Controversial Issues in Social Research Methods

Controversial Issues in Social Research Methods

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It is often said that one of the key determinants of a book's wmth is the extent to which it fulfills the reader's expectations. As such, we welcome this oppor- tunity to help formulate the expectations of our readers, to express our view of what this book is and what it is not. We believe that fully appreciating this volume requires understanding its mission and how it differs from that of other books on research methodology. We have not prepared a primer on research techniques. We offer no "how- to" guides for researchers-nothing on how to conduct interviews, how to design studies, or how to analyze data. We also have not prepared a partisan platform documenting "our way" of thinking about research. Very few, if any, attempts at proselytizing may be found in these pages. What we have done, we believe, is to bring together a number of recurring controversial issues about social psychological research-issues that have divided profes- sionals, puzzled students, and filled the pages of our journals. Few scholars have missed reports arguing the sides of various methodological contro- versies, such as those surrounding the merits or shortcomings of field research in comparison to laboratory research, the use of role playing as an alternative for studies involving deception, or the value of informed consent procedures, to name only a few examples. Our aim in preparing this volume has been to organize and summarize the salient aspects of these and other impmtant controversial issues.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 237 pages
  • 155 x 235 x 13.97mm | 400g
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • Softcover reprint of the original 1st ed. 1988
  • XIII, 237 p.
  • 1461283361
  • 9781461283362

Table of contents

1. The Scientific Status of Social Psychology.- Dimensions of the Controversy.- Transhistorical Laws and Invariant Processes.- Differences Between Natural Science and Social Science.- Controversial Issues.- How Stable Are Social Phenomena?.- How Should Social Phenomena Be Studied?.- Current Status of the Controversy.- 2. Informed Consent.- What Is Informed Consent?.- Purposes of Informed Consent.- Elements of Informed Consent.- Controversial Issues.- The Necessity of Informed Consent.- Procedures for Obtaining Informed Consent.- The Impact of Informed Consent on Research Findings.- Current Status of the Controversy.- 3. Role Playing Versus Deception.- Dimensions of Deception and Role Playing.- Experimental Deception.- Role-Playing Methodologies.- Controversial Issues.- Methodological Biases.- Epistemological Characteristics of the Data.- Empirical Comparisons Between Role-Playing and Deception Studies.- Ethical Issues.- Public Image Considerations.- Summarizing the Debate.- Current Status of the Controversy.- 4. The Laboratory Experiment Versus Field Research.- Characterizing Laboratory and Field Research.- The Laboratory Experiment.- Field Research.- Controversial Issues.- Artificiality.- Representativeness.- Current Status of the Controversy.- 5. Experiments Versus Quasi-experiments.- The Role of Random Assignment in Experimentation.- The Logic of Random Assignment.- The Quasi-experimental Alternative.- Controversial Issues.- The Alleged Infeasibility of Randomization.- Randomization as a Misguided Ideal?.- Current Status of the Controversy.- 6. Subject Roles.- The Context of Concern About Subject Perceptions.- Social Desirability and Hawthorne Effects.- Reactive Measurement.- Controversial Issues.- Varieties of Subject Roles.- Techniques for Assessing Subject Roles.- Techniques for Preventing Subject-Role Contamination.- Current Status of the Controversy.- 7. Experimenter Bias.- Dimensions of the Controversy.- Who Does the Biasing?.- What Is Biased?.- What Mechanisms Are Involved?.- Controversial Issues.- Experimenter Intentional Influence.- Statistical Analysis of Individual Studies.- Techniques of Control.- Current Status of the Controversy.- 8. Debriefing.- The Nature of the Debriefing Process.- Functions of Debriefing.- Methods of Debriefing.- Controversial Issues.- Effectiveness of Debriefing.- Problems Caused by Debriefing.- Current Status of the Controversy.- 9. Postexperimental Inquiries: Assessing Demand Awareness and Treatment Effectiveness.- Functions of Postexperimental Inquiries.- Assessing Suspiciousness About Manipulations.- Assessing the Effectiveness of Manipulations.- Controversial Issues.- Methods of Conducting Postexperimental Assessments.- Accuracy of Self-Reports.- Impact of Demand Awareness on Experimental Performance.- Interpreting Inconsistencies Between Treatment Effects and Manipulation Checks.- Current Status of the Controversy.- 10. Meta-analysis Versus Traditional Integrations of Research.- Characterizing Alternative Types of Literature Reviews.- Traditional Literature Reviews.- Meta-analystic Techniques.- Controversial Issues.- Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria.- Effect Size Nonindependence.- Category Breadth.- Current Status of the Controversy.- References.- Author Index.
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