Test Bank For Research Methods, Design, And Analysis, 11Th Ed, Larry B. Christensen, R. Burke Johnson, Lisa A. Turner



Research Methods, Design, And Analysis, 11Th Ed, Larry B. Christensen, R. Burke Johnson, Lisa A. Turner – Test Bank 

Chapter 2

Research Approaches and Methods of Data Collection

Learning objectives

To be able to

  • Describe the different types of variables used in quantitative research
  • Explain the nature of causation and how researchers attempt to establish causation.
  • Describe the key characteristics of experimental research approach as used in


  • Describe the advantages and disadvantages of experimental research
  • Describe the different settings in which experimental research is conducted and the

advantages and disadvantages associated with each setting.

  • Explain the differences between nonexperimental and experimental quantitative research


  • Compare and contrast the types of nonexperimental quantitative research
  • Define and explain the goals and characteristics of qualitative research.
  • Compare and contrast the different methods of data collection.



Multiple-choice questions


1) What is the main difference between descriptive and experimental research approaches?

  1. a) the former always uses qualitative data while the latter always uses quantitative data
  2. b) descriptive research is done by social scientists while natural scientists do experimental research
  3. c) descriptive research involves manipulating variables but experimental research does


*          d) The former does not establish cause-and-effect relationships but the latter does


2) The _________ variable is the presumed cause of another variable while the ________ variable is the presumed effect.

*          a) independent; dependent

  1. b) dependent; independent
  2. c) independent; extraneous
  3. d) independent; mediating


3) In a study designed to identify factors involved in helping behavior, a man on a crowded bus clutches his chest and falls to the floor. In one of the conditions of the study the man is clean shaven and wearing a suit; in the other condition he has a scraggly beard and is wearing a dirty t-shirt and jeans. The amount of time it takes for someone to help the man is recorded. In this example the independent variable is

  1. a) the amount of time it takes someone to help.

*          b) the appearance of the man.

  1. c) the participants in the study.
  2. d) how crowded the bus is.


4) In a study designed to identify factors involved in helping behavior, a man on a crowded bus clutches his chest and falls to the floor. In one of the conditions of the study the man is clean shaven and wearing a suit; in the other condition he has a scraggly beard and is wearing a dirty t-shirt and jeans. The amount of time it takes for someone to help the man is recorded. In this example the dependent variable is

*          a) the amount of time it takes someone to help.

  1. b) the appearance of the man.
  2. c) the participants in the study.
  3. d) how crowded the bus is.


5) A(n) ______________ variable is one that is not under the control of the researcher but that may be influencing the outcome of the experiment.

  1. a) independent

*          b) extraneous

  1. c) mediating
  2. d) moderating


6) A researcher is interested in the effects of teaching styles on learning. She randomly assigns students to either a lecture-based class taught at 8:00 a.m. or a discussion-based class taught at 2:00 p.m. Her results reveal that students in the discussion-based class performed better than those in the lecture-based class. In this example the time that the class is taught could be considered a(n) _________ variable, making it impossible to establish a causal connection between teaching method and classroom performance.

  1. a) independent
  2. b) dependent

*          c) extraneous

  1. d) mediating


7) Several recent studies have found that moderate drinkers of alcohol have lowered levels of heart disease risk than non-drinkers. It has been hypothesized that moderate drinking may reduce stress which in turn may lead to a reduction in the risk of heart disease. In this example lowered stress levels would be considered a(n) __________ variable.

  1. a) independent
  2. b) dependent
  3. c) extraneous

*          d) mediating


8) A(n) ___________ variable specifies how a causal relationship between two variables is different depending on a particular situation or circumstance. For example, if a researcher finds that a new experimental drug is effective in alleviating depression in young adult but not older adults.

  1. a) mediating

*          b) moderating

  1. c) extraneous
  2. d) independent


9) According to your text there are three conditions for making justified claims of cause and effect. Which of the following is NOT one of these conditions:

  1. a) the independent and dependent variables must be related

*          b) the dependent variable must be manipulated by the researcher

  1. c) the independent variable must precede the dependent variable
  2. d) no other plausible explanations between the independent and dependent variables

should exist


10) An effect is

  1. a) a reaction that a person makes
  2. b) the difference between what you want to happen and what does happen
  3. c) the difference between what does happen and what you want to happen

*          d) the difference between what would have happened in the absence of a treatment and what did actually happen



11) What does it mean to say that an observation is “objective?”

  1. a) the observation is empirical
  2. b) it is done by a trained, professional scientist
  3. c) the observation has a rational basis

*          d) it is unaffected by the observer’s personal biases


12) Experimental research, as opposed to qualitative and nonexperimental quantitative research, allows us to make statements about cause-and-effect relationships. Why is this so?

  1. a) Experimental research involves studying how two variables covary.
  2. b) Experimental research uses statistical analysis.

*          c)  In experimental research, we can observe the effects of manipulating variables under controlled conditions.

  1. d) Experimental research uses objective observations.


13) Which of the following is NOT a defining characteristic of a psychological experiment?

  1. a) it involves objective observation
  2. b) variables are manipulated in a highly controlled environment

*          c)  it always takes place in a laboratory

  1. d) one or more factors are varied while the rest are held constant


14) According to the text, a “phenomenon that is made to occur” in a psychology experiment is

  1. a) an emotion.
  2. b) a thought.

*          c)  an observable behavior.

  1. d) a natural event.


15) Which of the following is NOT a strength of the experimental approach?

*          a)  proving your hypothesis is correct

  1. b) inferring a causal relationship
  2. c) manipulating precisely one or more variables
  3. d) controlling extraneous variables


16) What is the most critical aspect of the experimental method that allows us to make statements about cause and effect based on experimental data?

  1. a) real-life setting
  2. b) operationalism
  3. c) objectivity

*          d) control


17) As noted in your text, one disadvantage of the experimental approach is the inability to:

  1. a) control extraneous variables
  2. b) establish cause and effect

*          c) assess the effects of variables that cannot be manipulated

  1. d) make objective observations


18) According to your text, what is probably the most commonly cited disadvantage of using laboratory experiments to learn about human behavior?

*          a)  because they tend to be done in highly controlled settings, their results may not be generalizable to the real world

  1. b) with their mechanistic approach to human behavior, they ignore the participants’ thoughts and emotions
  2. c) operational definitions reduce the abstract concept to a trivial level, making broad interpretations difficult at best
  3. d) because they tend to use other species, the results are usually irrelevant to human



19) Which of the following would not be considered a field experiment?

  1. a) effects of computer-based instruction on computing confidence in a teacher training


*          b) effects of music on memory performance among introductory psychology students

  1. c) effects of self-selected incentives on productivity among auto workers
  2. d) effects of television violence on playground aggression among kindergarteners.


20) What is the main difference between experimentation done in a field setting and experimentation done in a laboratory?

  1. a) in field experimentation, variables are not manipulated
  2. b) in field experimentation, no attempt is made to control extraneous variables

*          c)  in field experimentation, the setting is “real life” and not contrived

  1. d) in field experimentation, one can study only a small number of people


21) Compared with field research, which of the following is true about laboratory research?

  1. laboratory research achieves greater naturalism
  2. laboratory research allows for greater generalizability of research

*       c. laboratory research achieves a greater degree of control over extraneous variables

  1. field research does not allow for direct manipulation of variables

22) Field experiments, according to Tunnell (1977), should include:

  1. a) natural behaviors.
  2. b) natural settings.
  3. c) natural treatments.

*          d) all of the above.


23) An advantage of doing experiments in the laboratory over the field setting is that

  1. a) participants can be randomly assigned in the lab.

*          b) more extraneous variables can be held constant in the lab.

  1. c) variables can be manipulated in the lab.
  2. d) there is no selection bias in the lab.


24) Why might laboratory experiments be criticized as less than valuable and potentially problematic?

  1. a) they are subjective and that leads to a lack of confidence in results

*          b) laboratory-based results may not generalize to the “real world”

  1. c) without further study, knowledge gained in a lab is severely limited
  2. d) we can never really understand human behavior


25) An increasing number of researchers are conducting experiments over the Internet because of the advantages it affords.  Which of the following is NOT an advantage of using the Internet to conduct and experiment?

