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Design Choice and Threats to Validity in an Experimental Design

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Review the attached article. Evaluate the choice of the design used in the article. Why was that design used and not another one? Assess the authors' performance in explaining this.

With these thoughts in mind:
1. Describe the choice of design and threats to validity in an experimental design.
2. An evaluation of the choice of design, the author's rationale for the design choice, the types of validity presented and the critical differences among them,
3. The author's performance in explaining them, and how you would assess the study's validity and the information you would require to do so.

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1. Milgram (1974 as cited in Burger, 2009) conducted a study on obedience and conformity involving adult males, aged 20 to 50 years, The choice of design was a teacher=--learner observation approach learning. A rigged drawing was held so that the "naive subject" is considered as the teacher. The experiment consisted of sending a 150-volt shock to the participants to observe how they would conform or disobey the experimenter's command to push a lever causing the electric shock. The act of administering the shock is set in the context of a tormented, terrible situation that is designed to study the effect of punishment on memory (Samson, 1980).

According to Samson (1980, prior to Milgram's experimental design not much was known about the nature of obedience. Milgram was skeptical of historical philosophies on behavior. Thus, he just observed his participant without having any theoretical basis, which can be offered as a reason as to why he used this experiment and not another philosophical belief on behavior. For instance, Milgram postulated that "Obedience is the psychological mechanism that links individual action to political purpose", and conducted his experiment by suggesting that obedience was deeply ingrained in daily behavior that ...

Solution Summary

This solution examines Stanley Milgram's experiments on obedience and conformity.

See Also This Related BrainMass Solution

Statistics Questions - quasi-experiments

A. Complete Jackson Even-numbered chapter exercises, p, 360

1Describe the advantages and disadvantages of quasi-experiments? What is the fundamental weakness of a quasi-experimental design? Why is it a weakness? Does its weakness always matter?
2If you randomly assign participants to groups, can you assume the groups are equivalent at the beginning of the study? At the end? Why or why not? If you cannot assume equivalence at either end, what can you do? Please explain.
3Explain and give examples of how the particular outcomes of a study can suggest if a particular threat is likely to have been present.
4Describe each of the following types of designs, explain its logic, and why the design does or does not address the selection threats discussed in Chapter 7 of Trochim and Donnelly (2006):
Non-equivalent control group pretest only
Non-equivalent control group pretest/posttest
5Why are quasi-experimental designs used more often than experimental designs?
6One conclusion you might reach (hint) after completing the readings for this assignment is that there are no bad designs, only bad design choices (and implementations). State a research question for which a single-group post-test only design can yield relatively unambiguous findings.

Part II - Answer the following questions:
1What research question(s) does the study address?
2What is Goldberg's rationale for the study? Was the study designed to contribute to theory? Do the results of the study contribute to theory? For both questions: If so, how? If not, why not?
3What constructs does the study address? How are they operationalized?
4What are the independent and dependent variables in the study?
5Name the type of design the researchers used.
6What internal and external validity threats did the researchers address in their design? How did they address them? Are there threats they did not address? If so how does the failure to address the threats affect the researchers' interpretations of their findings? Are Goldberg's conclusions convincing? Why or why not?
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