Chapter 10 Research Methods

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Chapter 10 Research Methods Notes
Designing Designs
REMEMBER the 3 conditions that must be met before you can infer a cause-and-effect relationship
1. Covariation: Changes in the presumed cause must be related to changes in the presumed effect
2. Temporal Precedence: The presumed cause must occur prior to the presumed effect
3. No Plausible alternative explanations: The presumed cause must be the only reasonable explanation
for changes in the outcome measures. If other factors could be responsible for changes in the outcome
measures, you cant be confident that the presumed cause & effect relationship is correct
This term is hard to meet in social research
10-1 A Minimizing Threats to Validity
- Good research designs minimize the plausible alternative explanations for the hypothesized cause-effect
5 Ways to minimize any threats to any type of validity:
1. By Argument: Simply argue that the threat in question isn’t reasonable. Such an argument may be made
before the fact or after the fact though before the fact is usually more convincing.
- This is often very weak than other approaches
2. By Measurement or Observation: Can sometimes measure and demonstrate that either it doesn’t occur at
all or occurs minimally as to not be a strong alternative explanation for the cause-and-effect relationship
3. By Design: Major emphasis on ruling out alternative explanations by adding treatment or control groups,
waves of measurement, and the like
4. By Analysis: Statistical analysis offers you several ways to rule out alternative explanations
- Eg. Could study the possibility of attrition or mortality threat by conducting a 2 way factorial experimental
5. By Preventative Action: When you anticipate potential threats, you can try to prevent them.
- E.g If the program is a desirable one and its likely the comparison group would feel jealous/demoralized
Could offer program to this comparison group upon completion of the study or by using program
and comparison groups that would have little opportunity o chat/contact eachother
10-1 B Building a Design
Basic design element
1. Time: A causal relationship, by its very nature, implies that some time has elapsed between the occurrence
of the cause and the consequent effect
- In design notation you indicate the passage of time is indicated horizontally (read from left to right)
2. Program(s) or treatment(s): The presumed cause may be a program or treatment under the explicit control
of the researcher or the occurrence of some natural event or program not explicitly controlled
- Usually indicate presumed cause with an X
3. Observation(s) or measure(s): Measurements are usually depicted in design notation with the symbol O
4. Groups or individuals: The final design element consists of the intact groups or the individuals who
participate in various conditions.
- In design notation, each group is indicated on a separate line (R = randomly assigned group N =
nonrandomly assigned group and C = group was assigned using a cutoff score on a measurement)
Expanding a Design
- Expanding involves adding design components from the 4 basic design elements to arrive at an initial
research design
- To begin, think of the simplest design that includes both a cause and its observe effect
- When you add to this design, you are essentially expanding one of the 4 basic elements described previously
4 Most common ways to expand on this simple design…
Expanding across time
- You can add to basic design by including additional observations either before or after the program, or by
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