  1. a) ease of access to culturally diverse populations
  2. b) having access to a large sample of individuals
  3. c) a tremendous cost savings over other types of experiments

*          d) there can be multiple submissions by the same person


26) An increasing number of researchers are conducting experiments over the Internet because of the advantages it affords.  Which of the following is NOT a disadvantage of using the Internet to conduct and experiment?

*          a) the experiment is brought to the participant instead of the participant coming to the


  1. b) there is a less experimental control
  2. c) there is a greater probability of self-selection
  3. d) there is a greater probability of dropout of participants


27) Nonexperimental quantitative research is particularly useful for

*          a)  developing hypotheses for new experiments.

  1. b) deciding which variable causes which effect.
  2. c) understanding more fully a person’s current motivational and emotional state.
  3. d) controlling relevant environmental variables.


28) What is the primary weakness of a correlational study?

  1. a) an inability to determine if two variables are associated
  2. b) we cannot determine whether a relationship is direct or inverse
  3. c) correlational studies tend to be artificial

*          d) we cannot establish cause and effect with a correlational study


29) In chapter 1, we learned that the main objectives of scientific research are description, explanation, prediction, and control. Of all the nonexperimental research techniques studied, correlational research is particularly well suited for which objectives?

*          a)  description and prediction

  1. b) explanation and control
  2. c) prediction and control
  3. d) description, explanation, prediction, and control


30) The “third variable” issue refers to

*          a)  the possibility that two variables are correlated because  both are caused by a third


  1. b) the ambiguity introduced when doing more complex research with more than two


  1. c) not considering “age” as a variable when doing developmental research.
  2. d) the influence of confounding factors in quantitative experimental research.


31) The third variable problem refers to

  1. a) correlations that are not reliable.
  2. b) correlations that cannot be used to infer causation.

*          c) correlations that are causally link through another factor.

  1. d) correlations must include a minimum of three factors to be reliable.


32) Ramon determines that in his neighborhood “amount of ice cream consumed” and “number of violent crimes” are positively correlated — the more ice cream consumed, the more crimes are committed. He concludes that something in ice cream leads people to commit violent crimes. What has Ramon overlooked?

*          a)  the “third variable” problem as some other variable could lead to an increase in both ice cream consumption and violent crime

  1. b) the reactive effect as the people in his neighborhood were probably aware that he was observing them, and altered their behavior toward what they thought he wanted to see
  2. c) his observations are qualitative and therefore inappropriate
  3. d) he collected his data only after-the-fact


33) If we find that two variables are correlated, which of the following conclusions would be unjustified?

*          a)  we know that changes in one of the variables cause changes in the other

  1. b) we know that we can predict to some extent the value of one variable if we know the value of the other
  2. c) we know that the two variables covary, i.e., change in value together
  3. d) we know that we have quantified a relationship between the two variables


34) Although we cannot establish causality from a correlational study, statistical techniques are available to help clarify established relationships. One of these is known as _________ and involves identifying multiple variables that are related to a single outcome either directly or indirectly (through mediating variables).

*          a) path analysis

  1. b) triangulation
  2. c) multiple covariance
  3. d) test of mediation


35) You want to conduct a study to determine whether single car accidents tend occur more frequently at a particular time of day (i.e. early morning hours). What kind of study would you be conducting?

  1. a) meta-analysis
  2. b) longitudinal

*          c)  natural manipulation

  1. d) phenomenological


36) In a longitudinal study of a behavior, a researcher would

  1. a) select groups of participants from each age group and study each group at one time.
  2. b) observe and participate in the behavior in question.
  3. c) measure the degree to which the behavior changed when a factor thought to influence it also changes.

*          d) study one group of similarly aged people for a long period of time.


37) A researcher decides to measure the development of moral reasoning from early to late childhood. At a single point in time she tests 20 four-year olds, 20 six-year olds, and 20 eight-year olds by presenting each with the same moral dilemma and recording their responses. She then compares the performance of the three groups. The researcher is using a type of design referred to as:

  1. a) longitudinal

*          b) cross-sectional

  1. c) cohort-sequential
  2. d) qualitative


38) Suppose a researcher used a cross-sectional research design and found that older adults tend to be more socially conservative than younger adults. He concludes that as we get older we tend to become more conservative in our thinking. Which of the following is a potential problem with this conclusion?

  1. a) the researcher cannot establish causation because this is a qualitative study
  2. b) the problem of attrition has not been addressed

*          c) an age-cohort effect could explain these findings

  1. d) we can’t be sure if these findings are generalizable


39) A research technique that combines features of both longitudinal and cross-sectional designs – testing cohorts of individuals but also retesting them over time – is referred to as a __________ design.

*          a) cross-sequential

  1. b) qualitative
  2. c) repeated cross-sectional
  3. d) grouped longitudinal


40) For his senior thesis, Jacob is studying the development of motor coordination in monkeys from birth to old age, but only has one semester to collect his data. What kind of descriptive research design should he use?

  1. a) longitudinal
  2. b) correlational

*          c)  cross sectional

  1. d) historical


41) Qualitative research can be described in the following way:

  1. a) it is objective, involves multiple methods, and focuses on people in subcultures
  2. b) it is opinionated, involves two specific methods, and focuses on cultures, not people
  3. c) it is emotional, involves historical methods, and focuses on people with odd cultural


*          d) it is interpretive, involves multiple methods, and focuses on people in their natural



42) The cohort-sequential design is an alternative developmental design that

*          a)  makes multiple observations of several cohorts with overlapping ages.

  1. b) makes multiple observations of several cohorts of widely differing ages.
  2. c) makes multiple observations of a single cohort over a very long time span.
  3. d) makes single observations of multiple cohorts over a very long time span.


43) Qualitative research is interpretive, which involves

*          a)  extracting information from non-numerical data.

  1. b) using objective measurements.
  2. c) quantifying non-numerical data.
  3. d) observing in the natural environment.


44) ___________ research is primarily descriptive and useful in theory generation while _______ research is more useful in testing hypotheses.

  1. Quantitative; qualitative

*          b. Qualitative; quantitative

  1. Experimental; correlational
  2. Cross-sectional; longitudinal


45) Qualitative researchers use many methods in part to

  1. a) find one that produces the expected outcome.
  2. b) make the process more like an experiment.

*          c)  provide a better understanding of the phenomenon being investigated.

  1. d) verify their quantitative observations.


46) Which of the following could be considered a limitation of qualitative research?

  1. a) because it is typically conducted in an artificial laboratory setting the findings may not

apply to the real world

  1. b) results from qualitative research are overly objective – not allowing for interpretation

of individual participants perspectives

  1. c) it is not particularly useful for generating theoretical ideas

*          d) different researchers may provide different interpretations of the same data


47) Phenomenologists hoping to gain an understanding of the experiences of people that have been abducted by terrorists, would rely primarily on

*         a)  face-to face interviews.

  1. b) participant observation.
  2. c) gathering of artifacts.
  3. d) collective case studies.


48) You would like to identify the teaching techniques and strategies used by professors whom students say are the best instructors.  One research approach that could be used to identify the strategies these professors are using is to use

  1. a) longitudinal analysis.

*          b) naturalistic observation.

  1. c)
  2. d) meta-analysis.


49) If a researcher joined a religious cult to see how members are recruited and why affiliation is so strong, she would be using the

  1. a) ex post facto method.
  2. b) phenomenological method.

*          c)  participant-observer method.

  1. d) experimental method.


50) A significant risk inherent in participant observation is

  1. a) the introduction of extraneous variables.
  2. b) the need for disguise and possible discovery.
  3. c) the need for deception.

*          d) the reactive effect.




