Self-report data is often collected using questionnaires. Self-report data is not only used to study personality theories, but also other studies too, for example, Keen (2000) studied ‘anger management programmes’ and found that “the feedback from the individuals completing the course indicates that they have increased their awareness of their anger management difficulties and have increased their capacity to exercise self-control”.
An advantage of using self report data is that studies involving large numbers of people can be done fairly quickly and easily and participants can describe their experiences in their own words (open questions), this gives more detailed and in-depth data. However, open questions are more difficult to analyse and in doing so, researcher bias could affect the findings as the participant’s answers could be open to interpretation. To avoid researcher bias and to increase the objectivity of the study, closed questions could be used as they are easier to analyse, but only using closed questions limits the response from the participant, possibly reducing validity. Participant’s answers may be affected if leading questions are used or if the participant hasn’t understood the question properly. This would reduce the validity of the study as the researcher would no longer be studying something that they set out to measure. Another disadvantage is ‘social-desirability bias’ where the participant may answer questions not truthfully to portray themselves as socially acceptable. This too affects the validity of the study.
In conclusion, despite there being many advantages and disadvantages (with a few mentioned above), valuable data is often collected when using self-report methods as no other method would collect the same detailed, in-depth data/ results.
Angles on Applied Psychology p 158/159
Julia Russell, Matt Jarvis, Craig Roberts, Diana Dwyer, Dave Putwain
Psychology (Eighth Edition) p 594
Henry Glritman, James Gross, Daniel Reisberg