lec021510 - Sociology 101-24 Introduction to Sociology...

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Sociology 101-24 Introduction to Sociology Professor: Deborah Carr ( [email protected] ) Monday February 15, 2010 Social Research Methods (con’td) and Socialization/Self II. Specific Research Strategies. B. Controlled experiments – cont’d (Note: Experiments are generally used more widely by psychologists than sociologists.) 1. What is it? The experiment is the most highly controlled of all research methodologies, and thus generally has very high internal validity. a. The researcher must manipulate one or more of the independent variables hypothesized to have a causal impact on the dependent variable of interest. The experimenter creates at least two levels of each independent variable (low/high; present/absent; medication/placebo), although more than two levels are possible. b. The researcher must assign subjects randomly to the two groups or treatments . Random assignment is crucial because it is a way to eliminate extraneous factors. a. Laboratory experiments. When we say the word “experiment” it probably conjures images of laboratories with extensive electrical equipment, and a researcher wearing a white lab coat. This perception is close to correct. The majority of experiments do occur in a laboratory setting, where the investigator can control much of the subjects’ physical surroundings. In the laboratory, the investigator can determine what stimuli, tasks, information or situations the subject will face. b. Field experiments. These occur in a natural setting, yet these studies are similar to laboratory experiments along all other dimensions. i. Program evaluation studies, where individuals are randomly assigned to specific medications, lessons, or treatments is a ‘real-world” type of experiment. For example, 6 th grad students were randomly assigned to one of three educational groups: abstinence education only, a standard health course, or a ‘safe sex’ class. Two years later, researchers compared the proportions of students across the three groups who had become sexually active. The proportion was significantly lower in the ‘abstinence education’ versus the other two groups. 3. Strengths
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This note was uploaded on 11/20/2011 for the course SOCIOLOGY 920:101 taught by Professor Carr during the Spring '10 term at Rutgers.

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lec021510 - Sociology 101-24 Introduction to Sociology...

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