Define the following in psychological terms:

Experimental research             Descriptive research                Quantitative research

Numerical data                        Qualitative research                Non-numerical data

Variable                                   Categorical variable                Quantitative variable

Independent variable              Dependent variable                 Cause-and-effect relationship

Extraneous variable                 Mediating variable                  Moderator variable

Causation                                Cause                                      Effect

Psychological experiment       Manipulation                           Confounding variables

Causal description                   Causal explanation                  Field experiment

Laboratory experiment            Internet experiment                 Correlational research

Nonexperimental quantitative research                                   Third variable problem

Path analysis                           Direct effect                            Indirect effect

Natural manipulation research                                                Cross-sectional study

Longitudinal study                 Cohort-sequential design        Qualitative research

Triangulation                           Method of data collection      Tests

Questionnaire                          Interviews                               Focus group

Observation                             Naturalistic observation          Laboratory observation

Time-interval sampling            Event sampling                       Existing data

Documents                              Physical data                           Archived research data


Essay questions


1) Identify two non-experimental research techniques discussed in your textbook. Describe the major advantages and limitations of each.


2) Describe a simple experiment (do not use one discussed in your text) and identify the independent and dependent variables.


3) Define and distinguish mediating and moderating variables.


4) Explain the phrase “cause and effect.” Define each and then explain how determinism is important to a scientific use of the word “cause.”


5) How does your book define a psychological experiment? Discuss each of the four important components of this definition.


6) List and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the experimental approach.


7) One of the advantages of the experimental approach is the ability to control extraneous variables. What are extraneous variables? Describe a simple experiment illustrating how extraneous variables might be controlled. Why is the control of extraneous variables important?


8) Experiments are sometimes criticized because they often take place in highly artificial laboratory settings where the experimenter has a lot of control over the environment. Explain why this is actually an advantage in establishing a causal relationship between two variables.


9) How does a field experiment differ in practice from naturalistic observation? How does a field experiment differ from a laboratory experiment? What are the strengths and weaknesses associated with field experimentation?


10) Compare and contrast laboratory experiments, field experiments and Internet experiments. Include the relative advantages and disadvantages of each.


11) What is the distinguishing characteristic of nonexperimental quantitative research? Identify the methods presented in your text as examples of nonexperimental quantitative research.


12) Why is correlational research unable to establish causal relationships? What is the third variable problem, and why is it critical to the understanding of the misuse of correlational evidence to imply causation?


13) What is natural manipulation research? Explain how natural manipulation research is similar to and different from correlational research.


14) Describe a cohort-sequential design and explain how it is a combination of the longitudinal and cross-sectional designs. What advantages does the cohort-sequential design have over the longitudinal and cross-sectional designs?


15) What is qualitative research? What are the inherent limitations of this type of research?


16) What are the six major methods of data collection as outlined in your text? Briefly summarize some of the strengths and weaknesses of each.



Classroom exercise suggestions


1) One of the primary goals of this chapter is to provide students with an overview of the many different research approaches and data collection methods available to researchers. Remind students that much of the information contained in the chapter will be explored more fully in other sections of the text. To bring home the point that many topics can be explored in multiple ways you might use one of the activities below:


  • Ask the class to generate ideas of student behaviors that they would be interested in studying (e.g., chatting on Facebook, partying, couples holding hands etc). Lead the discussion toward a single behavior that could be researched. After a behavior is selected this should lead to a discussion of operational definitions as you define precisely the behavior that will be studied. This is a good opportunity to point out that many psychological constructs can be operationalized in multiple ways. After the target behavior has been properly defined have students think of the different research approaches presented in the chapter and how they might use these to study the behavior. Depending on the behavior chosen students should have no trouble identifying several different methods that could be used. Finally, you should also prompt them to relate each method to an objective of science (description, prediction, etc) presented in chapter 1.


  • As an alternative to the activity above you might provide groups of students with a simple hypothesis and ask them to brainstorm ideas of how it could be tested. Providing each group with the same hypothesis will give you (and the other students) an opportunity to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each suggested multiple research appraoches.


  • I use one or both of the activities above and then continue to reference them throughout the semester. As we discuss more advanced designs our original research idea becomes more and more complex.


2) At this point in the semester it will be difficult for most students to decipher scientific journal articles but one easy way to help them distinguish different research methods is by utilizing popular media reports of scientific research. This also encourages students to exercise their critical thinking skills – an important goal of the course. There are several ways you might incorporate this in your discussion:


  • Have students bring to class popular media reports of scientific research (e.g., from magazines, newspapers, or from online sites like Google news). Ask students to indicate the type of research approach used (e.g., experimental or correlational), the most important results of the study, and any explicit or implied implications of the findings. In many cases students will find it difficult to determine the type of research design that was used in the original study (e.g., correlational or experimental). They may also find unwarranted implications of causality – for instance when the original research design was simply correlational.


  • Jonathan Mueller maintains a very good website containing links to media reports (and often misrepresentations) of scientific research. In many instances research findings from correlational studies are reported in a way that implies causality. In addition to the article links this site also includes multiple student activities that would be appropriate to accompany your discussion of this chapter.



  • Finally, Hall and Seery (2006) present an activity in which students compare media reporting of a research finding to the original source. They report that the activity is effective in making students more aware of the limitations of media reporting of research findings.


Hall, S.S. & Seery, B.L. (2006). Behind the facts: Helping students evaluate

media reports of psychological research. Teaching of Psychology, 33, 101-104.


3) The text points out that correlational research is helpful in accomplishing the scientific objectives of description and prediction. To extend this discussion you might describe how correlational research often stimulates hypotheses that are tested in an experimental manner – thus establishing causality and accomplishing the objective of explanation. For example, correlational research finding a positive association between playing violent video games and aggressive behavior is difficult to interpret because of issues of direction of effect and potential third variables. However, these findings have stimulated a wealth of experimental research investigating the precise nature of the causal relationship. For the correlational findings below have students generate ways to test the relationship experimentally. The discussion should naturally lead to issues of random assignment and control of extraneous variables. This may also serve as a preview of ethical issues involved in using random assignment.

  • Students who sit at the front of the classroom make better grades than those that sit in the back.
  • Researchers have found a positive relationship between the degree of satisfaction couples feel experience in their relationship and the amount of time they spend together.
  • There is a negative relationship between exercise and anxiety.
  • Participation in leisure activities has been associated with a lower risk of dementia in older adults.


4) The site below, maintained by Alan Levine, presents simple explanations for five different research methodologies (experimental, correlational, naturalistic observation, surveys, and case studies). The site is well-done and contains summaries and quizzes for each of the five methodologies.



5) This University of Denver site provides links to various online experiments in which students can participate. You may find this to be more appropriate for later in the course.


Chapter 5

Measuring Variables and Sampling


Learning objectives


To be able to


  • Explain the meaning of measurement
  • Compare and contrast Steven’s four scales of measurement
  • Explain the difference between reliability and validity
  • Describe the different types of reliability
  • Describe the different types of validity evidence and the strategies used to obtain evidence of validity
  • Explain the meaning of sampling and its terminology
  • Describe each of the random sampling techniques, including their strengths and weaknesses
  • Describe each of the nonrandom sampling techniques, including their strengths and weaknesses
  • Explain the difference between random selection and random assignment
  • Describe the considerations involved in determining the appropriate sample size
  • Describe the sampling approaches used in qualitative research



Multiple choice questions


1) In the context of an experiment, a variable is

*          a) any factor that can vary across participants or situations.

  1. b) any phenomenon or characteristic that can be measured.
  2. c) any phenomenon or characteristic of a participant or situation that has a specific value.
  3. d) the unknown quantity that the experiment will determine.


2) ___________ is the simplest scale of measurement.

  1. a) Ordinal

*             b) Nominal

  1. c) Ratio
  2. d) Interval


3)   Which of the following measurement scales is accurately paired with an example?

  1. a)  Interval—rankings of tennis players
  2. b)  Ratio—zip codes
  3. c)  Nominal—test scores on an exam

*             d)  Ordinal—a professor listing his students from the best to worst


4)   What differentiates interval from ratio scales of measurement?

  1. a) Interval scales use rank order; ratio scales do not
  2. b) In a ratio scale equal distance on the dimension represent equal distance on the

dimension being measured; this is not true for interval

  1. c) Scores of zero are not possible on interval scales

*             d) Ratio scales include an absolute zero point – indicating the absence of what is being



5) Temperature on a Kelvin scale is an example of

  1. a) nominal measurement.
  2. b) ordinal measurement.
  3. c) interval measurement.

