“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.

Random Assignment

Just as representativeness can be secured by the method of chance . . . so equivalence may be secured by chance.1

—W. A. McCall

Learning Objectives

  • Understand what random assignment does and how it works.
  • Produce a valid randomization process for an experiment and describe it.
  • Critique simple random assignment, blocking, matched pairs, and stratified random assignment.
  • Explain the importance of counterbalancing.
  • Describe a Latin square design.

Just as the mantra in real estate is “location, location, location,” the motto in experimental design is “random assignment, random assignment, random assignment.” This book has discussed random assignment all throughout. It bears repeating that random assignment is the single most important thing a researcher can do in an experiment. Everything else pales in comparison to having done this correctly.2 Random assignment is ...

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