Personality Theories A person’s personality says much about who he or she is. People define personality in different ways. Researcher after researcher has tried to come up with the best definition for what personality truly means. Case studies, correlational studies, and experimental designs are some of the most commonly used methods of research. These methods help better define personality. The advantages and disadvantages of each method differ and can be helpful or hurtful to the research of an individual’s personality. Defining Personality
Personality can be and is defined in different ways. However one definition that seems to be valid is that of Cervone. Cervone claims that, “Personality is the psychological qualities that contribute to an individuals enduring and distinctive pattern of feeling, thinking, and behaving” (Cervone, p 8). Individuals develop a pattern of qualities that they tend to keep throughout their lifespan. Many studies have been conducted on how personalities develop throughout the lifespan of individuals. Case Studies (Advantage and Disadvantages)
Case studies help psychologists when concerning personalities by allowing the psychologist to view an individual in many different settings over a period. According to Cervone, whenever psychologists are trying to gather data to better understand the complexity of self-concept, a case study is the best method to use. Case studies can help with creating a hypothesis. An advantage to using a case study to conduct research would be that case studies respond more to real life instead of statistics (Martyn, 2008).
A disadvantage to using case studies would be that case studies are mostly based on opinions (Bent, p. 302). Thus, making case studies easy to argue and not very reliable when comparing it to other individuals. Correlational Designs (Advantage and Disadvantages) Correlational design occurs when two variables change because of the increase or decrease of the other variable. Psychologists would use correlations to study personality by observing several people to see what affects their personalities.
For example, most millionaires are not happy; therefore money does not make an individual happy. Thus, happiness does not make people millionaires. Some advantages to using a correlational study would be that individuals are easy to obtain to conduct the research needed. Another advantage would be that the subjects would be of a wide variety, which would add more to the results of the study (Martyn, 2008). However with advantages come disadvantages. For example, with correlational studies there is no background information obtained.
Therefore, the reliability of the correlational studies is questioned. Experimental Designs (Advantage and Disadvantages) Experimental design research tends to use math and statistics to try to prove or disprove a hypothesis. Within an experimental design most of the research is controlled and leaves little room for error. One advantage of experimental design is that it is hard to disprove the results. However, a disadvantage is that because the conditions are controlled that makes the results too perfect.
If the same experiment was conducted in an uncontrolled setting, such as the real world, the results would vary. Experimental designs make it easy for other researchers to conduct the same experiments and try gain the same information from the study as the researchers before them received. Another disadvantage would be psychologists who are trying to decide what to do during a behavioral problem it would be unlikely that the results would be the same with every individual. Methods Differ
Correlational designs, case studies, and experimental designs are different in several ways. Experimental designs are restricted and controlled allowing no room for errors (Cervone, p. 8). Although experimental design is supported through the use of mathematics and statistical data, case studies are based on opinions and observations that are not, necessarily researched in-depth. Correlational designs are based on observations that show whether or not two things share a common variable (Cervone, p. 9).
These three methods differ by the way, they are conducted, by the way information is gathered, and by the results that received by each method. Conclusion Personalities are unique and the way that psychologists study personalities is also unique. Through the use of case studies, correlational designs, and experimental designs researchers are able to better understand how an individual’s personality is formed. By using a correlational design study researchers are able to see how an individual’s environment affects his or her personality.
When using a case study, researchers are able to see an individual in many different aspects of their life to see how they grow and develop his or her personality. Furthermore, researchers are also able to see the how an individual responses to a controlled environment. While this may or may not give the researchers the results for every individual it does help researchers to come up with a hypothesis. Overall personality can be researched and examined in by using many methods. While some methods prove to be more in-depth than others, the more research done, the better the understanding of the subject.