*          d) ratio measurement.


6) Which of the following would represent scores on a nominal scale?

  1. a) Attractiveness ratings on a scale of 1-5
  2. b) Coding religion as protestant = 1; catholic = 2, etc.
  3. c) Temperature on a Celsius scale
  4. d) Exam scores


7) ______________ refers to the consistency of results and ____________ is the extent to which you are measuring what you think you are measuring.

  1. a) Reliability; operational validity
  2. b) Validity; reliability

*          c) Reliability; validity

  1. d) Convergence; divergence


8) In order to establish the reliability of a measure of intelligence, Kevin administers two forms of the test to a group of students. Which of the following reliability coefficient values would indicate the most reliability for the test?

  1. a) 0.35

*          b) 0.85

  1. c) -0.85
  2. d) 2.20


9) Jenna would like to establish the reliability of a new measure of self-esteem but she doesn’t have enough time to administer her test more than once. Which of the following methods of establishing reliability would you suggest to Jenna?

  1. a) Equivalent forms

*          b) Internal consistency

  1. c) Multidimensional
  2. d) Concurrent


10) If we include items assessing memory, logic, and verbal comprehension on an intelligence test – as opposed to food preferences or shoe size – then we have satisfied which of the following types of validity?

  1. a) Discriminant
  2. b) Convergent

*          c) Face

  1. d) Internal


11) Construct validity

  1. a) is not needed if you use a good operational definition.

*          b) is supported when similar results are obtained from different operationalizations of the dependent variable.

  1. c) is almost always found in published experiments.
  2. d) is determined by replicating the results of your experiment.


12) Which of the following illustrates reliability?

  1. a) Dean takes an IQ test and scores at the 60th percentile.
  2. b) Scores on a new test of reading comprehension correlate highly with scores on well established reading comprehension tests.
  3. c) Fred scores poorly on one school’s entrance exam but does better on another.

*          d) Jacquie takes three practice GRE verbal exams and scores 548, 552, and 550.


13) A variable shows reliability when

  1. a) enough experimenters decide to use it in their research.
  2. b) it is accepted in the Encyclopedia of Psychology.
  3. c) other researchers demonstrate that it does measure what it is supposed to measure.

*          d) similar results are obtained each time it is measured.


14) The measurement of a variable has validity when

  1. a) the same results are obtained each time it is measured.
  2. b) it becomes an accepted variable in a given area of research.
  3. c) it can be measured quantitatively.

*          d) the inferences that are made from the measurement are accurate.


15) When conducting psychological research we want the research to be valid.  Reliability and validity are necessary ingredients of valid research.  The relationship between validity and reliability is that

  1. a) if the research is reliable you can be certain that it is valid.
  2. b) the research must be valid for it to be reliable.

*          c) the research must be reliable for it to be valid but a reliable research study is not

necessarily valid.

  1. d) the research must be valid for it to be reliable but a valid research study is not

necessarily reliable.


16) Suppose you have created a new method of diagnosing anxiety disorders. How could you demonstrate that your method is a construct valid?

  1. a) teach several licensed clinicians to use your method, have them use it for a year, and see if the amount of anxiety diagnosis in their practice is consistent with population norms
  2. b) use your method to diagnose the same group of participants repeatedly over the course of several years, and see if you consistently arrive at the same diagnosis for a given individual
  3. c) have several specialists read about your new technique and invite their opinions

*          d) use your method to diagnose a group of participants, then see if your diagnoses match with diagnoses taken from other, established methods


17) Tom wanted to assess the reliability of his measure of anxiety so he had a group of introductory psychology students complete the measure of anxiety on march 3rd and again on march 25th.  He then compared the scores that the students made on the two testing occasions using a statistical technique called correlation.  He used this quantitative index as his measure of reliability.  Tom used what method to assess reliability?

*          a) test-retest

  1. b) equivalent forms
  2. c) split-half
  3. d) Cronback’s alpha


18) Eduardo decided to assess the reliability of the carbohydrate craving inventory he constructed.  He had constructed two identical versions of the inventory and a group of 50 people took both versions.  Then Eduardo compared the responses of these 50 people on the two versions of the craving inventory for his assessment of the reliability of the inventory.  Eduardo used what method to assess reliability?

  1. a) test-retest

*          b) equivalent forms

  1. c) split-half
  2. d) Cronback’s alpha


19) Jacqueline wanted to assess the reliability of ratings made of children’s aggressive behavior so she had two students rate the degree of aggression displayed by each of 50 children while engaged in play.  She then compared the ratings made by these two students and computed the degree of agreement between them.  Jacqueline used what method of assessing reliability?

  1. a) interobserver reliability

*          b) interrater reliability

  1. c) internal consistency reliability
  2. d) test-retest reliability


20) Afiya wanted to assess the reliability of students’ observations of children’s aggressive behavior so she had two students observe 100 behaviors displayed by each of 50 children while engaged in play.  After viewing each behavior the students recorded the behavior as being aggressive or nonaggresive.  Afiya then computed the percentage of times the two students agreed on their assessment of each behavior.  Afiya used what method of assessing reliability?

*          a) interobserver agreement

  1. b) Cronbach’s alpha
  2. c) internal consistency reliability
  3. d) test-retest reliability


21) Owen wanted to assess the internal consistency of his measure of anxiety so he measured reliability estimates by comparing items within his test. He reported a reliability estimate of .80. What measure of reliability is Owen using?

*          a) Cronbach’s alpha

  1. b) path analysis
  2. c) factor analysis
  3. d) Riesen’s reliability estimate


22). Gerald is developing a measure of shyness and he determines that students scoring high on the measure also score high for introversion on a well‑known introversion‑extraversion scale. The outcome best illustrates

  1. a)  face validity.

*       b)  concurrent validity.

  1. c)  predictive validity.
  2. d)  construct validity.

23) Cronbach’s alpha is a measure of

  1. a) face validity.

*       b) internal consistency.

  1. c) predictive validity.
  2. d) concurrent validity.


24) Students sometimes complain that scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) are not related to how well students perform in graduate school. Essentially the students are saying that the GRE does not have

  1. a) reliability.
  2. b) internal consistency.

*             c) predictive validity.

  1. d) discriminant validity.


25) Discriminant validity refers to

*    a) the degree to which the measure does not correlate with measures of different constructs.

  1. b) the degree to which the measure does correlate with measures of similar constructs.
  2. c) the degree to which the measure discriminants between different components of the construct.
  3. d) the degree to which the test measures a single construct.


26) Convergent validity refers to

  1. a) the degree to which the measure does not correlate with measures of different constructs.

*    b) the degree to which the measure does correlate with measures of similar constructs.

  1. c) the degree to which the test measures multiple constructs.
  2. d) the degree to which the test measures a single construct.


27) One way to assess construct validity is to establish that scores on the test in question do NOT correlate with established scales that are dissimilar or conceptually unrelated concepts.  e.g, a scale to measure depression would likely not correlate with scales designed to measure happiness.  This type of validity is called

  1. a) concurrent validity.
  2. b) convergent validity.

*          c) discriminant validity.

  1. d) predictive validity.


28) Suppose you have created a new method of diagnosing anxiety disorders.  How could you demonstrate that your method is valid?

  1. a) teach several licensed clinicians to use your method, have them use it for a year, and

see if the amount of anxiety diagnosis in their practice is consistent with population       norms.

  1. b) use your method to diagnose the same group of participants repeatedly over the course of several years, and see if you consistently arrive at the same diagnosis for a given

*          c) use your method to diagnose a group of participants, then see if your diagnoses match                           with diagnoses taken from other, established methods.

  1. d) have several specialists read about your new technique and invite their opinions.


29) A study examines scores on an employment test and job performance six months later. This study is most likely attempting to establish

*       a) criterion validity.

  1. b) face validity.
  2. c) reliability.
  3. d) construct validity.


30) When evaluating reliability and validity information it is important to note the __________ upon which the information was gathered.

