• Question: Which type of reasrch design do you find to be most useful when conducting and experiment?

    Asked by Williams_ to Steve, Gem, Jermaine, Michelle on 15 Jun 2017. This question was also asked by abannister.
    • Photo: Steven Brown

      Steven Brown answered on 15 Jun 2017:

      I have quite a bit of experience with experiments – they work, if they match what you are trying to find out. For example, I recently compared what people would think of others if they were told someone liked ‘a wide range of music’ or ‘a narrow range of music’. Participants in either group did not know there was another group. I found that when people thought someone else enjoyed lots of musical styles they were rated positively, more open-minded, etc. It showed how much of a judgment we can make about someone based on something as simple as your favourite music. This is important as discussing favourite music is one of the first things people do when they first meet. So use this one to your advantage, but keep it between us! Tell people you listen to lots of music – they will think more of you! Oh how judgmental we can be.

      When conducting experiments I try and keep things simple – just two groups if possible – and ensure no-one in either group knows there’s another group. I also try and keep what I am measuring relatively simple – this all helps with the maths involved when computing differences using statistics.

      With any study it’s important to be quite focused. Try and do just one thing, basically. Then if your findings are ‘significant’ – ie a change did occur – you can say with some confidence that it was as a result of the experiment. Getting too ambitious and including lots of different elements can make it harder to actually explain the findings, no matter what they are.

    • Photo: Michelle Jamieson

      Michelle Jamieson answered on 22 Jun 2017:

      It all depends on the experiment and what youre trying to find out!