For this week’s discussion, I chose to review scenario I of our course text. I determined that the researchers were unable to conclude that financial bonuses were the source for the increased production due to a confounding variable known as “demand characteristics”. This variable threatens the internal validity of the research scenario because it surmises that members of the uninformed experimental group may have been able to guess at the research hypothesis that was taking place throughout the study. Demand characteristics are defined in the course text as “aspects of the research that allow the participants to guess the research hypothesis”. (Stagnor, 2015). It is my observation that the participants of the uninformed experimental group would have been able to deduce that there were incentives being offered for increased production per the informed experimental group’s actions throughout the research study period. By observing their coworkers, the uninformed would have been able to take notice to their increased production and would have surmised that they were being rewarded for said increase, thereby following suit in order to be rewarded as well.
By using a repeated measures design, instead of structuring the experiment the way it was done so in the scenario I, the researchers would be able to first observe normal production within a control group. Following that they could offer the incentive and then observe whether or not it increased production. This method would hopefully erase the possibility of demand characteristics within the study, allowing for the researchers to draw more direct conclusions about whether or not incentives have a significant impact on production.
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Stangor, C. (2015). Research methods for the behavioral sciences. Australia: Cengage Learning.