Research designs ( apa 6th edition, 600 words max)

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Research Designs
17:00 Friday 8th December 2017
Essay
500 – 600 words (max 600 words)
Yes APA 6th Edition
Assignment Details
The purpose of this assignment is to practice critically evaluating research designs. In
particular, you are considering threats to validity (i.e., internal, external, construct). On
the next page, you will find four (4) research designs and their findings. For each design,
you must:
1. Identify which type of validity is threatened;
2. Explain how or why you think validity is threatened;
3. Explain how you could change the research design to eliminate or reduce the threat.
What are the assessment criteria?
Identify one threat to validity; explain how or why it is a threat; explain how the design
could be changed to eliminate or reduce the threat.
Design 1 – Study Habits of University Students
Researchers examined the study habits of university students in an effort to investigate the
effects of taking breaks during studying. In their study, they kept track of the learning of
students who studied the same material over a one-week period. They also monitored the
number of breaks that students scheduled and took for themselves. They found that the
students who took more scheduled breaks tended to have higher learning scores, whereas
students who took fewer scheduled breaks tended to have lower learning scores. As a
consequence of their findings, the researchers concluded that learning is enhanced by
taking breaks during study.
Design 2 – Treatment of Depression
A researcher interested in the treatment of depression developed an intensive treatment
program designed to teach people to think positively. To test the effectiveness of his
program, the researcher recruited 50 people with depression from a hospital clinic. The
participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups – a treatment group (n=25) or a
control group (n=25). Participants in the treatment group attended the clinic for a 1-hour
therapy session every day for 2 weeks. Participants in the control group also attended the
clinic for 1 hour every day for 2 weeks, but instead of receiving therapy, they watched
documentaries about nature. None of the participants dropped out of the study. At the end
of the two weeks, participants in the treatment group scored significantly higher on a
validated measurement of self-esteem than participants in the control group. The researcher
concluded that his program is an effective treatment for depression.
Design 3 – Road Rage
An investigator designed an experiment to examine the relationship between frustration
and road rage. She recruited healthy adults from the general community and instructed
them to attend her laboratory. The participants were randomly assigned to a frustration
group or a control group. To manipulate the participants’ level of frustration, the
investigator asked the participants to work on a fascinating intellectual task. Participants in
the control group were allowed to complete the task, but participants in the frustration
group were not. The investigator found that the frustrated participants were more likely
than the control participants to insult a mildly annoying confederate (trained research
assistant) who bumps into them in the hallway when they are leaving the laboratory at the
end of the study. The investigator concluded that frustration causes road rage.
Design 4 – Improving Memory
A team of researchers has recently developed a 30-minute memory enhancement program
specifically for older adults. To determine whether the program is effective, the researchers
recruited 80 adults (mean age = 62.1 years) from the general population to participate in a
single- day study. The participants attended the testing centre in the morning and
completed a standardised verbal memory test. After completing the memory test, the
participants underwent a 30-minute memory enhancement program. The standardised
verbal memory test was then administered again to assess the participants’ memory
performance. The participants’ verbal memory performance was significantly better after
the 30-minute memory enhancement program than before it. The team of researchers
concluded that a 30-minute memory enhancement program improves memory performance
in older adults.

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