Week 4 – Discussion 1
Quantitative Research Designs
A research design is like a blueprint for conducting research. It guides the researcher in determining when and how often the data will be collected, what data will be collected and from whom, and how the collected data will be analyzed. While there are several research designs available, the most common designs associated with quantitative research include true experiments, quasi-experiments, pre-experiments, and correlations.
1.) First, select one quasi-experimental design and develop an example of a study that would require that design. Identify the independent and dependent variables, and discuss the necessary conditions required for that design.
Then, answer the following questions:
* How could you change this study to make it a true experiment?
* What would be the advantages of using a true experimental design over a quasi-experimental design?
* In what situations might a quasi-experimental design be preferred over a true experimental design?
Your post should be at least 275 words.
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2 (total) sources (one already provided, second free of choice to pick article)
Malec, T. & Newman, M. (2013). Research methods: Building a knowledge base. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. ISBN-13: 9781621785743, ISBN-10: 1621785742. Chapter 5: Experimental Designs – Determining Cause-and-Effect Relationships
Experimental Designs—Determining Cause-and-Effect Relationships
One of the oldest debates within psychology concerns the relative contributions that biology and the environment make in shaping our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Do we become who we are because it is hard-wired into our DNA or in response to early experiences? Do people take on their parents’ personality quirks because they carry their parents’ genes or because they grew up in their parents’ homes? There are, in fact, several ways to address these types of questions. In fact, a consortium of researchers at the University of Minnesota has spent the past 2 decades comparing pairs of identical and fraternal twins to tease apart the contributions of genes and the environment. You can read more at the research group’s website, Minnesota Center for Twin and FamilyResearch, http://mctfr.psych.umn.edu/.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota work with twins in order to study the impact of genetics versus upbringing on personality traits.
An alternative to using twin pairs to separate genetic and environmental influence is through the use of experimental designs, which have the primary goal of explaining the causes of behavior. Recall from Chapter 2 (Section 2.1, Overview of Research Designs) that experiment scan speaks to cause and effect because the experimenter has control over the environment and is able to manipulate variables. One particularly ingenious example comes from the laboratory of Michael Meaney, a professor of psychiatry and neurology at McGill University, using female rats as experimental subjects (Francis, Dioro, Liu, & Meaney, 1999). Meaney’s research revealed that the parenting ability of female rats can be reliably classified based on how attentive they are to their rat pups, as well as how much time they spend grooming the pups. The question tackled in this study was whether these behaviors were learned from the rats’ own mothers or transmitted genetically. To answer this question experimentally, Meaney and colleagues had to think very carefully about the comparisons they wanted to make. It would have been insufficient to simply compare the offspring of good and bad mothers—this approach could not distinguish between genetic and environmental pathways.
Instead, Meaney decided to use a technique called cross-fostering or switching rat pups from one mother to another as soon as they were born. This resulted in four combinations of rats: (1) those born to inattentive mothers but raised by attentive ones, (2)those born to attentive mothers but raised by inattentive ones, (3) those born and raised by attentive mothers, and (4) those born and raised by inattentive mothers. Meaney then tested the rat pups several months later and observed the way they behaved with their own offspring. The setup of this experiment allowed Meaney to make clear comparisons between the influence of birth mothers and the rearing process. At the end of the study, the conclusion was crystal clear: Maternal behavior is all about the environment. Those rat pups that ultimately grew up to be inattentive mothers were those who had been raised by inattentive mothers.
This final chapter is dedicated to experimental designs, in which the primary goal is to explain behavior. Experimental designs rank highest on the continuum of control (see Figure 5.1) because the experimenter can manipulate variables, minimize extraneous variables, and assign participants to conditions. The chapter begins with an overview of the key features of experiments and then covers the importance of both the internal and external validity of experiments. From there, the discussion moves to the process of designing and analyzing experiments and a summary of strategies for minimizing errors in experiments. It concludes with guidelines for critiquing a quantitative study.
Week 4 – Discussion 2
Experimental validity refers to the manner that variables influence the results of the research and the generalizability of the results to the population at large. The two types of validity that are relevant to experimental designs include internal validity and external validity.
2.) Using a topic of interest to yourself, briefly describe a proposed research study you would like to conduct.
* Provide a detailed discussion regarding some of the potential threats that could occur to the internal validity of your study.
* Examine how these threats could reduce the validity of your study and possibly make the study invalid.
* What are some ways you could increase the internal validity?
* What is the importance of external validity for your study?
* Is internal validity or external validity more important for your study?
* What do you find most difficult about the idea of validity?
* What aspects of evaluating it or integrating it into research design are the most challenging and why?
* What questions do you still have about experimental validity after this exercise?
Your post should be at least 275 words.
Size 12 font
Times New Roman
2 (total) sources
Svensson, C. (2014). Qualitative methodology in unfamiliar cultures: Relational and ethical aspects of fieldwork in Malaysia. London: SAGE Publications Ltd DOI: 10.4135/978144627305014533923
Trochim, W. M. K. (2006). Research methods: Knowledgebase. Available at http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/
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