  1. a) predictive sample

*          b) norming group

  1. c) estimate group
  2. d) peer group


31) Some psychological tests are designed to measure more than one construct, they are multidimensional. __________ is a statistical technique that can be used to determine the number of dimension that a particular measure is testing.

  1. a) Cronbach’s alpha
  2. c) Path analysis
  3. c) Operationalization

*          d) Factor analysis


32) The Mental Measurements Yearbook is a good place to find

  1. a) unpublished (but probably useful) tests.

*          b) established standardized tests.

  1. c) biographies of important figures in test development.
  2. d) a list of journal articles that use psychological tests.


33) ___________ refers to any sampling method in which each individual has an equal chance of being selected for the sample.

*          a) Equal probability selection method

  1. b) Cluster sampling
  2. c) Stratified sampling
  3. d) Homogeneous sampling selection


34) A(n) __________ is a list of all members of a population.

  1. a) parameter
  2. b) norming group

*          c) sampling frame

  1. d) equal probability selection method


35) When using simple random sampling it is suggested that you _________ because it will lead to a more representative sample.

  1. a) sample with replacement

*          b) sample without replacement

  1. c) assign specific probabilities of selection to certain subgroups
  2. d) use a larger sample than if using a nonrandom method


36) A major advantage of randomly selecting participants from a population is that

  1. a) it allows you to do your study with fewer participants and still find statistical significance in your results.
  2. b) you can be more confident that it was the manipulation of the independent variable that caused the changes observed in the dependent variable..

*          c) you can be more confident that your sample is representative of the population.

  1. d) it is more likely that your sample will have the characteristics you need it to have.


37) In a truly random sample from a population,

  1. a) all participants will be matched on important characteristics.

*          b) all members of the population have an equal chance of being selected.

  1. c) gender distribution should be 50% male and 50% female.
  2. d) every member of the population has a 50:50 chance of being selected.


38) Suppose you wish to test a representative sample of people in your theology class on attitudes toward the idea of women as priests. There are 40 people in the class, 30 females and 10 males. What would be the best strategy?

  1. a) simple random sample
  2. b) cluster sample

*       c) stratified sample

  1. d) convenience sample


39) ____________ is to ____________ as population is to parameter.

*             a) Sample; statistic

  1. b) Statistic; sample
  2. c) Sample; element
  3. d) Random sampling; nonrandom sampling


40) A subset of data drawn from the larger population of interest is a

  1. a) population.

*          b) sample.

  1. c) parameter.
  2. d) quota.


41) To study career aspirations among high school students in Alabama, a researcher randomly selects 5% of the state’s school districts and gives all the students in each district a survey designed to measure career goal.  What sampling procedure is being used here?

  1. a) quota
  2. b) stratified

*             c) cluster

  1. d) EPSEM


42) A researcher who selects a probability sample that is 40% male and 60% female is most likely to be using __________ sampling.

  1. a) cluster

*             b) stratified

  1. c) convenience
  2. d) quota


43) Jim is conducting a survey to learn about student attitudes toward abortion. He passes out his survey to the first 100 students that enter the cafeteria. What sampling method is Jim using?

*          a) convenience

  1. b) cluster
  2. c) stratified
  3. d) EPSEM


44) Which of the following is NOT a nonrandom sampling technique?

  1. a) convenience

*          b) cluster

  1. c) snowball
  2. d) quota


45) Which of the following nonrandom sampling techniques would be most similar to stratified random sampling?

  1. a) convenience

*          b) quota

  1. c) cluster
  2. d) purposive


46) ________________ of participants is done to obtain a representative sample, and __________ of the participants is done to improve the experimental design of the study.

*          a) Random selection; random assignment

  1. b) Random selection; random sampling
  2. c) Random assignment; random selection
  3. d) Random assignment; matching


47) Random assignment of participants to the various groups in an experiment

  1. a) makes it more likely that extraneous variables will impact the experiment.

*          b) increases the probability that the groups are equivalent.

  1. c) is essential if you want to generalize your results to the population.
  2. d) is very difficult to do and is therefore not commonly done.


48) Your textbook authors suggest that if your population has fewer than 100 people you should

  1. a) use a stratified sampling method.
  2. b) use simple random selection.
  3. c) find a larger population

*          d) test everyone in the population.


49) Which of the following situations would NOT necessitate a larger sample size?

  1. a) if your population is heterogeneous
  2. b) if you plan to use multiple categories
  3. c) if you expect a weak effect

*          d) is you use proportional stratified sampling


50) Which of the following was NOT offered as a type of sampling method used for qualitative research?

*          a) purposive sampling

  1. b) extreme case sampling
  2. c) homogeneous sample selection
  3. d) maximum variation sampling





Define the following in psychological terms:


biased sample                                       element

census                                                   equal probability of selection method (EPSEM)

cluster                                                   cluster random sampling

equivalent-forms reliability                   coefficient alpha

face validity                                          concurrent validity

factor analysis                                       content-related evidence or content validity

homogeneity                                         internal consistency reliability

convenience sampling                           interobserver agreement

convergent validity evidence               interrater reliability

criterion-related validity                       interval scale

cronbach’s alpha                                   known groups validity evidence

discriminant validity evidence             measurement

disproportional stratified sampling       mixed sampling

multidimensional construct                  reliability coefficient

nominal scale                                        representative sample

norming group                                      response rate

one-stage cluster sampling                    sample

operationalization                                 sample size calculator

ordinal scale                                          sampling

parameter                                              sampling error

periodicity                                            sampling frame

population                                             sampling interval

predictive validity                                simple random sampling

proportional stratified sampling           snowball sampling

statistic                                                 proximal similarity

stratification variable                            purpose of random assignment

stratified random sampling                   purpose of random selection

systematic sampling                              purposive sampling

test-retest reliability                              quota sampling

two-stage cluster sampling                   random assignment

validation                                              random selection

validity                                                 ratio scale

validity coefficient                               reliability



Essay questions


1) List the four scales of measurement from least complex to most complex – provide an example of each.


2) Describe the difference between random selection of participants and random assignment of participants to groups. What are the implications of inadequate random selection of participants? What are the implications of inadequate random assignment of participants to groups?


3) Using an example, explain the difference between reliability and validity. Explain what it means to say that a reliable measure is not always valid, but a valid measure is always reliable.


4) Describe three different methods of assessing reliability.


5) Discuss content validity and criterion-related validity (be sure to include a discussion of predictive and concurrent validity).


6) Assume that you have created a new test to measure depression. Explain how you could use converging evidence and discriminant evidence to establish the validity of your instrument.


7) Describe, in general terms, the difference between random sampling methods and nonrandom sampling methods. Briefly describe the four random sampling techniques presented in the text.


8) Describe the four nonrandom sampling techniques presented in your text. If, as indicated in your text, these techniques are “weaker sampling methods” why would researchers use them?


9) Discuss the factors that are important for researchers to consider when determining sample size.


10) Briefly summarize some of the sampling methods used in qualitative research.


Classroom exercise suggestions


1) Your students may already be familiar with the four scales of measurement but a simple way to personalize your lecture is to provide them with a brief (anonymous) survey to complete at the beginning of class. A sample survey is included below that includes examples of all four measurement scales. After students complete the survey ask them to identify the items representing each scale of measurement. You might also consider collecting the surveys and using the data later in the semester to illustrate some simple statistical techniques.



(do not write your name on this sheet)


What is your age? _______

What is your gender? _______

What is your attitude toward abortion? (circle one below)

I’m pro-choice             I’m pro-life                  I’m unsure or it depends

How many people were in your high school graduating class? _______

How many different states have you spent at least one night in? ______

What is your academic classification?            FR       SO       JR        SR

How many miles to your hometown?  _______

Estimate how often you go home each semester ________

Do you own a cell phone? ___________

If you own a cell phone how many minutes do you talk on your cell phone per day? _______; how many text messages do you send and receive (total number): _______

Using the 7 point scale at the bottom of the page, rate your attitudes toward:

Britney Spears _______                                  Children _______

This class  _______                                         Country music _______

Beer _______                                                  The Twilight Series _______

Deer hunting _________                                Tattoos ________


1             2            3           4           5           6           7

                      Very                               Neutral                            Very

                   Negative                                                                  Positive



2) To help students understand the concepts of reliability and validity you might consider the exercise proposed by Miserandino (2006) who used an internet-based test as a fun way to reinforce these topics. This assignment has the added benefit of reminding students, once again, of the importance of critically evaluating information that they encounter on the internet.


