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Experimental Methods

by: Julia Caine

Experimental Methods Soc 201

Marketplace > New York University > Sociology > Soc 201 > Experimental Methods
Julia Caine
GPA 3.5

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About this Document

These notes cover the experimental methods used by social psychologists, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of them
Social Psychology
Blaine Robbins
Class Notes
experiment, social, Psychology, sociology
25 ?




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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Julia Caine on Thursday September 15, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Soc 201 at New York University taught by Blaine Robbins in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 14 views. For similar materials see Social Psychology in Sociology at New York University.


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Date Created: 09/15/16
Experimental Methods  What methods are available to social psychologists? o Survey  Ideally random samples  Problem- people are self-reporting o Archival research o Experiments are most common  “Gold standard”  Experiments o Background concepts  Variable  Characteristic that you can count, measure, or label  Must have possibility of two or more conditions  Independent variable  Hypothesized cause of variation in dependent variable  Also called predictor  Dependent variable  Hypothesized effect of variation in independent variable  Also called outcome  Extraneous variable  Outside variables that could affect independent variable  Also called confounder  Want relationship between independent and extraneous variables to equal zero  Manipulation  Researcher can turn on or off independent variable  Condition  Two sets of guidelines that differ  Treatment and control groups  Random assignment  Subjects are randomly given one of conditions  Create equivalent groups o Larger groups means more equality  If people self-select you introduce bias o Definition  When an independent variable is manipulated by researcher to observe a hypothesized effect in the dependent variable while holding extraneous variables constant via random assignment  Want to carefully control environment o Examples  Medical research  Need placebo  Food preservation  Status in academia  People can write bad papers and still be accepted if they have high status o y=β +0 β 1ε1  Outcome=model+error  Example  SAT SCORE= β +WHETHER OR NOT THEY TOOK SAT PREP 0 COURSE*β +ε1 o Can predict person’s score before and after taking prep course  When COV(X , ε1 = 0, X is c1usally identified and β is 1 unbiased o y=β +0 β 1X1β +2 2 +ε3 3  Introducing more independent variable  SAT=β +0OURSE*β +MOTI1ATION*β +SES*β +ε2 3  COV(COURSE, MOTIVATION)≠0  COV(COURSE, SES)≠0  If we don’t measure MOTIVATION and SES, it goes in error term o Β is upwardly biased because COV(COURSE, ε)≠0 1 which means that COURSE=X β +1O1IVATION*β +SES*β 2 3 o Manipulation  You must manipulate independent variable  Create 2 or more conditions  One condition studies are not experiments o Merely demonstrations o Advantages  Control  Artificiality  Easily replicated  “Keep it simple, stupid” o Disadvantages  Demand effect  Self-presentation effect o Subjects believe they know the hypothesis being tested and try to produce those results  “Hawthorne” effect o People naturally behave differently when they know they’re being observed  Reverse-demand effect o Subjects believe they know the hypothesis being tested and try to produce the opposite results  Experimenter effect o Experimenter might unconsciously give hints to treatment group  Can offset these with o Double-blind treatment  Neither the subjects nor the person giving the experiment knows which group is treatment and which is placebo o Deception  Try to make subjects think the test is testing one hypothesis when it is actually testing a different one  External validity  Generalizing info about one group to different groups o Usually study undergrad students  Not good at macro-processes


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