PSYB01 - Chapter 14 notes.doc

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Anna Nagy

Chapter 14: Generalizing Results • Internal validity refers to the ability to infer that there is a causal relationship • External validity is the extent to which the findings may be generalized Generalizing to other populations of research aprticipants • Rarely are participants randomly selected from the general population College students • Many studies use college students as their population o This is a highly restricted population o This limits what we know about "people in general" • Problem of unrepresentative subject is not confined to human research o Many research designs use white rats as the subjects Volunteers • Researchers usually must ask volunteers to participate in the research • When using populations outside college students you are even more dependent on volunteers • Different people volunteer for different kinds of experiments o Volunteers usually join a research experiment based on interest in the subject being studied Gender considerations • Researchers can use either males or females or any ratio of the two o Can be convenient or procedures seem better suited to either makes or females o Given the differences between males and females, results may not be generalizable • Solution is to be aware of possible gender differences and use both male and females o Important to realize that males and females may respond differently to questions or manipulations of the variable Locale • Participants in one locale may differ from ones in another locale • Results obtained with a set of participants in one locale may not generalize to other locations Generalization as a statistical interaction • Problem of generalization can be thought of as an interaction in a factorial design • An interaction occurs when a relationship between variables exists under one condition but not another • Researchers can address generalization issues that stem from the use of different populations by including subject type as a variable in the study o Including variables such as gender, age or ethnic group in the design of the study the results may be analyzed whether there are interaction effects In defence of college students and lab rats • In order to say that using these populations means that results cannot be generalized we need to have good reasons that the relationship found by studying college students and lab rats cannot be generalized to other populations • College students are diverse and representative of society • Replications of research also helps to guard vs. Generalizability • Rats have been used before to generalize results to humans; understanding behaviour Cultural considerations • Most samples of college students are ethnically diverse o External validity of the research is enhanced • "culture is understood as shared meaning systems that are embodied in artifacts and practices and that form a medium for human development • Important are the ways which the operation definitions of the constructs that we study are grounded in particular cultural meaning Generalizing to other experiments • Rarely is much attention paid to the personal characteristics of the experimenter • Main goal is to ensure that the influence that the experimenter puts on his subjects is always there throughout the experiment o May mean that results are generalizable only to certain types of experimenters • The experimenter's personality, gender and experience are important to consider o A warm friendly experimenter may produce different results than a cold one • People seem to perform better when tested by an experimenter of the opposite sex • One solution is to use two or more experimenters Pretests and generalization • Pretesting seems like a good idea; experimenters can see if groups are equal on the pretest o May limit the ability to generalize to populations that did not receive a pretest • Pretests enables the researcher to assess mortality effects when it is likely that some participants will with draw from an experiment o Enables you to see if the people who withdrew are different from the ones who didnt • Can use the 4-group design if you are worried about the effect of a pretest o Half of the participants are gi
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