Miserandino, M. (2006). I scream, you scream: Teaching validity and reliability via the

ice cream personality test. Teaching of Psychology, 33 (4), 265-268.


3) Some of your students may believe that psychological research isn’t valid unless research participants are randomly selected. Students should be aware that because of large populations of interest it may not be feasible to use random selection. Furthermore you should point out that because most research in psychology is “basic” – attempting to establish general relationships between variables – random selection is less important. On the other hand random assignment is crucial in helping to eliminate extraneous variables and allowing an unambiguous interpretation of our results. A good discussion of this distinction can be found in the Stanovich (2009) book referenced below. The Enders et. al (2006) article describes a very simple classroom demonstration of random assignment using a deck of playing cards.


Enders, C., Laurenceau, J., & Stuetzle, R. (2006). Teaching random assignment: A            classroom demonstration using a deck of playing cards. Teaching of     Psychology33(4), 239-242.

Stanovich, K.E. (2009). “But it’s not like real life!” The artificiality criticism and   psychology. In How to Think Straight About Psychology. Boston, MA: Allyn &       Bacon.

Chapter 11

Single-Case Research Designs


Learning objectives


To be able to


  • Describe the different types of single-case designs.
  • Explain the strategies used in the single-case designs to rule out the influence of rival
  • Identify the situations in which each of the single-case designs would be appropriate.
  • Describe the methodological issues that must be considered in using the single-case
  • Describe the criteria used for evaluating treatment effects with single-case designs.


Multiple choice questions


1) Single-case designs, by definition, do not incorporate control groups. What is the standard for comparison purposes to evaluate the treatment effects?

  1. a) there is no comparison standard when using a single-case design
  2. b) post-treatment observations
  3. c) observations of a single control participant

*          d) the pre-treatment observations


2) Single-case research is most closely associated, historically, with what area of psychology?

  1. a) social psychology
  2. b) cognitive science
  3. c) personality psychology

*          b) behavioral psychology


3) Single-case designs are closely related to which type of quasi-experimental design?

  1. a) the non-equivalent comparison group design
  2. b) the cross-over design

*          c) the time series design

  1. d) the multivariate design


4) In a single-case experiment that is essentially an interrupted time series, the ability to determine that the treatment has an effect

  1. a) requires that the participant understand that his or her behavior must change.

*          b) requires that the experimenter must be able to predict what the behavior would have been without the treatment.

  1. c) requires that the mean of all pretreatment sessions be significantly lower than the mean of all of the posttreatment sessions.
  2. d) requires that the mean of all pretreatment sessions be significantly higher than the mean of all of the posttreatment sessions.


5) In using an interrupted time series for single-case experiments, you must assume

*          a) that the pattern of pretreatment behavior would have continued if the treatment had not occurred.

  1. b) that the treatment is effective and look for the evidence in the patterns until you find it.
  2. c) that the participant will be cooperative.
  3. d) that the principles of learning are correct.


6) In single-case research, the word “baseline” refers to

  1. a) the lowest observed rate of the target behavior.
  2. b) the target behavior in the control participant, who will not experience treatment.
  3. c) the participant’s initial response to treatment.

*          d) the participant’s target behavior prior to any treatment.


7) By including a withdrawal phase after the basic time-series design (i.e., making it an A-B-A design),

  1. a) we can return the participant to the original desired behavior under baseline.
  2. b) we can fulfill our ethical responsibilities to the participant.

*          c) we may rule out history effects as a plausible rival hypothesis.

  1. d) we will show that the behavior changes are permanent.


8) If in the withdrawal phase of an A-B-A experiment the behavior reverts to the original baseline levels, then

  1. a) the treatment did not work since its effects were not permanent.
  2. b) the treatment has only a transient effect.
  3. c) the behavioral changes were the result of history or maturation.

*          d) history can be ruled out as rival hypotheses.


9) What aspect of the A-B-A design helps us determine whether the treatment, as opposed to some other variable, was responsible for any observed changes in behavior?

*          a) seeing whether the target behavior returns to original levels when treatment is removed

  1. b) observation of both a treated and yoked control participant
  2. c) starting with the observation of behavior in the absence of treatment
  3. d) returning to observe behavior under treatment several weeks after the experiment is



10) The “B” in “A-B-A design” represents the        condition.

  1. a) baseline
  2. b) behavioral

*          c) treatment

  1. d) withdrawal


11) The first “A” in “A-B-A design” represents the       phase while the second “A” represents the


*          a) baseline; withdrawal

  1. b) baseline; treatment
  2. c) antecedent; aftereffect
  3. d) treatment; baseline


12) What important assumption is required of the A-B-A withdrawal design in order to rule out rival hypotheses?

  1. a) that single participants will cooperate with long-term observations
  2. b) that the participant actually believes that the treatment will have an effect

*          c) that the effects of the treatment are reversible upon withdrawal

  1. d) that the observation of the behavior is valid


13) A potential ethical problem with using the A-B-A design in a therapeutic context is that it

  1. a) does not seem to be useful for certain kinds of disorders.

*          b) entails ending in a non-treatment condition.

  1. c) often aggravates the problem the treatment is meant to treat.
  2. d) does not involve enough time in treatment to address all types of disorders.


14) The “A-B-A-B” design is a slight variation on the A-B-A design, in which treatment is returned at the end of the experiment. Under what conditions would this be most desirable?

  1. a) if the researcher is still not sure whether the treatment was effective

*          b) if the treatment has some beneficial therapeutic effect

  1. c) if the treatment did not produce the desired effect the first time it was presented
  2. d) if the participant enjoyed the treatment


15) In many applications of the A-B-A design, treatment is completely withdrawn in the appropriate phase. In some other applications, a “reversal design” is used. In these cases,

*          a) the treatment is applied to a behavior that is incompatible with the target behavior.

  1. b) the treatment’s opposite is applied.
  2. c) the treatment is applied to someone other than the target participant.
  3. d) one starts with the treatment already in place, then withdraws it and then returns it.


16) One disadvantage of the interaction design for single-case research is that it cannot be used if

  1. a) you are testing more than one participant.
  2. b) you do not randomly select participants from the population.
  3. c) you are investigating the effectiveness of psychotherapy techniques.

*          d) one of the treatments by itself causes a maximum change in behavior.


17) A sequence of conditions in an interaction design might be A-B-A-B-BC-B-BC. This design

*          a) follows the important rule of changing only one variable at a time in single-case


  1. b) allows for determining if C has an effect.
  2. c) allows for determining an interaction effect for B and C, even if B is maximally

effective alone.

  1. d) allows for determining if there are interactions for A and B as well as B and C.


18) A properly designed single-case interaction design will evaluate the effects of each treatment (B and C) alone and in combination. Which of the following will allow this?

*          a) Participant 1: A-B-A-B-BC

Participant 2: A-C-A-C-BC

  1. b) Participant 1: A-B-A-BC

Participant 2: A-C-A-BC

  1. c) Participant 1: A-B-A-B-BC
  2. d) Participant 1: A-C-A-C-BC


19) In a single-case interaction design, an interaction is said to exist if

  1. a) the participant engages in more social interactions than under baseline.
  2. b) each treatment has an effect.

*          c) the effect of the two treatments together is greater than either alone.

  1. d) one treatment works with or without the other treatment which does not work.


20) If the A-B-A design cannot be used because of problems such as the behavior not returning to baseline upon withdrawal of treatment, you can probably use the _____________ design.

  1. a) A-B-A-B
  2. b) A-B-A-B-BC-B-BC

*          c) multiple-baseline

  1. d) changing-criterion


21) A major advantage of the multiple-baseline design over the A-B-A design is that

  1. a) participants do not know that they are being observed.
  2. b) the treatment doesn’t have to be effective in order to be studied.
  3. c) it increases generalization of because it uses more than one participant.

