Research methods are the ways in which researchers measure variables and design studies to test hypotheses. For example, if a researcher wants to study whether people in a happy mood are more likely to offer help to a stranger than are people who are not happy, the researcher might measure or manipulate how research participants feel and then measure how likely people are to offer help.


Researchers can choose among many different ways to measure variables. They can directly observe people's behaviors, directly ask people for their perceptions, or infer people's perceptions on the basis of behaviors or responses that only indirectly relate to the variables of interest. In most areas of social psychology, researchers want to learn what causes the phenomenon of interest (in ...

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