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Pitfalls in Human Research - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780080209340, 9781483138039

Pitfalls in Human Research

1st Edition

Ten Pivotal Points

Author: Theodore Xenophon Barber
Editors: Arnold P. Goldstein Leonard Krasner
eBook ISBN: 9781483138039
Imprint: Pergamon
Published Date: 1st January 1976
Page Count: 126
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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


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


No. of pages:
© Pergamon 1976
1st January 1976
eBook ISBN:

About the Author

Theodore Xenophon Barber

About the Editors

Arnold P. Goldstein

Leonard Krasner

Ratings and Reviews