“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.

Types of Experiments

Truth has nothing to do with the conclusion, and everything to do with the methodology.

—Stefan Molyneux

Learning Objectives

  • Summarize the different types of experiments using Campbell and Stanley’s typology.
  • Recommend when to use each of the three true experimental designs.
  • Critique the strengths and weaknesses of designs with pretests.
  • Describe quasi, natural, and field experiments.
  • Explain how quasi, natural, and field experiments differ from each other and from true experiments.

With the literature review written or at least in draft form, as discussed in the previous chapter, the next step is to decide what basic type of experiment to conducti—that is, the methodology or system of the experiment itself referred to in this chapter’s opening quote. One authoritative word on this topic is the classic Experimental and Quasi-Experimental ...

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