People are social animals, which makes social psychology an interesting branch in the study of the human mind. It is focused on learning how interaction with other people affects one’s thoughts, emotions, and behavior, to put it simply. The research methods used in studies are the following:
The type of research method most commonly used by social psychologists is descriptive research. It seeks to narrate the details surrounding a phenomenon, usually without trying to establish a causal relationship with some other variables.
Descriptive research can be done through surveys, which is a quick and effective, and not to mention, cost-effective way of collecting a huge amount of data. A questionnaire will be handed out to select samples, which will provide insight into the possible characteristic of the population.
Also called experimental research, this method aims to uncover causal relationships between variables by running experiments or social facilitation on test subjects, who are divided into two groups: control and experimental. The former will serve as the baseline for the experiment. The latter will be subjected to manipulation of variables, which would then be analyzed and compared to the results coming from the control group.
Field or observational research is the preferred method of many researchers, even if it is more difficult to conduct because it allows them to collect data on people while in their normal social setting. Unlike in laboratory research, subjects do not know they are participants of a research so that they would not act out of the norm. Usually, unsuspecting are observed by researchers from a distance, and certain experimental parameters can be manipulated.
With the progress of mobile technology, it has become easier to study people in their social context, as data from smartphone or computer apps can be gathered and used for social psychology.