Experiments: Designs and Controls

tdixon Research Methodology Leave a Comment

What you need to know…

By the end of this double lesson, it is hoped that you will be able to answer the following key questions. Make sure you take notes as you work through understand these key terms and concepts.

  • How and why are controls used in experiments?
  • How and why are experimental design types used in experiments? (e.g. repeated measures, independent samples)
  • How why are single blind and double-blind techniques used in experiments?
  • How and why are allocation methods used in independent samples experiments?

Further explanations and videos are available on the “Quantitative Methods” page of the blog. 

What you need to do…

There are three tasks below that you need to complete. Please show me as you complete each one…

Task One: Bandura’s Bobo Doll Study 

Watch the video and/or read the summary and answer this question:

  • What design type would you use if you were Bandura and why?

The “why” should be controlling for a potential confounding variable.

Task Two: The Sports Drink Example 

Using your sports drink experiment idea from the other day answer the following question∗:

  • What design type did you choose? Why?
  • Would use a single-blind or a double-blind technique? Why?

∗ You may have answered this already from the previous lesson in which case you don’t need to answer it again.

Task Three: Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment Study

In this famous experiment (short video here) Professor Zimbardo ran an experiment in the basement of the Psychology building at Stanford University over one summer. The experiment involved half of the participants being assigned the role of “prisoner” and the other half “guard”. Zimbardo wanted to see how being given a different role might change their behaviour. This experiment obviously uses an independent samples design.

  • If you were Zimbardo, would you use random or selected allocation? Why?

Finished Early?

Once you’ve shown me your work for all three tasks you can apply what you’ve learned in this lesson in your own experiment idea for your assessment. Be sure to ask questions if you need help.


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