the Next Steps longitudinal study and Vaughan’s study on violent media consumption.


Self-Report – In psychology, this is any test, measure or survey that relies on participants reporting directly on their behaviours, attitudes, feelings or characteristics.


In this course, Dr Peter Allen (University of Bristol) explores the experimental structure and methodology that underlies much of the research that informs our psychological theories. In the first lecture, we introduce the gold standard of psychological research: the true experiment. In the second lecture, we break down the term ‘experiment’ by highlighting the definitions of quasi and natural experiments. In the third lecture, we think about the commonly practiced experiment alternative, the observational study – a key aspect of a natural experiment. Next, we build on module three by focusing on the self-report methods which are often used in observational studies. In the fifth lecture, we move to the post-procedure aspect of experimentation by approaching correlations and what they mean in the analysis of results. In the sixth lecture, we bring to light content analysis, a lesser studied qualitative method of categorising and analysing experimental results. In the seventh and final lecture, we think about case studies, the divisive method of study which is in equal part invaluable and useless!


Dr Peter Allen is a senior lecturer in the School of Psychological Science at the University of Bristol. Dr Allen’s research interests are in evidence-based learning and teaching in higher education, with a focus on statistical literacy; specifically on understanding the barriers that psychology students can face when learning research methods and statistics. A goal of this research is to derive strategies that can help students become better researchers and scientific thinkers. Some of Dr Allen’s recent publications include 'Training Structural Awareness with StatHand' (2022) and 'Research Performance of Academic Psychologists in the United Kingdom' (2022).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Allen, P. (2022, January 07). Research Methods – Experimental Methodology - Self-Report Methods [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Allen, P. "Research Methods – Experimental Methodology – Self-Report Methods." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 07 Jan 2022,

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