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Identifying threats in Validity

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Ms. Jones,

Could you please help me understand the following in the attached study? I am especially having problems with identifying threats to validity.

Identify the central claims of the study.

Characterize the type of method(s) used.

Identify actual threats to validity. Drawing on Validity Typology and Validity Threats, discuss the threats you judge are or could have been (if Schulz did not counter them) plausible threats to Schulz's claims about what he has found

Assess whether Schulz countered the threats you identify. If a threat was not countered, assess if and how it affects Schulz's claims about what he has found.

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Solution Summary

The solution provides assistance, advice, information and guidance in reviewing and analyzing a study for the purpose of identifying threats to validity (for the study, see the attachment in the description). Resources are listed for further exploration of the topic of validity in research. A word version of the solution is also attached.

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OTA 105878/Xenia Jones

Study Validity Review

Title: Effects of Control and Predictability on the Physical and Psychological Well-Being of the Institutionalized Aged
Author: Richard Schulz, Carnegie-Mellon University
Year: 1973
Publisher: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 33, No. 5, S63-S73

Central Claims

Schulz' study focused on the condition of the elderly which he termed as 'the aged'. He proposed that 'feelings of depression and helplessness' and decline of physical health can quite easily be attributed to the notion of losing some kind of control. As such, his study designed an experiment that involved a number of students and an 'Aged home' - the students visited and spent time with the aged from this home. His study divided the elderly into 4 groups, one group has been completely ignored - visits were not made to this group being that it was considered the baseline comparison. Another group were allowed visits but these were random, while another group was informed of the visits and the duration but they had no say as to when and to how long the visits were going to be - this group however were able to predict the visits. The last group is the one in the 'control condition' in that they were visited and had a say as to when and to how long the duration of the stay was going to be. His study found that residents of the home who were able to predict the visits reported a positive impact in how they felt as the regularity of the visits allowed them to feel a semblance of control. But the group with the most visible positive change according to Schulz was the group that had control and it is the resulting state of those in this group that anchors his claims. He used health and status indicators to measure the impact including the assessment of activities director, triscale composite on health, increased/decreased trips to the infirmary, quantity ...

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  • MPhil/PhD (IP), Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
  • MA, Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
  • Certificate, Geva Ulpan (via Universita Tel Aviv)
  • BA, University of the Philippines
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