Forensic psychology covers a very broad body of knowledge and has many branches. Forensic psychology professionals often choose an area of interest, such as criminal forensic psychology or custody evaluations, and specialize in that area in their clinical practice. Research is relevant to forensic psychology for a variety of reasons. As a forensic psychology professional, you will need to know what the research literature says about your area of practice in order to effectively conduct your work. For example, you may need to administer psychological tests or conduct other evaluations, and knowing the strengths and weaknesses of these tests or evaluation tools will inform your practice. Different types of research and research approaches are presented in this week’s Learning Resources. And, while you may not ever conduct research as a forensic psychology professional, it is important for you to be able to critically review such research and understand its impact on your practice.
To prepare for this Discussion:
· Review this week’s DVD program, “Introduction to Psychological Research.” Think about the role and benefits of research within forensic psychology.
· Review Chapter 1 in your course text, Research Methods for the Behavioral Sciences. Pay particular attention to reasons for conducting research and how research is applied.
· Think about how basic and applied research, as well as research designs, could be used in forensic psychology research.
· Consider the three basic research designs (e.g., descriptive, correlational, and experimental) for studying behavior.
· Think about the strengths and weaknesses of each research design as it relates to forensic psychology research.