“This book is a must for learning about the experimental design–from forming a research question to interpreting the results this text covers it all.” –Sarah El Sayed, University of Texas at Arlington Designing Experiments for the Social Sciences: How to Plan, Create, and Execute Research Using Experiments is a practical, applied text for courses in experimental design. The text assumes that students have just a basic knowledge of the scientific method, and no statistics background is required. With its focus on how to effectively design experiments, rather than how to analyze them, the book concentrates on the stage where researchers are making decisions about procedural aspects of the experiment before interventions and treatments are given. Renita Coleman walks readers step-by-step on how to plan and execute experiments from the beginning by discussing choosing and collecting a sample, creating the stimuli and questionnaire, doing a manipulation check or pre-test, analyzing the data, and understanding and interpreting the results. Guidelines for deciding which elements are best used in the creation of a particular kind of experiment are also given. This title offers rich pedagogy, ethical considerations, and examples pertinent to all social science disciplines.

Theory, Literature, and Hypotheses

Full-blown successful interventions never emerge from a brainstorming session. They are always suggested by theory, previous research, or extensive clinical experience.1

—R. Barker Bausell

Learning Objectives

  • Explain the role of theory and literature in experiments.
  • Prepare a literature review that connects previous work to your own and makes a theoretical contribution.
  • Describe the role of hypotheses and research questions in experiments.
  • Summarize when to predict differences or direction in hypotheses.
  • Formulate original hypotheses using the diagram given.

To Bausell’s assertion, we should add that experiments are not exploratory in the sense that they are used when problems are in the preliminary stage.2 Rather, experiments presume a fair amount of well-developed theory and evidence from previous research. Thus, it is important to do the homework before starting any experiment, ...

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