Route map

The aim of this chapter is to provide you with a basic introduction to the various themes and issues that are important for the study of social psychological processes. Our starting point will be to look at how social psychology has been defined and the historical basis to these definitions. The next part of the chapter focuses on two approaches that social psychologists take in their studies. The first is the experimental approach. We shall see that the main proponents of this approach are those who come from a social cognition perspective. The second approach is called critical social psychology; we will focus on one perspective – social constructionism – from this school. We then move on to study the types of experimental and non-experimental research method and strategy that social psychologists use, and the ethical considerations that this work involves.