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Psychology GCSE; Self-report Methods

Learning Aims

1. Research Methods - self- report - Features of doing research and their associated strengths and weaknesses including reliability and validity.

• Open questions

• Closed questions

• Rating scales

Self-report methods are where individuals talk about their own thoughts, behaviour or past experience.

The two types you need to know about; interviews and questionnaires.

Watch this Pyschboost video on self-report methods for an overview, it is designed to fulfil the A-level objectives


There are two types of interviews; structured and unstructured. Structured interviews have pre-set questions that the interviewer asks all the interviewees. Unstructured interviews do not have pre-set questions, instead, the interviewer asks questions based on the interviewees' answers.

Make sure you don't make a common mistake here. Many students think that the difference between structured and unstructured is that one has open questions the other is closed. This is not correct. One has pre-set questions the other does not.


1. Allows psychologists to access people's emotions and thoughts which can not easily be observed.

2. Interviews usually have more valid responses than questionnaires as the interviewee can ask the interviewer to clarify questions and answers.


1. The validity may be negatively affected by the interviewee feeling like they have to give socially desirable answers rather than honest answers since the interviewer is asking them questions.

2. Some people may find it difficult to put their thoughts and feelings into words

making it difficult for the interviewer to understand and find out what they know.

You can learn a bit more about interviews here, it does go into more detail than you need.


Questionnaires consist of pre-set questions that are often written down, meaning the questions are the same for all participants.

Questionnaires use closed and open questions.

Go here to find out more about open and closed questions.

Strengths and Weaknesses

1. Closed questions give quantitative data which makes it easier to identify patterns. Data, however, can lack construct validity.

2. Open questions give more qualitative, in-depth data which may give more valid results. However, it is difficult to find patterns in this type of data.

Watch the video below and make notes as you go along. Using what you know construct a table comparing the different types of self-report studies, including strengths and weaknesses.

Also, make a note defining a rating scale and identify any issues with using them that you have come across?

Add all this information to your blog. I also want you to create a blog page for keywords (you may have started one already). As you progress through the course please add any words you think are important or that you do not know the meaning of to the keyword list with a definition for each.

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