*          d) it can be used when the effects of treatment are not reversible.


22) In a multiple-baseline design the “multiple” part refers to

  1. a) different behaviors of same participant in same context.
  2. b) different participants with same behavior in same context.
  3. c) different contexts with the same behavior of the same participant.

*          d) all of the above.


23) For a multiple-baseline design to demonstrate treatment effectiveness,

*          a) all target behaviors should change, but only after the treatment is imposed for each


  1. b) all target behaviors should change when the first treatment is imposed.
  2. c) some target behaviors should increase in frequency with the treatment and others

should decrease.

  1. d) treated behaviors should change from baseline immediately while untreated behaviors should change more slowly.


24) If one were using the multiple-baseline design to examine the effect of treatment across a number of different behaviors, one must take care to insure that the behaviors examined are

  1. a) really problem behaviors.
  2. b) unique or rarely reported in the literature.
  3. c) common to the majority of members of the population.

*          d) independent of each other.


25) If a multiple-baseline design were used with three interdependent behaviors, then when treatment is imposed on the first behavior,

  1. a) the second will also change, but the third will not change until the second is treated.

*          b) both the second and third behaviors will change simultaneously.

  1. c) the second and third behaviors will not be influenced.
  2. d) the behaviors will meet the requirements of the design.


26) In a multiple-baseline study of the effects of reinforcement on social behaviors Dr. Stern studies three behaviors in one child: talking to other children, frequency of playing with others, initiating contact with children her own age. What is wrong with these choices of target behavior?

*          a) reinforcing one behavior could easily influence the occurrence of the others

  1. b) children are naturally sociable; such behavior cannot be reinforced
  2. c) the playground is not a suitable site for controlled research
  3. d) it is not possible to operationally define these behaviors


27) In a changing-criterion design, to demonstrate treatment effectiveness the target behavior must do which of the following?

  1. a) attain statistical significance

*          b) show successive changes with changing criteria

  1. c) return to baseline within two weeks of the end of treatment
  2. d) remain constant through all treatment conditions


28) When using the changing-criterion single-case research design, what is a good rule of thumb for determining how much the criterion should change at each phase?

  1. a) in the new phase, the participant should be required to increase performance by 50% relative to the previous phase.
  2. b) the criterion change should be relatively large, to provide motivation.
  3. c) the criterion change should be relatively small, so as not to discourage the participant.

*          d) the criterion change should be large enough to detect differences in behavior from the previous phase, but not so large as to be unattainable.


29) For what kinds of situations is the changing-criterion design particularly useful?

  1. a) when evaluating psychotherapies for affective or anxiety disorders

*          b) when the participant’s behavior requires shaping to attain a goal

  1. c) when the target behavior often fluctuates wildly over time
  2. d) when other designs have proved to be useless, since the changing criterion design is



30) Two colleagues are debating over whether giving extrinsic, arbitrary rewards like candy or giving intrinsic rewards like gaining new skills and passing to new material are better ways of motivating children to study. They agree to the following study, using a 6th grader who, with his parent’s approval, has volunteered to help: First, no rewards are given for studying. Next an extrinsic reward (candy) is given, then no reward, then the extrinsic reward of candy is given again, then a combination of candy and pointing out how much the child has learned. Next a return to extrinsic reward only.  On another series of days the child is first given no reward, then a period of only pointing out how much has been learned. Next, no reward is given followed by again pointing out how much is learned.  The both rewards are presented together, and finally there is a return to just pointing out how much is learned. In each of these many phases, the child’s teacher keeps track of the speed of his progression through his required work. What single-case research design are these colleagues using?

  1. a) A-B-A design

*          b) interaction design

  1. c) multiple baseline design
  2. d) changing criterion design


31) A psychotherapist has three clients all of whom suffer from agoraphobia. He wants to see if his new behavioral therapy is effective in treating this fear. In the beginning of his experiment, he measures number of times each client goes out in public. The next week, he starts one client on the therapy while withholding it from the other two, and, for all three clients measures number of times each goes out in public that week. Then he keeps the first client on the therapy, starts it with the second client, and again measures number of times out in public for all three. Finally, in week four he starts the therapy with the third client, so now all three are experiencing the therapy. This is an example of which kind of single-case design?

  1. a) A-B-A design
  2. b) interaction design

*          c) multiple baseline design

  1. d) changing criterion design


32) Justin is going through his own personal program of endurance training. In the first two weeks, he rewards himself with a quarter every day he runs a complete mile. In the next two weeks, he gives himself a quarter for every two consecutive miles run. Next, he gives himself a quarter for every three consecutive miles, and so on, increasing every two weeks the number of miles he must run for each quarter. By the end of the fall semester, Justin can run 8 consecutive miles a day. This program is very much like which single-case research design?

  1. a) A-B-A design
  2. b) interaction design
  3. c) multiple baseline design

*          d) changing criterion design


33) A third grade teacher is having trouble with a student who wants only her attention, and will not interact with the other children. The school psychologist suggests ignoring the child’s attempts to get her attention and praising the child’s interactions with other children. Before doing this, the teacher takes a week’s worth of measures, each day, of how often the child interacts with other children. She then institutes the “ignore and praise” program for a week and measures interactions with others, then withdraws the program in the third week and again measures interactions. This is an example of which single-case design?

*          a) A-B-A design

  1. b) interaction design
  2. c) multiple baseline design
  3. d) changing criterion design


34) Most single-case designs involve comparing behavior during treatment to behavior during baseline. For this comparison to be meaningful, baseline behavior must be

  1. a) different from behavior under treatment.
  2. b) measured on a continuum.
  3. c) increasing or decreasing only gradually.

*          d) stable.


35) When have you collected enough baseline data so that you can move on to the treatment phase of the experiment?

  1. a) after about two weeks
  2. b) once you have at least a dozen baseline observations
  3. c) when there is a downward trend rather than an upward trend

*          d) there is no trend and little variability


36) What is the desired pattern to look for in baseline, before proceeding to the treatment phase?

  1. a) a gradual increase in performance
  2. b) a gradual decrease in performance

*          c) stable with no apparent trend in performance

  1. d) an appreciable amount of variability in performance


37) Studies of single-case research with humans have shown that

  1. a) behavior is typically quite invariant during baseline.
  2. b) single-case designs typically yield much less information than multiple-participant


  1. c) single-case experiments require fewer observations than do multiple-participant designs.

*          d) the simple act of collecting baseline data can influence the behavior under observation.


38) How long should one continue a given phase (baseline, treatment, return to baseline, etc.) of a single-case research project?

*          a) until behavioral stability is reached in each phase

  1. b) for about two weeks
  2. c) until it is clear that the treatment has had an effect
  3. d) until you have at least a dozen observations in each phase


39) While stability is a desirable characteristic in each condition of a single-case experiment,

  1. a) high variability is required in order to change behavior.

*          b) prolonging conditions to achieve it increases the chances of history and maturation


  1. c) it is more important to finish the experiment on schedule.
  2. d) it only really counts for baseline.


40) Sometimes in single-case research there are cyclical variations in response rates or frequencies. What is a good way to address this problem?

  1. a) target other behaviors that are not cyclic
  2. b) use a bicyclic or tricyclic treatment

*          c) extend the length of each phase of the study to include all phases of the cycle

  1. d) only use male participants


41) Most researchers using single-case designs use an “experimental criterion” to tell them whether behavior has changed significantly with treatment. This involves looking for/at

*          a) repeated demonstrations that behavior changes reliably each time treatment is


  1. b) a statistically significant difference between behavior during baseline and behavior during treatment.
  2. c) improved functioning after treatment.
  3. d) signs that the treated person functions significantly better than non-treated peers.


42) Many single-case researchers also use a “therapeutic criterion” to evaluate the success of their treatment. They look at/for

  1. a) signs that behavior changes every time the treatment is presented.
  2. b) statistically significant changes in behavior when treatment is instituted.
  3. c) whether other psychologists have adopted their treatment.

*          d) indications that the treatment has improved daily functioning.


