Careful, systematic planning for the design of a research study is as important as careful, systematic planning for the data analysis. Experimental research is generally considered to be the gold standard of scientific research design due to the rigorous nature of the experimental process. For example, an experimental research design manipulates an independent variable to observe changes in the dependent variable. Specifically, participants are randomly assigned to a treatment group (e.g., stimulus group) or condition group (e.g., no treatment, or control, group) of an independent variable. Random assignment increases controls for extraneous variables by ensuring that all subjects have an equal chance of being in any condition or treatment. However, it is possible for the effects of the independent variable to be obscured ...
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