“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.

Discovering Cause and Effect

Life is a perpetual instruction in cause and effect.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Learning Objectives

  • Explain how cause and effect work in an experiment.
  • Compare the benefits of experiments to other methods.
  • Identify the three basic criteria of experiments.
  • Describe the elements of variation, confounds, control groups, and assignment.
  • Develop a statement of the problem and answer the “so what” question for a study of your own.

This book is about experiments, the scope of which varies greatly. An experiment is a scientific test of some hypothesis or principle carried out under carefully controlled conditions in order to determine or discover something unknown. Experiments provide insights about the relationship between things where changes in one thing cause something to happen to another. We have all done informal experiments in ...

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