Describe the advantages and disadvantages of quasi-experiments? What is the fundamental weakness of a quasi-experimental design?

  1. Using the following reference, answer the following questions:

    Jackson, S. (2012). Research methods and statistics: A critical thinking approach. Belmont, CA Wadsworth Cengage Learning.


2)     A psychology professor is interested in whether implementing weekly quizzes improves student learning. She decides to use weekly quizzes in one section of her introductory psychology class and not to use them in another section of the same course. Which type of quasi-experimental design do you recommend for this study?


4)  Identify some possible confounds in each of the studies you outlined in your answer to exercise 2.


6)   Give three reasons a researcher might choose to use a single-case design.


8)   How does a multiple-baseline design differ from a reversal design?

Using references from the recommended list and any additional resources, answer the following questions:

  1. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of quasi-experiments? What is the fundamental weakness of a quasi-experimental design? Why is it a weakness? Does its weakness always matter?
  2. If you randomly assign participants to groups, can you assume the groups are equivalent at the beginning of the study? At the end? Why or why not? If you cannot assume equivalence at either end, what can you do? Please explain.
  3. Explain and give examples of how the particular outcomes of a study can suggest if a particular threat is likely to have been present.
  4. Describe each of the following types of designs, explain its logic, and why the design does or does not address the selection threats discussed in Chapter 7 of Trochim and Donnelly (2006):
    1. Non-equivalent control group pretest only
    2. Non-equivalent control group pretest/posttest
    3. Cross-sectional
    4. Regression-Discontinuity
  5. Why are quasi-experimental designs used more often than experimental designs?
  6. One conclusion you might reach (hint) after completing the readings for this assignment is that there are no bad designs, only bad design choices (and implementations). State a research question for which a single-group post-test only design can yield relatively unambiguous findings.



Part II

Based on the following reading, answer the following questions

Goldberg, N. (1990). A quasi-experiment assessing the effectiveness of TV advertising directed to children.

  1. What research question(s) does the study address?
  2. What is Goldberg’s rationale for the study? Was the study designed to contribute to theory? Do the results of the study contribute to theory? For both questions: If so, how? If not, why not?
  3. What constructs does the study address? How are they operationalized?
  4. What are the independent and dependent variables in the study?
  5. Name the type of design the researchers used.
  6. What internal and external validity threats did the researchers address in their design? How did they address them? Are there threats they did not address? If so how does the failure to address the threats affect the researchers’ interpretations of their findings? Are Goldberg’s conclusions convincing? Why or why not?

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