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Understanding and Analyzing Experimental Research, Reaction Paper Example

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In this article, the author observes that the purpose of experimental research is generally to observe cause and effect relationships (Creswell, 2008). Yet, the author points out, providing a cause and effect relationship is more complicated than it looks. Many studies and experiments seem to prove a hypothesis at first glance, many experiments fail to take internal and external factors that can interfere with their studies validity. Among the internal factors are history, maturity, the influence of pretests, changes of instrumentation, participant selection, mortality of experiments and statistical regression. Among the external factors are the interfering effects of pretests, the effect of sample selection, the effects of the procedures of experimentation and multiple treatment interference. Researchers can guard against problems with these factors by, among other things, performing post-test only tests to ameliorate the effect of pretesting on experiments and randomizing their samples.

This article was eye-opening for me. I have often looked at studies where researchers have compared pretest scores to post-test scores without taking into account the effect of statistical regression or the effect pre-tests have on post-test scores. Previously, I accepted many of these studies as valid, but now I am not convinced that they were. Having taken pre-tests and post-tests before, I agree with the author’s assertion that taking a pre-test can affect post-test scores, without necessarily encouraging students to learn or to absorb more material.I also agree with the author’s assertion that history can have a great effect on student knowledge. Many of my acquaintances, for instance, claim not to have known what the WorldTradeCenter was until after September 11th. Now, because of substantial media coverage every September, most people have at least a basic understanding of the buildings and their functions.

From now on, I will look at studies comparing two or more groups more objectively. I will look to see if the authors have controlled the external variables that might interfere with their studies (Creswell, 2008) .

Reference

Creswell, J. W. (2008). Chapter 5: Understanding and Analyzing Experimental Research. In Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches(75-99).  Newark, CA: Sage.

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