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Sociology 2206A/B
Donna Maynard

January 20, 2014 Really know reliability, validity and replicability Social scientists don’t use experiments very much. Case study – classic qualitative. Pick one thing, study in depth Longitudinal – in depth, over time Experiments The traditional means of ‘doing’ science - Quantitative only Rare in soc. Because interested in long term things and things we can’t change about people – sexual orientation, gender, income, race Because involve manip of ppl aware that it may cause serious harm to the people Interested in the way something impacts someone’s life. Key concepts: - Experimental or treatment group: receives a treatment or manipulation of some kind - Control group: does not get the treatment or manipulation - Random assignment: participants are placed in the experimental or control group using a random method - Pre-test: measurement of the dependent variable before the experimental manipulation - Post-test: measurement of the dependent variable after the experimental manipulation. After we manipulated, should see differences between them if worked out. (Showed classical experimental design – in text) Spurters exp. – wanted to look at teachers expectations and childrens development. Teachers expectations have a lot to do with development. Randomly divided into groups. Exp – spurters, control – non-spurters. Teachers expecting exp grp to develop faster. IQ test on both grps of children to see no difference between the grps. Spent time watching the teachers. Tested both children again and found what expected. Group teachers told children were going to spurt ahead, did. Teachers expected them to develop better so their expectations created those results. Two kinds of experiments: Laboratory experiments: take place in artificial environments – milgram experiment. Every bit of it controlled – the teacher, authoritarian figure, etc. Field experiments: are conducted in real life surroundings – Rosenthal and Jacobson Spurters – had no control over what teachers were doing, may have talked to parents + parents may hv treated children differently which may hv accounted for results. Normally very high in internal validity (best possibly method) Threats to internal validity that are always possible: Mortality (Attrition) – participants leave the experiment before it is over. Sometimes they don’t want to participate anymore. Maturation – participants change over time – get older, develop mentally and emotionally, etc. Quasi Experiments  Missing some element of a true experiment - ex. No control, no random assignment - internal validity is harder to establish Many kinds (your text highlights one): Natural experiments: naturally occurring phenomena or changes introduced by people who are not researchers result in experiment-like conditions Ex. Alberta and Saskatchewan in the 30s and 40s They were very similar in kinds of people, size of pop. One prov left wing govern the other elected right. One oriented family values, other social labour movements – different political ideas. Can look at the way these places changed over time based on political histories. Had no way to randomly assign them or tell if they were really that similar at start. Threats to internal validity that are worse if no control, or no random assignment: History: Some event occurring after the treatment was given may have influenced the dependent variable. Something that changes way people will respond to your manipulation. If don’t have a control grp or random assign can’t tell if it was the thing that caused differences or experiment. Control group is really important. Testing: the pre-test may have influenced the dependent variable. Changes the way ppl will think about the experiment. When you ask them questions early, think about the later questions differently. Ex. Oh shit, this survey is about health and they are bad with health to they change answers Instrumentation: changes in the way a test is administered may account for pre-test and post- test differences. Give them a pretest and give them exp. Something on pretest you didn’t like, just the differences between 2 tests. One online, one phone will all change way ppl answer your questions. Selection: post-test differences between the control and exp grps may have b
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