lec11 - Chapter 11 Nonexperimental Quantitative Research...

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Chapter 11 Nonexperimental Quantitative Research (Reminder: Don’t forget to utilize the concept maps and study questions as you study this and the other chapters.) Nonexperimental research is needed because there are many independent variables that we cannot manipulate for one reason or the other (e.g., for ethical reasons, for practical reasons, and for literal reasons such as it is impossible to manipulate some variables). Here’s an example of an experiment where you could not manipulate the independent variable (smoking) for ethical and practical reasons: Randomly assign 500 newborns to experimental and control groups (250 in each group), where the experimental group newborns must smoke cigarettes and the controls do not smoke. Nonexperimental research is research that lacks manipulation of the independent variable by the researcher; the researcher studies what naturally occurs or has already occurred; and the researcher studies how variables are related. Despite its limitations for studying cause and effect (compared to strong experimental research), nonexperimental research is very important in education. Steps in Nonexperimental Research The pretty much the same as they were in experimental research; however, there are some new considerations to think about if you want to be able to make any cause and effect claims at all (i.e., that an IV--->DV). 1. Determine the research problem and hypotheses to be tested . Note: it is important to have or develop a theory to test in nonexperimental research if you are interested in making any claims of cause and effect. This can include identifying mediating and moderating variables (see Table 2.2 on page 36 for definitions of these two terms). 2. Select the variables to be used in the study . Note: in nonexperimental research you will need to include some control variables (i.e., variables in addition to your IV and DV that measure key extraneous variables). This will help you to help rule out some alternative explanations. 3. Collect the data . Note: longitudinal data (i.e., collection of data at more than one time point) is helpful in nonexperimental research to establish the time ordering of your IV and DV if you are interested in cause and effect. 4. Analyze the data . Note: statistical control techniques will be needed because of the problem of alternative explanations in nonexperimental research. 5. Interpret the results . Note: conclusions of cause and effect will be much weaker in nonexperimental research as compared to strong experimental and quasi- experimental research because the researcher cannot manipulate the independent variable in nonexperimental research.
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When examining or conducting nonexperimental research, it is important to watch out for the post hoc fallacy (i.e., arguing, after the fact, that A must have caused B simply because you have observed in the past that A preceded B). By the way, post hoc or inductive reasoning is fine (i.e., looking at your data and
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This note was uploaded on 07/26/2011 for the course EDE 4942 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '11 term at University of Florida.

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lec11 - Chapter 11 Nonexperimental Quantitative Research...

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