Designing and Conducting an Experiment: Expectation and Task Difficulty


IV: Whether the quiz given is believed to be University or Year 7 standard.

DV: The score on the test.

Type of experement: Lab experement - An experement that takes place in a controlled environment within which the researcher manipulates the  IV and records the effect on the DV, whilst maintaining strict control of extraneous variables.

Aim: To investigate whether expectations of how difficult a quiz will be affects the final score of the test.

Hypothesis: There will be a higher average score on the quiz that participants believe to be of year 7 standard than the quiz participants believe to be of university standard.

Null Hypothesis: There will be no difference in the average marks scored on the quiz in either of the conditions.

Experemetal Design: Independant groups - participants are allocated to different groups, where each group represents one experemental condition.

Sampling: Random Sample - All members of the target population have an equal chance of being selected for either condition.

Condition A: Participants are told the quiz is of university standard.

Condition B: Participants are told the quiz is of year 7 standard.

Method: I will give participants a number and then use a random number generator to assign them to one of 2 groups: either the group that is told the quiz was for year 7's, or the group that is told the quiz was used in a University. Once each participant has completed the quiz, I will collect in the results and find the average scores for each test. As a side bonus, I will ask participants to rate on a scale of 1-10 how difficult they though the quiz was, with 1 being really easy and 10 being really hard.

Verbatim Instructions (Condition A): Thank you for agreeing to take part in my study. Because I have to treat this like an experiment that could be done on people I may not know I will take this opportunity to let you know that you have a right to withdraw from this study if at any point you don’t want to continue for whatever reason.

The aim of this experement is to see if gender affects general knowledge, so basically, whether males or females have better general knowledge.

Once you have completed this quiz, I’d like you to give it to me so I can put your final score in a spreadsheet. You can take as long as you would like over the quiz, the only thing that is required is that you answer every question, even if you don’t know the answer.

I found this quiz on the Edinburgh University website. This is a few select questions from the quiz that was put together for the university’s general knowledge competition.

So do you have any questions?

Ok, here is your quiz, and I hope it goes well for you.

Verbatim Instructions (Condition B): Thank you for agreeing to take part in my study. Because I have to treat this like


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