Langston, Research Methods
Laboratory, Exercise 2 -- Measurement/Ethics
Part 1: Statistics
For each research question, formulate a hypothesis, predict an outcome,
and tell me what statistical procedure would be appropriate to test your
1. Will a good night's sleep help comprehension in an early morning
class more than staying up and watching TV? I have some people sleep
8 hours one night, and then the same people watch TV the next night.
I measure performance in the morning class after both treatments.
2. Will "cramming" all night lead to better performance on exams
than sleeping for a few hours? I have one group study from 8 PM until
midnight, and a different group studies from 8 PM all night.
3. How much alcohol does it take to impair driving? I have
one group take one drink, a different group take two drinks, and a different
group take three drinks. Then I have each group drive an obstacle
4. Will hot weather increase violent behavior? I measure
temperature and number of violent acts for each day of the summer and look
at the relationship between temperature and violence.
Part 2: Ethics
Discuss the ethical implications of these experiments:
1. What happens to the results of an experiment when the experimenter
has an expectation in mind? We get some students and tell them that
we're replicating recent work on the relationship between race and IQ.
Then we give each of them a hypothesis to work with. The thing is,
none of these people are experimenters. The real test is to see if
the data they collect confirms their hypothesis. (The design is similar
to Rosenthal, 1966.)
2. What happens when a "normal" person is placed in a mental
institution? I have some "patients" complain of existential psychosis
(they report hearing voices saying "empty," "hollow," and "thud").
This is the only symptom, otherwise they tell the truth and respond faithfully
on all tests. After the first day, they show no additional symptoms.
Will the staff of the institutions recognize that these people are not
mentally ill? (The design is similar to Rosenhan, 1973.)
Research Methods Lab Exercise 2
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