“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.

The Institutional Review Board and Conducting Ethical Experiments

The experimental method is the most nearly ideal method for scientific explanation, but unfortunately it can only rarely be used in political science because of practical and ethical impediments.1

—A. Lijphart

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the purpose of the Institutional Review Board and its principles when conducting an experiment.
  • Explain how deception can be avoided and its effects minimized in experiments.
  • Illustrate examples of harm and abuse of power in social science experiments and ways to minimize them.
  • Identify ways social science experiments can protect subjects’ privacy and confidentiality.
  • Create an Institutional Review Board proposal.
  • Develop a pilot study.

In spite of the opening quotation’s declaration more than forty-five years ago, political scientists and others have indeed found ways to overcome the practical and ethical ...

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