Introduction and Objectives Week 6:

Introduction and ObjectivesWeek 6: Research Design II

Introduction

While generating a research design is crucial for the success of a psychological study, determining the right design may sometimes be challenging. As a researcher, you will need to select the best design for your study. Quasi-experimental research designs and naturalistic research designs are two options you may need to consider.

In Week 5, you considered nonexperimental correlational studies and experimental research designs that manipulate variables in order to draw causal conclusions. This week, you explore additional research designs with variables that are challenging to control for. There are two main conditions that make up quasi-experiments:

  1. The first condition occurs when the independent variable is not manipulated. This is termed a participant variable design. Participant variables are, for example, gender, age, race—and you cannot manipulate, or randomly assign, a participant’s gender, age, or race.
  2. The second condition occurs when there cannot be random assignment to conditions. For example, if you sign up for a weight loss program at work, the program sponsor will not likely randomly assign you to a particular group, or condition. Rather the sponsor will just have to take whomever signs up for the program and go from there.

When either of these two conditions are present in studies, researchers cannotdraw causal conclusions about the results of the studies. Rather, researchers can only examine the relations between variables, thus making the quasi-experimental research correlational.

Why is this the case? Because, as you also learned in Week 5, there could be something else (e.g., an extraneous variable) that is causing a relation among the variables. In addition, when there is no random assignment you cannot be assured that the groups were equivalent at the beginning of the study.   

Naturalistic research designs also can be challenging because the researcher, or trained observer, does not interact with the participants, and thus is not able to control for unexpected situations that might interfere with obtaining accurate results. Nevertheless, with proper planning, researchers can implement successful naturalistic studies.

This week, you examine naturalistic research studies and analyze the role of the observer and the types of behavior under observation in such studies. You also investigate quasi-experimental designs and evaluate their appropriateness to research studies. Finally, you analyze statistical concepts related to research findings.

Running head: RESEARCH DESIGN 1 Research DesignNameInstitution RESEARCH DESIGN 2Research DesignNaturalistic Research Design Naturalistic research design refers to a method of data collection…

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