Note though that this design is weak because it does

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should see more off-campus students in the coffee bar, discussing how to get the project done. Note, though, that this design is weak because it does not rule out other explanations. For example, we cannot rule out the possibility that the students we see meeting have bad Internet access, and it is this rather than housing status per se that explains their need to meet in person. We discuss how to strengthen such experimental designs in Chapter 10 . Sample hypotheses we might write if our research goal is prediction are H 1 : Patterns of interaction within student work groups are predicted primarily by the residence status of the students in the group. H 2 : Swing voters will vote for the political candidate who most emphasizes local issues. H 3 : Students who rate themselves as introverted will be more active in online discussions than in in-class discussions.
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Notice that each of the above hypotheses could also be written as a research question. They have been formulated as hypotheses because an attempt at prediction is an attempt to relate two or more variables, which need to be specified in advance of the research. Control Another goal of research may be control . In the physical world, control means researching with a view to being able to predict and manipulate physical processes such as digital recording, combustion, or space flights. In the case of human communication, advertisers, for example, want to be able to control audience responses to advertising, broadcasting, or direct mail. Their interest is in knowing how best to motivate viewers to watch a particular program, purchase a product, or open a piece of direct mail. Industry journals such as Advertising Age , Broadcasting & Cable , and Adweek contain such advice on how to “control” audiences, frequently in the form of “if–then” ideas. “If you make your direct mail piece an unusual shape, then it will attract more readers” is the generic nature of this advice. The research questions and hypotheses written with control as a primary research interest will generally be as specific as those written under the umbrella of prediction. For example: H 1 : Direct mail recipients are more likely to open mail pieces that resemble official government mail. H 2 : Students are more likely to attend early morning classes if a tuition discount is offered for those classes. The problem with basing expensive direct mail programs or educational policy on such research is that hypotheses often may specify only one influence on human behavior (the appearance of direct mail and the cost of academic credits in the above two cases). Obviously, human behavior is a function of many influences, as your own voting behavior, social behavior, course scheduling, and responses to direct mail will tell you. The reason we use sophisticated research designs is, essentially, to help eliminate the influences that are not important in explaining a specific behavior.
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