Mottos/Mantras/Take-Home Lessons From Chapter 4

  1. If you have a choice of articles, choose wisely: Articles differ greatly in readability.
  2. Reading the Abstract, a summary of the article, can help you choose wisely.
  3. The Introduction (The "why we are doing this study" section of the article) can be challenging to read, but once you understand the introduction,
    1. The rest of the article should make sense
    2. You probably will be able to quickly grasp introductions of related articles.
  4. The Method section (the "how we did it" section) is probably the easiest section to read. Read it critically.
    1. Question its internal validity--if participants weren't randomly assigned.
    2. Question the external validity by questioning the sample. 
    3. Question the construct validity by questioning the operational definitions and by thinking how you, if you were a participant, would have reacted to being in the study. 
  5. The Results section (the "What we found" section ) may involve some complex statistics but there should be a clear statement about whether the results supported the hypothesis. If there isn't such a statement, you can probably find such a statement in the Discussion section.
  6. The Discussion (the "Why it matters and what's next" section) will, in many ways, mirror the Introduction.  The main differences will be (a) if the Results are not consistent with what the researcher expected and (b) that the Discussion is setting the stage for additional research whereas the Introduction was setting the stage for the present study.
  7. Any study can benefit from replication.
  8. If you think that the study's reported results may be due to a fluke or to fraud, do an exact (direct) replication.
  9. If  you question the generality of the findings (you ask yourself, "when, where, and for whom would that be not true?), test the external validity of the findings by systematically replicating the study with that different population or in a different setting. Ideally, you might do a study in which you have one set of conditions in which you replicate the original findings using the original participant population or setting and another set of conditions in which you obtain different findings. If so, the factor that you varied between  between your conditions would be the moderator variable.
  10. Four  places to look for problems with the study's construct validity-- and how to deal with the problems you find :
    1. Unintentional researcher bias. Consider a systematic replication using blind techniques
    2. Participant bias-- participants figuring out the hypothesis: Consider a systematic replication using the double-blind technique, replicate the study as a field experiment, change the cover story, use more or better control conditions, or make the study more interesting so that participants are focused on just doing the tasks rather than on asking " what is the hypothesis and how should I do this task to support that hypothesis?"
    3. Manipulation's validity is questionable: Do conceptual replication using a different manipulation (i.e., a different independent variable).
    4. Measure's validity is questionable: Do conceptual replication using a different measure (i.e., a different dependent variable).
  11. If a non-experimental study suggests a cause-effect hypothesis, test that hypothesis by manipulating the suspected cause in an experiment. 

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