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UVU - comm 3020 - Chapter 7 - Class Notes

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UVU - comm 3020 - Chapter 7 - Class Notes

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background image Chapter 7 THE EXPERIMENTAL FRAMEWORK Experimental Research o Type of research most often conducted in the  laboratory or other simulated environments 
controlled by researchers.
o This type of research is most often conducted in the laboratory or in other simulated environments that 
are controlled by researchers.
o The traditional definition of an experiment, one  often associated with the physical sciences, would 
characterize it as the manipulation of the 
independent variable in a controlled laboratory 
setting conducted on a randomly selected sample of
participants who are randomly assigned to control 
or treatment groups. A broader definition of 
experiment, and one that fits the study of 
communication phenomena more appropriately, is 
the recording of measurements and observations 
made by defined procedures and in defined 
conditions. The data collected or produced by these 
procedures are then examined by appropriate 
statistical tests to determine the existence of 
significant differences between and relationships 
among variables.
o Experimental research is chosen when a researcher  wants to determine causation. In other words, a 
researcher has developed a hypothesis that asserts 
that one variable, the independent, causes change 
in a second variable, the dependent. 
Experimentation allows a researcher to evaluate 
hypotheses that have been developed from theories
in the literature.
background image o When research is identified as experimental, the  goal of the researcher is to establish or explain what
caused a person’s behavior, feelings, or attitudes to
change. Because this is the goal, certain 
characteristics must be satisfied. First, the research 
design must have a temporal component, with one 
element occurring before another. For something to 
cause something else, the causal agent must 
precede the change in behavior, feelings, or 
attitudes. In this way, an experiment provides 
control of one variable, or the independent variable,
to test its effect on another variable, the dependent 
o When the word experiment is used, most people  think of laboratory experiments. The primary 
defining characteristic of laboratory experiments is 
that the researcher structures the environment in 
which the investigation takes place and in which the
data are collected (Weaver, 2008). Conducting 
research in the lab environment serves several 
First, it physically isolates the research process 
from the day-to-day and routine interaction of 
participants. This isolation gives a researcher 
greater control over what participants are and 
are not exposed to. By limiting and controlling 
exposure in this way, a researcher is 
attempting to eliminate extraneous variables 
and influences that are not central to the 
investigation (Kerlinger, 1986). 
Second, exploring communication in the lab 
allows researchers to confine and examine 
theoretical relationships that would be more 
difficult to do in the field.
background image o Using manipulation and random assignment,  researchers design and conduct a study, evaluate 
the evidence, and then develop a causal 
explanation for what has occurred. Experimental 
designs are deliberate, standardized, and used as 
the research protocol in many disciplines. Their 
strength lies in the control they provide to 
researchers, which in turn helps them eliminate 
rival explanations for the changes they observe and
The Classical Experiment o In a classical experiment, the researcher controls  the treatment or the manipulation of the 
independent variable by randomly assigning 
participants to treatment or control groups.
o A treatment, or manipulation, is one of the ways in which the researcher varies the type of stimuli or 
the amount or level of stimuli presented to research
participants. This fundamental characteristic must 
be satisfied to locate a research study in the 
classical experimental framework.
o Experiments allow researchers to test two types of  hypotheses—those that predict differences and 
those that predict relationships. Recall from Chapter
4 that hypotheses test differences and relationships
between and among variables, not the variables 
themselves (Kerlinger, 1986). 
o For the first type of hypothesis—the difference  hypothesis—the experiment is designed so that the 
independent variable precedes the dependent 
variable in temporal order. Thus, the corresponding 
hypothesis predicts that the independent variable 
causes changes, or effects, in the dependent 
variable. For the second type of hypothesis—the 
relational hypothesis—the experiment is designed 
background image so that two variables, the independent and 
dependent, occur close together. The hypothesis 
predicts that the two variables exist together in 
some type of relationship where the value of the 
independent variable is causing a change in the 
value of the dependent variable.
o The researcher also controls the order of variables  in an experiment. One element, the independent 
variable, cannot be considered the cause of another
element, the dependent variable, if the independent
variable occurs after the dependent variable (Selltiz,
Jahoda, Deutsch, & Cook, 1959). Simply put, the 
independent variable can be considered the cause 
of changes in the dependent only if the independent
precedes the dependent or if the two occur close 
Random Assignment of Participants o In any experiment in which the researcher wants to  compare two or more groups, the underlying 
principle is that individuals in the groups are 
equivalent before the treatment. To achieve 
equivalency, participants are randomly assigned to 
treatment or control groups that represent the 
independent variable.
o This means that each participant has an equal  chance of being assigned to either group. Selecting 
a random sample from an appropriate population is 
not the same as randomly assigning individuals to 
treatment and control groups. The two procedures 
together help eliminate any true differences 
between individuals in the groups before the 
treatment is applied. Thus, the researcher can 
argue that differences that result after the 
treatment is applied are caused by the independent

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School: Utah Valley University
Department: OTHER
Course: Communication Research Methods
Professor: Jordan Allen
Term: Spring 2019
Tags: research methods
Name: Chapter 7
Description: Notes over chapter 7
Uploaded: 02/10/2019
15 Pages 40 Views 32 Unlocks
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