Research methods and statistics matter in psychology, whether you plan on doing research or not. If you plan to do research, the answer is obvious. You need to know how to conduct proper experiments—experiments that are both accurate and reliable. And you’ll need statistics to formulate and interpret data.
But if you are not planning to do research, and all you want to do is offer therapy to clients, then why do you need to be knowledgeable about research methods and statistics? Well, the answer here not as obvious but it is simple: the study of the human mind and human behavior is complex. It is one of the most difficult sciences out there. There are so many things that can influence how we process information, how we think, and how we behave.
Consequently, not all experimental studies are to be taken at equal value. Not all studies are good. Some are better than others. And, as a clinician, psychiatrist, or any other therapist you want to be, you’ll have to distinguish between the good and the bad studies. You don’t want to implement something that does not work into your therapy. You need to be able to interpret data and decide what therapy or medication suites your client best. You wouldn’t want to be giving them medication that has been shown to have many nasty side-effects, just like you wouldn’t want to give them medication that work no better than placebo.
This is why you need to study research methods and statistics courses in college. You need to learn to distinguish between good and bad methodologies, and you need to learn to interpret data to see what forms of therapy have been shown to work and which ones have not. Similarly, if you want to be a psychiatrist, you need to learn to distinguish between medication that has been proven to work and medication has does not.
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