definition (a question)

  • useful to psychology: psychological research will be useful if it increases academic knowledge about behaviours. in particular research that quetions previous findings from studies or theories can constantly mean that psychological understanding evolves. this ensures that valid and reliable information is sought and established. psychological research can also look at behaviours that are uncommon and/or unethical or impractical to manipulate, therefore further increasing our understanding of the influnce of certain varibales on behaviour in an acceptable way.
  • the ability to practically apply the findings: psychological research will also be useful if it can help us to understand how we can change aspects of society or individuals behaviour for the good. therefore any practical applications arising from research is very useful to everyone as it contributes to society.

examples of useful research (b question)

(AS) Samuel and Bryant

  • practical applications: this study is useful because it indicated that children are capable of different cognitive skills at different ages. in particular it showed that cognitive abilities such as conservation increased with age with young children making few errors on all tasks at age 8 compared to age 5. this specifically supported the idea of Piaget and the need for stage approproate education in schools. the national curriculum still builds on the idea that children are taught practically in concrete ways until reaching high school. teachers are trained in cognitive development of children to aid their understanding of what tasks are appropriate at what ages.
  • useful to psychology: it was also useful because it indicates that previous research by Piaget was not necessarily valid as the children's abilities to conserve were affecte by the two question task. S&B noted that with only one question the children could conserve better with lower errors on all of the tasks set. therefore the study was also useful in challenging previous beliefs about when children could conserve thus aiding psychological knowledge.
  • might question usefulness: the children's ability to conserve may still have been effected by how the children were tested. this was done in lab conditions and so the children may have felt nervous in such an artificial situation where only themselves and the experimenter are present. this may have lead…


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