What Kind of Research Is Done in Clinical Psychology?


Vincent White

Clinical psychology is a branch of psychology that focuses on diagnosing and treating mental illnesses, behavioral problems, and emotional disorders. It involves the application of various research methods to understand human behavior and find effective interventions.

Research is an integral part of clinical psychology, as it helps clinicians and researchers understand the underlying causes of psychological disorders and develop effective treatments. There are several types of research methods used in clinical psychology. Let’s take a closer look at some of them.

Observational Research:

Observational research involves observing people in their natural environment without any manipulation. In clinical psychology, observational research is used to study the behavior patterns of individuals with specific psychological disorders. Observational research can help clinicians identify potential triggers for mental health issues and develop interventions to prevent or manage them.

Experimental Research:

Experimental research is a controlled study that involves manipulating variables to observe the effect on a particular outcome. In clinical psychology, experimental research helps researchers determine whether specific treatments are effective in managing mental health conditions. For example, researchers might conduct an experiment to study the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy in treating anxiety disorders.

Longitudinal Research:

Longitudinal research involves studying participants over an extended period. In clinical psychology, longitudinal studies are used to understand how mental health conditions develop over time and how they affect individuals’ lives. For example, longitudinal studies can help researchers understand why some children develop anxiety disorders while others do not.

Qualitative Research:

Qualitative research involves collecting non-numerical data through interviews, focus groups, or open-ended surveys. This type of research method helps researchers gain an in-depth understanding of individuals’ experiences with mental health conditions. Qualitative data can help clinicians develop more personalized treatment plans for their patients.


Meta-analysis is a statistical method that combines results from multiple studies to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of a particular phenomenon. In clinical psychology, meta-analysis is used to evaluate the effectiveness of various treatments for specific mental health conditions. Meta-analyses help clinicians make informed decisions about the best treatment options for their patients.


In conclusion, research is an essential component of clinical psychology that helps clinicians and researchers understand mental health conditions and develop effective interventions. There are several types of research methods used in clinical psychology, including observational research, experimental research, longitudinal research, qualitative research, and meta-analysis. Each method has its unique advantages and disadvantages and can provide valuable insights into understanding psychological disorders.