Experimental Methods in Health Psychology in Australia: Implications for Applied Research
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The purpose of this article is to explore the importance of laboratory-based experimental research within health psychology in Australia in bridging the gap between correlational research and large-scale population interventions. While correlational research is useful in the early stages of investigation design, it does not necessarily provide clear information on the causal mechanisms of behaviour change. On the other hand, conducting population interventions with insufficient experimental and pilot testing can lead to ineffective interventions or a lack of understanding of why the intervention was effective. We argue that a systematic multi-method approach that incorporates laboratory-based experimental methods can lead to more effective and resource-efficient interventions through the identification of key behaviour change mechanisms and causal relationships. A systematic multi-method approach also has the advantage of overcoming the limitations of single method approaches within applied fields of research. We discuss recent experimental work conducted in Australia to illustrate the virtues of experimental research.
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