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Congratulations! You have been awarded a $100,000 grant to conduct a social science experiment, no strings attached. Your task now is to develop the plans for an experiment and decide who will participate. In writing about your plans, you will demonstrate your mastery of the classical experimental design. (You will not actually carry out the experiment.)
→ WHAT TO DO
• Think of possibilities for an experiment. Your options are practically unlimited, as long as your experiment meets these criteria:
• It must relate in some way to your major, minor, or concentration area. For example, Criminal Justice majors must design an experiment that in some way relates to crime, justice, corrections, or related topics. Sociology majors must design an experiment relating in some way to society (meaning just about anything involving human behavior, attitudes, or interactions). Social science majors who have a concentration in political science could design an experiment measuring public opinion toward the government. Please ask your instructor if you’re not sure whether your idea would be acceptable.
• It must follow the classical experimental design, including the three key components:
Experimental and control groups
Stimulus and placebo
Pretest and posttest
• It must be ethically acceptable and include an informed consent form.
• The primary variable that the experiment measures must be skills, knowledge, attitudes, or beliefs. In other words, your experiment must determine whether a specific stimulus affects people’s skills,
knowledge, or attitudes, or beliefs. For example, the experiment in Chapter 8 determines whether a stimulus affects attitudes toward African Americans. Other experiments might determine whether a
stimulus affects people’s skills in a certain area, or their beliefs, or their knowledge about a certain topic. Open the file titled “Experiment diagrams.” You’ll see the diagram that appears in Chapter 8, showing the parts of the experiment measuring prejudice and attitudes toward African Americans. You’ll also see a blank diagram, for you to fill in with the details of your own experiment. Think of your own experiment as a new version of the textbook’s experiment, where your job is to replace the specific details from that experiment with new details for
your own experiment..
→WHAT TO WRITE
Write a proposal for your experiment, using the format below.
Your proposal should use APA format, including a cover sheet, page numbers, double-spaced, and free of spelling and grammar errors. Do not write an abstract. Save your paper repeatedly as you write it, in .doc or .docx format. Please read over your paper and correct errors before handing it in. Your proposal will include the following sections, with headings centered as shown. Write one paragraph for the “Introduction” that answers the questions for that section, one paragraph for “Subjects for Study” that answers the questions for that section, and so on. Your paper should therefore have five paragraphs followed by an appendix.
What will you try to find out in this experiment?
Why should people be interested in this topic and your results?
Subjects for Study
Who will your pool of participants be? (E.g., 100 adult college students? 250 inmates from a California state prison? 50 children aged 8-12? Be as specific as you can, remembering that cost is not an issue.)
Why is that group of people the most appropriate group for this experiment?
Why is it necessary for the classical experimental design (and therefore this experiment) to have a control group and an experimental group?
What primary variable will you measure in this experiment? (E.g., the example in Chapter 8 measured attitudes toward African Americans.)
Describe the pretest that you will use to measure that variable. (This is labeled #1 and #2 on your experiment diagram.)
Describe the posttest that you will use to measure that variable. (This is labeled #4 and #5 on your experiment
Why is it necessary for the classical experimental design (and therefore this experiment) to have a pretest and a
What stimulus will you administer to the experimental group? Why is it an appropriate stimulus for this experiment? (This is labeled #3 on your experiment diagram.)
What placebo will you administer to the control group? Why is it an appropriate placebo for this experiment? (This does not appear on your experiment diagram, but if that experiment did have a placebo, it would appear under the #3 label.)
Why is it necessary for the classical experimental design (and therefore this experiment) to have a stimulus and a placebo?
Cite at least two specific ethical principles (from Chapter 3 and/or class materials) and explain how this experiment will uphold them. Even if your experiment follows general ethical principles, there may still be
potential risks about which you are obligated to inform your participants. In what ways, if any, might this experiment be potentially harmful to participants? Think carefully, considering physical harm, emotional harm, embarrassment, and other possibilities.
On its own page, include an informed consent form, following the model under “Required Supplementary Resources” above.
Congratulations! You have been awarded a $100,000 grant to conduct a social science experiment, no strings attached. Your task now is to develop the plans for an experiment and decide who will participate. In writing about your plans, you will demonstrate your mastery of the classical experimental design. (You will not actually carry out the experiment.