Designing an Experiment/Correlational Analysis

This is one of three planning sheets used to plan studies. In the research methods section of the unit four exam, it is very common that they ask you to plan your own study for a given topic. Planning sheets like this will helpful in showing you what things you should include for full marks.

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Designing an experiment or a study using a correlational analysis
Preliminary
decisions
Formulate research The research question is likely to be given to you in the exam question.
questions / aims Identify the target population
Identify the Decide on the levels of the IV
independent and How will you operationalise both variables?
dependent variables What measures will be taken?
or the co-variables What techniques will be used to take these measurements?
Experiments only: Lab, field or natural?
decide on the kind of Repeated measures, independent groups or matched pairs?
experiment and the Experimental and control groups / conditions?
experimental design
Write a hypothesis Directional or non-directional? Do you need to include a null hypothesis?
How will the variables be operationalised.
Secondary decisions
Selection of Identify a suitable method - random, quota, volunteer, opportunity,
participants stratified, systematic?
Size and composition in relation to target population?
If appropriate, technique of creating matched pairs / assigning to different
conditions.
Ethical issues Any ethical problems?
How can these ethical problems be dealt with?
Problems with validity Will the experiment / study measure what it intends to?
How can you deal with any issues of validity? (Situational variables,
participant variables, internal and external validity.)
Procedures - What
you will actually do.
Standardised Detailed enough to be replicated?
procedures What will participants be told?
How will you ensure informed consent?
What materials will be provided, how long will they have?
How will they be debriefed?
Pilot study Which aspects will need checking using a pilot study?
Treatment of results
Consider statistics to Which inferential test is right for the type of data and the design of the
use experiment or study?
Can you justify your choice?

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