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Key Terms in Research Methods
Terms in this set (82)
A prediction about relationships involving the theoretical constructs. It guides the purpose of a research study.
An actor or accomplice used by a researcher to pretend to be just another participant in a study.
A measure in which higher scores represent increasingly greater levels of a construct (e.g., weight, height, religiousness). In such measures, equal distances in numbers reflect equal gradations in the critical variable across all levels of the measurement scale. Nominal scale A measure requiring only that different numbers be assigned to observations, so they may be differentiated.
An orientation that recognizes that no single operation or measurement provides sufficient information to adequately define a concept a theoretical concept, so the construct is measured through several techniques or operations.
The process of translating an abstract theoretical construct or concept into a concrete specification of procedures and measures, so that it may be observed, recorded, and replicated.
A measure in which the ordering of number labels corresponds to the rank ordering of observations along some dimension.
The highest level of measurement, involving equal unit differences between adjacent numbers along all areas of a scale (as in interval scales), and a meaningful absolute zero point.
The empirical specification of a conceptual hypothesis, and this, a testable directional prediction about specific relationships in a study.
A non-directional question about specific relationships in a study; less precise than a hypothesis, insofar as it merely queries the possibility of a relation, rather than specifying its direction or valence.
A general approach for acquiring knowledge using systematic and objective methods to understand a phenomenon, which involves logic and data-checking feedback on the validity of results.
A formulation based on observations and insights, consisting of a series of tentative premises about ideas and concepts that lay the foundation for empirical research about a phenomenon.
A characteristic or attribute that may differ, and is the basic unit of observation and measurement in a study.
A relationship in which changes in A produces changes in B and, in addition, changes in B produces changes in A (e.g., perceiving threat produces feelings of anxiety, and increasing anxiety enhances the perception of threat).
A measured outcome or consequence, not manipulated by the researcher, and expected to be influenced by (or dependent upon) manipulation of the independent variable in an experiment.
Techniques of inferring causal relations, in which participants' actions are limited or in some way constrained by the controlled manipulation of variables determined by the researcher.
The extent of generalizability or certainty that results can be applied to other respondent groups, different settings, and different ways of operationalizing the conceptual variables.
A weak method of inferring validity based on superficial impressions regarding the extent that a measure appears to capture a construct.
Differences in scores are attributed to differential events (unrelated to the experimental treatment) that occurred during the passage of time.
A feature or characteristic manipulated independently of its natural sources of covariation to produce different conditions in an experimental study.
Scores are caused by changes in the properties of the measurement instrument, rather than by changes in the participants being measured. Examples include the instrument being damaged, or the measurement device failing.
Indicates the extent that inferences of causation can be made about the obtained relationship between an independent variable and a dependent variable.
Scores are caused by changes in the internal or physical characteristics of the participants (e.g., growing older, becoming more tired, less interested). These are termed maturation effects, even though some representatives of this class (e.g., growing tired) are not typically thought of as being related to physical maturation.
A third variable that serves as intermediary, to help explicate the chain of processes in a predictive relationship.
Selection procedures, treatment differences, or issues that yield different proportions of participants dropping out of the study may cause the observed differences between the groups in the final measurement.
Noncausal covariation (or correlation, or third-variable causation)
A relationship in which changes in A are indirectly accompanied by changes in B, because both A and B are determined by changes in another variable, C. For example, increases or decreases in the cost of living, C, results in the rise or fall of birth rate, A, and consumption of beef steak, B.
In this form of research, no variables are manipulated, but the relationships of naturally occurring variables are measured.
Variants of experimental methods that do not involve random assignment, but as in experiments, participants are exposed to some form of variable manipulation imposed (or investigated) by the researcher.
An allocation approach that requires that all persons available for a particular research study may participate in either the experimental or the control group, and that only chance determines the group to which any individual is assigned.
A form of creating a pool of potential research participants that requires that chance determine the selection of participants for a study, thereby helping to assure the generalizability of results from the sample to the entire population of relevant persons.
If scores for two or more groups of participants are being compared, differences are caused by selection (e.g., non-random) procedures employed when participants were assigned to the groups.
If participants were differentially (non-randomly) selected to serve in comparison groups, these specially selected groups may experience differences in history, maturation, testing, etc., which may produce differences in the final measurement.
Statistical regression (toward the mean)
Outcome scores are subject to misinterpretation if participants are selected on the basis of extreme scores at their initial measurement session. Owing to unreliability of repeated measures, at the later round, scores will tend toward the mean score of the participants. (This threat to internal validity will be discussed more fully in Chapter 10.)
A measure of the probability of obtaining an observed effect by chance, a threat to internal validity.
Scores obtained in a second administration of the measure is caused by participants having been exposed to the same measure previously.
A relationship in which changes in A produces subsequent changes in B, but changes in B do not influence A (e.g., increases in the temperature-humidity index produces an increase in aggressive responses of rats, but the degree of aggressiveness of rats does not affect weather conditions).
Used to control for treatment order effects. Sequencing of treatments involves every combination of treatment orderings, and each participant is randomly assigned to one of the sequences.
These designs involve combining levels of one independent variable or combined with levels of other independent variable(s), to expand the number of conditions in an experimental design.
An outcome that is evident when the effect of an independent variable on a dependent variable is altered or moderated by variations in the level of other independent variable(s), while controlling for the interacting variables' main effects.
