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RESEARCH CONTROL – the imposing of rules by the researcher to decrease the possibility of error and increase

the probability that the findings are an accurate reflection of reality (Grove & Burns, 2003).

Extraneous variables – those which have irrelevant association with the dependent variables and confound the
testing of the research hypothesis.
e.g. environment, time, communication, characteristics of the participants

Ways of Controlling Extraneous Variables

1. Randomization – randomly assigning subjects to either experimental or control group
2. Homogeneity – involves selecting a group such that variability of the extraneous variables is eliminated
3. Blocking – entails inclusion of an extraneous variable as an independent variable.
4. Matching – selecting the control group subjects who are equivalent to those in the experimental group
5. Using statistical procedure to control undesirables e.g. analysis of covariance
6. Repeated measures – one group of subjects can be exposed to more than one condition or treatment.

Validity in Relation to the Research Design

a. Internal Validity – whether or not the manipulation of the independent variable really makes a
significant difference on the dependent variable.

Threats to Internal Validity

1. History – external events, that can affect the dependent variables can occur at about the same time as
the introduction of the independent variables
2. Selection bias – when people are not assigned randomly to groups, the possibility always exists that
groups being compared are not equivalent.
3. Maturation – some events occurs as a result of time rather than the independent variable
4. Experimental mortality – a differential loss of subjects from the comparison groups (attrition).

b. External Validity – generalizability of the research findings to other settings or sample

Threats to External Validity

1. Hawthorne effect – subjects in an investigation may behave in a particular manner largely because
there are aware of their participation in a study
2. Novelty effect – when a treatment is new, subjects and research agents alike might alter their behavior
3. Experimenter effect – the performance of the subjects may be affected by the characteristics of the
4. Measurement effects – the tool used to collect data can itself affect he data being collected