The Research Methods That Are Used in I/O Psychology

Questionnaires and tests are surveys which feature several multiple-choice questions, but there are also ones which require respondents to provide their own ideas. Interviews are discussions between a psychologist and a participant where the latter must answer the former’s questions. Psychophysiological measures involve gaining information about a person’s neurological and biological performance and physical state. During observation, a psychologist monitors the behavior of the participant and takes notes on their actions. Diaries are personal records kept by respondents and documenting their thoughts, ideas, and actions. Finally, archival sources are various data sources important for the research done by the psychologist and concerning participants.

Questionnaires and tests allow professionals to analyze their respondents’ values, experiences, and attitudes based on quantitative data. Interviews help researchers to understand their respondents on a personal level. While psychophysiological measures help to generate concrete data, they are rarely used because they imply receiving information unrelated to the I/O psychology. Observations let researchers get their own impression of the workplace which they are studying. Diaries allow researchers to gain an insight into the details of every employee’s work activity. Archival data is beneficial for assessing the situation in a company before and after a certain intervention.

An example of questionnaires and tests is the Vocational Preference Inventory test developed as part of Holland’s framework. Interviews may, for instance, involve a researcher asking employees questions about their workplace relationships with colleagues. Psychophysiological measures are usually data such as cortisol and sugar levels in the participants’ blood. An example of observation is studying how much time employees spend not working and engaging in their personal matters instead. Diary-based research may involve asking employees to document each time they encounter inappropriate behavior on the part of colleagues. Archival sources may include data on the absence of employees.

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