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Chapter 11 - Evaluating Experimental Research

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 December 2019

Robert J. Sternberg
Affiliation:
Cornell University, New York
Diane F. Halpern
Affiliation:
Claremont McKenna College, California
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Summary

Experiments allow researchers to determine cause and effect relations between variables. As such, they are a critical component in the advance of scientific psychology. In this chapter, we discuss the theory behind the design of good experiments, and provide a sample study for evaluation. We outline three important types of replication, and give an overview of historical events that led to a renewed vigilance regarding replicability. Finally, we discuss generalizability of research in terms of four factors: Subjects (or participants), materials used in the experiment, dependent measures, and the experimental situation. Effects that generalize across these sets of factors are robust. We end the chapter with a set of 18 critical-thinking questions that should be borne in mind while reading and evaluating experimental research. Referring to these questions will help to sharpen critical thinking skills about experimental research.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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