Department of Psychology

Research Designs

It is important to think about validity and reliability when designing your study. This will impact how they will be able to be generalized to the population.

Validity-How likely the measure you are using actually measures your dependent variable.
Reliability-How likely the measure you are using measures the dependent variable consistently (does it measure it each time).
The type of research project you are doing will depict the design you will use:
Within subjects-Used when the researcher is interested in determining whether or not one condition is better than another and is dependent upon having the same participants in both conditions. An example could be determining whether website A is more efficient than website B.
Between subjects-Used when the researcher is interested in determining whether or not one condition is better than another. An example could be determining whether using PowerPoint presentations help students get better grades compared to overhead projections.
Counterbalancing-The practice of randomizing the order of condition for participants (see Tables 1 and 2).
Diagram for counterbalancing in within subjects designs.

Table 1. Counterbalancing for within subjects design

Diagram for counterbalancing in between subjects designs.

Table 2. Counterbalancing for between subjects design

Manual for the research designs section.

Research Designs Section-Manual

Resource

The following is an additional reading resource that you may find useful:

Research Methods Resource: Heiman, G. (2001). Research Methods in Psychology (3rd ed.). Cengage Learning.

You can click on the following links to go to other sections within the research review:
Research Designs
Statistical Analysis
Using SPSS for Data Analysis
Manuals for Research
References