Occurs when overall mean differences are observed on a dependent measure as a function of one independent variable, while all levels of other independent variables are held constant.
A compromise to complete counterbalancing that uses a Latin square design to account for the fact that it may be cumbersome to assign participants to every possible sequence of treatment orderings.
Posttest only control group design
An experimental design in which only a posttest, but no pretest, is given to randomly assigned participants in control and experimental groups.
Pretest-posttest control group design
An experimental design in which both pretest and posttest are given to participants randomly assigned to control or experimental groups.
A statistical design in which the same participants are repeatedly measured on the dependent variable, usually after more than one exposure to treatments.
Solomon four-group design
An investigative approach combining posttest-only and pretest-posttest-control group true experimental designs to test the main effects of treatments, including pretest effects, and the interaction of treatments with the presence/absence of the pretest.
In these studies, participants respond directly to a specially constructed situation that has been designed to reproduce or mimic selected features of a real world situation.
These treatments entail the systematic manipulation of some aspect of the physical setting.
The degree that an experiment has a real impact on participants during a study. Experimental arrangements of high realism induce participants to attend carefully to the task requirements.
A treatment that involves modification of the description of the purposes and procedures that participants encounter in a study.
A question or series of questions asked of participants to determine if they noticed the manipulation that was delivered in the experiment.
The degree to which various features of an experiment, such as instructions, treatments, and measurement operations, mirror real world events that participants might encounter in their day-to-day experiences, rather than laboratory-specific operations.
A treatment that induces a particular mindset or mental state of readiness in participants.
A method in which participants are instructed to actively imagine that they are actors in a specified real world situation and to respond as they believe they would in that context.
An experimental treatment involving the delivery of scripted actions of another human being, usually a confederate working for the experimenter.
Social network analysis
A method using dyadic relations as the basic unit of analysis, with the resulting data organized into matrix representations.
An alteration of theoretically implicated visual or verbal material in an experimental or quasi-experimental design.
An attempt to reproduce the results of a previous study by using different operational definitions to represent the same theoretical constructs.
An attempt to reproduce the results of a previous study by using the same procedures, particularly the same operationalizations, to represent the same constructs.
Research conducted outside the laboratory; participants are studied in their own naturalistic environment or context.
Coefficient of determination
The squared value of the Pearson correlation (r2). It represents the proportion of variance shared between two (correlated) variables.
A variable explained by a determinant or predictor variable or variables, as postulated in a structural equation model.
A variable not explained by a determinant or predictor, as postulated in a structural equation model.
Goodness of fit
An overall index of how well all the computed estimates of the relationships in the model successfully reproduce the underlying matrix of correlations among the variables.
Intraclass correlation (ICC)
An index of interrater reliability for two or more coders of a quantitative variable used to assess the extent to which participants have more homogeneous scores within higher-order grouping units relative to variability of participant scores across all groupings in a multi-level model.
A process in which participants are divided at the "middlemost" score, with 50 percent of participants falling above, and 50 percent falling below the split.
A statistical technique used to estimate the relationships of predictor(s) to a criterion, if the design involves a nested hierarchy of units.
An extension of the Pearson correlation, it is used to estimate the relationships of multiple predictors to a criterion.
A type of structural equation model in which predictive relationships involving only measured variables are estimated.
Pearson product-moment correlation
A type of structural equation model in which predictive relationships involving only measured variables are estimated.
Structural equation model
A statistical technique that overcomes the limitations of a multiple regression analysis by allowing the researcher to estimate and test the strength of relationships among multiple predictors and multiple criterion variables.
Measurement error that occurs if random events that affect the measure obtained at one time carry over and are correlated with measurements taken at temporally adjacent points in time.
Comparison time-series design
A design method that combines features of interrupted time series and comparison group designs.
Small-scale studies used to determine if a program as planned can be delivered effectively, given the constraints. The purpose of this form of small-scale field testing is to decide if the program components can be implemented as intended on a wide-scale basis.
Growth curve model
An analysis conducted to determine the longitudinal trajectory or shape of observations for participants measured at multiple time points.
Interrupted time-series design
A method in which the relative degree of change that occurs after a quasi-experimental treatment is examined by comparing observations across a series of time points prior to the treatment with observations taken at time points occurring it.
A method used to judge the extent of an existing social problem and determine whether a program or intervention is required to remediate it.
A mechanism to provide initial feedback to program designers that can lead to revisions or alterations in program materials, design, and procedures before the intervention is implemented on a larger and more costly scale.
Program efficiency studies
Research conducted on a small scale to determine whether the expected effects from the planned intervention occur as anticipated.
The person responsible for evaluating and assessing the many aspects and stages of a program or intervention.
This represents the conditional probability of an individual's membership in one group (e.g., the experimental group) over another (e.g., the control group), given the pattern of that person's responses on the covariates used in the score's development.
Propensity score matching
A statistical technique that uses complex statistical procedures, statistically matching participants on as many covariates as can be specified by the researcher, to determine differences between comparison groups, or to create roughly comparable groups to be used in lieu of random assignment.
A quasi-experimental method conducted to test the existence of some systematic relationship between a pretest selection variable, used to place participants along some continuum (e.g., achievement, poverty) and a posttest measure of in¬terest (e.g., school grades, job seeking).
A test conducted to assess whether a fully implemented program had an effect on the problem it was designed to address.
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