“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.

Instruments and Measures

I have been struck again and again by how important measurement is to improving the human condition.

—Bill Gates

Learning Objectives

  • Summarize the advantages and disadvantages of questionnaires as the instrument of an experiment.
  • Discuss when single-item indicators are appropriate and when indexes are superior.
  • Identify some unobtrusive instruments and be able to link them to what psychological or physiological processes they measure.
  • Describe how observations are used in experiments and how reliability is ensured.
  • Explain the levels of measurement required for independent variables (IVs) and dependent variables (DVs) in an experiment.
  • Devise an instrument for an experiment that includes appropriate levels of measurement and response choices, and verify the validity of its constructs.

Creating stimuli is only half the job in preparing the materials of an experiment for ...

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