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### Experiments

Course: SOC 150a, Spring 2009
School: Berkeley
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Word Count: 522

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Variable, Variable Independent IV Any characteristic or attribute that varies (e.g., gender, income, etc.) The hypothesized cause of variation in a dependent variable They hypothesized effect of variation in an independent variable Dependent Variable (outcome variable), DV Extraneous Variable A variable that is not explicitly included in a hypothesis but has a causal impact on the DV A research study...

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Variable, Variable Independent IV Any characteristic or attribute that varies (e.g., gender, income, etc.) The hypothesized cause of variation in a dependent variable They hypothesized effect of variation in an independent variable Dependent Variable (outcome variable), DV Extraneous Variable A variable that is not explicitly included in a hypothesis but has a causal impact on the DV A research study in which participants are randomly assigned to conditions which are identical except with respect to some variable being manipulated at different levels Or, put differently: Manipulate the independent variable in order to observe effects on the dependent variable, while trying to hold constant all extraneous variables The Classic Example Medical research Medicine vs. Placebo Another Example Does academic status of (Is this man an intellectual fraud?) the author affect the evaluation of an unintelligible text? Manipulation Conditions Term for when you turn the IV on and off, or put it at 2 or more levels Different circumstances created by the manipulation of a variable Medicine vs. Placebo Experimental Group, Control Group Random Assignment Helps control for participantlevel factors that are hard to control Even ones you wouldn't think of Before Random Assignment R After Random Assignment Group 1 Experimental Groups Colors symbolize any differentiating attribute among the individuals (e.g., personality type) Group 2 In Experiments You Must Manipulate an IV Creating 2 or More Conditions One Condition Studies are NOT experiments Breaching "Experiments" The Baking Soda Volcano Control Are all aspects of the setting held constant besides the IV being manipulated? Experimental Realism How engaged and into the study is the subject? Mundane Realism How much is the setting like the real world? Not always good! real The world is messy. (Why else would you be here?) "Audit studies," Devah Pager The "Real World" Control By carefully controlling for other factors, we can feel confident regarding causality By creating setting we can create revealing circumstances that might rarely occur Artificiality Easily replicated "Keep it simple, stupid" But the method has drawbacks and doesn't suit all research topics... "Can You Really Study an Army in the Laboratory?" (Zelditch 1969) All Methods have Advantages and Disadvantages So be a Methodological Pluralist! Demand Effects Selfpresentation "Hawthorne Effect" Reversedemand effects Experimenter Effects Experimenter unconsciously gives cues to subjects regarding how to act External Validity A.K.A. "Generalizability" Often a consideration in sampling How well does a lab result generalize? Depends on setting and participants Sociological SPists say this is bogus Experiments test theory No empirical study is directly generalizable to other settings Both are sort of right Demand Characteristics Experimenter Effects Safeguards Have a good "cover story" (if the study involves deception) Conduct poststudy interviews Safeguards Standardize procedures (use video) Limit experimentersubject interaction Keep research personnel "blind" to condition, now say "unaware" Pain (is bad) Deception in experiments Informed consent Milgram study, replications Debriefing The special case of economics Is important Due Thursday, January 29th Write a short description of a recent conflict you had with someone else (or any significant, interesting, or memorable one) Explain causes and content of the conflict Give your perspective; feel free to go off on him/her Keep it short: 2 pages, doublespaced
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