301 W6 P4: EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN
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
? 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?
Your paper must fulfill all instructions and its content is an obvious response to the assignment. Your responses to all questions (introduction, subjects for study,
measurement, methodology, and ethics) are thorough, detailed, and accurate.
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