Pitfalls in Human Research

Pitfalls in Human Research

Ten Pivotal Points

1st Edition - January 1, 1976

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  • Author: Theodore Xenophon Barber
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483138039

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Pitfalls in Human Research examines 10 ten pivotal points in human research where investigators and experimenters can go astray. Two questions are addressed: At what pivotal points in the complex research process can the experimental study go astray and give rise to misleading results and conclusions? What steps can researchers take to avoid these pitfalls? To answer these questions, those aspects of experimental studies that are under the control of the investigator as well as those aspects that are under the control of the experimenter are examined. This book begins by making a distinction between the investigator and the experimenter, arguing that their roles are functionally quite different. The discussion then turns to the 10 pitfalls in human research, divided into investigator effects and experimenter effects: investigator paradigm effect; investigator experimental design effect; investigator loose procedure effect; investigator data analysis effect; investigator fudging effect; experimenter personal attributes effect; experimenter failure to follow the procedure effect; experimenter misrecording effect; experimenter fudging effect; and experimenter unintentional expectancy effect. This monograph will be a useful resource for both investigators and experimenters, as well as those who utilize research results in their teaching or practice.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction

    Pitfall I. Investigator Paradigm Effect

    Tenacity of Paradigms and Resistance to New Discoveries

    Failing to "See" Events and "Seeing" Non-Existent Events

    Paradigms in Psychology

    Paradigms versus Pet Theories or Hypotheses

    Recommendations and Conclusions

    Pitfall II. Investigator Experimental Design Effect

    Pitfall III. Investigator Loose Procedure Effect

    Pitfall IV. Investigator Data Analysis Effect

    Pitfalls in Data Analysis: Two Illustrative Studies

    Illustrative Study 1

    Illustrative Study 2



    Motivations for Positive Results

    Pitfall V. Investigator Fudging Effect

    Some Instances of Fudging

    Newton, Dalton, Mendel

    The Summerlin Case


    Other Recent Cases

    Motivations for Fudging

    Motivations for Honesty

    Experimenter Effects

    Pitfall VI. Experimenter Personal Attributes Effect

    Failure to Control for Other Attributes

    Failure to Assess Interactive Effects

    Failure to Sample Psychological Tasks


    Pitfall VII. Experimenter Failure to Follow the Procedure Effect

    Pitfall VIII. Experimenter Mis-recording Effect

    Pitfall IX. Experimenter Fudging Effect

    Pitfall X. Experimenter Unintentional Expectancy Effect

    Experimenter Unintentional Expectancy Effect or Investigator Data Analysis Effect?

    Experimenter Expectancy, Failure to Follow the Procedure, Mis-recording, or Fudging?

    Studies that Failed to Find an Experimenter Unintentional Expectancy Effect

    Studies with Equivocal Results

    "Confirming" Expectancies by Varying the Conduct of the Experiment

    Expectancy and Experimenters' Scoring of Responses

    Studies Indicating an Experimenter Unintentional Expectancy Effect

    Experimenter Expectancy as an Interactive Effect

    Summary and Conclusions

    Overview and Recommendations

    Postscript: The Future of Experimental Research


    Name Index

    Subject Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 126
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Pergamon 1976
  • Published: January 1, 1976
  • Imprint: Pergamon
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483138039

About the Author

Theodore Xenophon Barber

About the Editors

Arnold P. Goldstein

Leonard Krasner

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