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Research Methods – Experimental Methodology

4. Self-Report Methods

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This fourth lecture introduces self-report methods, which ask participants to directly report on aspects of themselves. The first distinction made is between structure and unstructured self-reports, with semi-structured bisecting those two formats. Advantages of structured self-reports are described as it being quick and easy to collect large volumes of quantitative data with minimal training for the interviewer. Downsides include the shallowness of the data collected as well as limited response options and adaptability. In contrast, semi-structured and unstructured self-reports generate richer data and enable greater exploration of responses, but their length and complexity limit the number of potential respondents, as well as being more challenging for the interviewer(s) and much more difficult to replicate. The latter part of this lecture explores 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. The first lecture introduces the gold standard in psychological research: the true experiment. The second lecture breaks down the term ‘experiment’ by highlighting the definitions of quasi and natural experiments. The third lecture brings to light the commonly practiced alternative to the experiment, in the form of observational studies – a key aspect of a natural experiment. The fourth lecture builds on lecture three by focusing on the self-report methods which are often used in observational studies. The fifth lecture moves to the post-procedure aspect of experimentation by approaching correlations and what they mean in the analysis of results. The sixth lecture brings to light content analysis, a lesser studied qualitative method of categorising and analysing experimental results. The seventh and final lecture on this course addresses case studies, the divisive method of study which is equal parts invaluable and useless!


Dr Peter Allen is a senior lecturer in the School of Psychological Science at the University of Bristol. In recent years, Dr Allen’s research has centred around evidence-based learning and teaching in higher education. A key focus has been 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.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

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

MLA style

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

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