43) Dr. Buss is treating a verbally delayed 1st grader. After establishing baseline levels of correct verbal responses, Dr. Buss begins working with the child with his new therapy. Six weeks after treatment, a panel of first grade teachers and school psychologists cannot distinguish Dr. Buss’s client from other 1st grade peers. This is an example of the use of

  1. a) an experimental criterion.

*          b) the social validation method.

  1. c) reversal.
  2. d) withdrawal


44) There are arguments for and against the use of statistical data analysis with single-case designs. Which of the following statements summarizes the case against statistical analysis?

  1. a) Visual inspection of data has been shown to be sufficiently reliable, and is usually easier to perform than the complicated tests needed to analyze single-case data.

*          b) Statistical analysis does not reveal whether the treatment is of practical use, and may actually disguise the fact that the treatment works well for some people and for whom.

  1. c) Statistical analysis favor a conservative approach and therefore may not allow us to detect meaningful changes in behavior. This approach may lead us to reject treatments that may be useful to large groups of people.
  2. d) There are no statistical analyses suited to the time-series kind of behavior generated by single-case designs, nor are there valid means of interpreting what few statistical tests are available.


45) Which of the following statements summarizes the case in favor of the use of statistical analysis in single-case research.

  1. a) The statistics required for analyzing single-case data are simple to use, and can reveal whether the treatment will have real therapeutic value.

*          b) Statistical analysis is helpful in detecting behavioral changes when there is high variability in  baseline behavior, and reduces subjectivity of interpretation.

  1. c) Statistical analyses are useful in determining which of many participants are best affected by the treatment, and can help suggest future courses of action.
  2. d) Traditionally, psychological data are not accepted unless they are subjected to

statistical analysis.


46) In order to isolate the interactive effects of two variables from the effect that would be achieved by only one of the variables, it is necessary to

  1. a) test the two variables independently.
  2. b) test the two variables simultaneously.

*          c) both a & b

  1. d) none of the above


47) Which of the following is NOT typically considered one of the standard  multiple baseline designs

  1. a) multiple baselines across subjects.
  2. b) multiple baseline across settings.
  3. c) multiple baselines across behaviors.

*          d) multiple baselines across therapists.


48) Ms. Margo has been treating Joey for aggression at preschool, on the playground and on the bus.  She developed a special intervention that included consequences for aggressive behaviors, like losing privileges and being placed in time-out, combined with praise for cooperative and friendly behavior. She planned to do a multiple baseline study, however, after treating the aggression in the classroom, Joey’s aggression dropped in the other situations too. Why?

  1. a) Joey just realized the error of his ways.

*          b) Ms. Margo picked interdependent behaviors to study

  1. c) the behaviors weren’t related but the consequences were
  2. d) rewards are always stronger and more effective than the punishers


49) The success of the changing criterion design is based on three factors. Which of the following is NOT one of those factors?

  1. a) length of baseline and treatment phases
  2. b) magnitude of change in the criterion
  3. c) number of treatment phases used overall

*          d) consequences used at each phase


50) Sometimes a behavior (like language) will not return to baseline levels after your treatment has been successful. For example, a previously nonverbal child is unlikely to become nonverbal again after you successfully teach him to talk. So which design would be a bad choice, and which alternative design would be best?

  1. a) ABA; ABAB design
  2. b) changing criterion design; Interaction design

*          c) ABA; multiple baseline design across subjects

  1. d) interaction design, alternating treatments design




Define the following in psychological terms:


s<KT>single-case research design</KT>s                         <KT>ABA design

b<KT>baseline                                                                    reversal

ABAB design</KT>                                                          w<KT>withdrawal</KT>

r<KT>reversal design</KT>                                                         i<KT>interaction design</KT>

i<KT>interaction effect in single-case research</KT>                 m<KT>multiple-baseline design</KT>

i<KT>interdependence                                                       c<KT>changing-criterion design</KT>

s<KT>stable baseline</KT>                                                          e<KT>experimental criterion</KT>

t<KT>therapeutic criterion</KT>                                                 s<KT>social validation</KT>

s<KT>social comparison method</KT>                                        s<KT>subjective evaluation method



Essay questions


1) Using an example, describe the basic ABA design. How would the effectiveness of a treatment be demonstrated? What are the two fundamental problems with the ABA design?


2) What is the difference between an ABA design that uses “withdrawal” and an ABA design that uses “reversal?” When would an experimenter want to use a reversal design rather than a withdrawal design?


3) What is an “interaction” design? Explain how interactive effects can be investigated.


4) What are the three types of multiple-baseline designs? Describe and give an example (not from the text or lecture) of a multiple-baseline design. How is this type of study an improvement over an ABA design?


5) Describe and give an example (not from the text or lecture) of a changing-criterion design. In what kinds of situations is this design most useful?


6) Summarize the case for and against the use of statistical analyses in single-case research.


7) Discuss the two most commonly used criteria for evaluating treatment effectiveness in single-subject designs.


8) The issue of “stability” is important for single-participant designs. What are the important considerations for determining stability?


9) Below are three scenarios, each of which lends itself to a single-case research design. Choose and briefly describe a design for each scenario. State why you chose that particular design for that scenario. A graph of possible results would be very useful in your answer.


  1. a) A private therapist is seeing a new client twice a week for treatment of fear of heights.

She’s trained in cognitive-behavioral therapy but would like to test the effectiveness of

her traditional therapy against a new, strictly behavioral therapy. She also wants to know

whether this individual might benefit from some unique combination of the two

approaches. How could she decide which therapy is best for her patient?

  1. b) Four teenage boys with aggression problems live in a group home, and have developed

varying degrees of abusive behavior towards staff and other teens in the home. The home

director believes his new treatment will decrease the incidence of abuse, and enlists the

staff to help him evaluate the treatment. How should he proceed?

  1. c) Shawna constantly fights with her siblings. She isn’t physically violent towards them,

but there are so many shouting matches that her parents are at their wit’s end. A family

counselor trains them in the behavior modification technique of imposing a time out for

undesired behavior. How should they evaluate whether this technique works with



10) Suppose you want to know if you can increase the amount of time our dog sleeps on her doggie bed and decrease the amount of time she sleeps on the sofa. You decide to use an A-B-A-B design to see if praise for sleeping in the doggie bed is effective. Explain step-by-step how you would proceed. Why might it be desirable to end with a “B” phase? Illustrate with a graph that would demonstrate a “successful” research outcome.



Classroom exercise suggestions


1) Perhaps the most foreign aspect of single-case designs (to students) is the idea of collecting several data points from one individual and not necessarily subjecting them to statistical analysis. A little real world exercise with this goes a long way. Instead of casting single-case research in a strictly experimental context, it is sometimes useful to point out that in everyday life we often make several intense observations of an individual, under more than one condition, and try to figure out whether the relevant behavior of that individual corresponds to changes in the environment. Assign students to observe and record a specific behavior of either a friend or themselves, under at least two conditions. Be sure to have them choose a behavior that is situation- or environment-specific, and that they can observe several times in the course of a week (e.g. a roommate’s mood in the morning versus the evening; their inclination to snack when alone or with friends). The objective is to determine how to decide whether the target behavior is substantially, meaningfully different from one condition to the other. Although this is not strictly an experience in single-case research, it does make the notion of drawing conclusions from multiple observations in different conditions more familiar.


2) For something a little less ambitious you might try this fun in-class activity suggested by Carr and Austin (1997). In this interactive exercise students collect and plot their own pulse rate data before, during, and after short bursts of exercise. Begin by having students take their pulse data every minute for five consecutive minutes (these five points will form the baseline). Next have students perform jumping jacks for 20 seconds and again record their pulse for one minute. Repeat the exercise/pulse recording four more times. Finally, have students repeat the baseline procedure. Next have students graph all 15 data points – your students should have a stable baseline with an increase during the exercise sessions followed by a return to baseline.


Carr, J., & Austin, J. (1997). A classroom demonstration of single-subject research

designs. Teaching of Psychology24(3), 188-190.


3) This chapter provides an excellent opportunity to discuss the work of B.F. Skinner who played an important role in the popularity of single subject designs. Skinner felt very strongly that studying individuals intensely should form the basis of the science of psychology. Skinner, of course, spent a lifetime studying changes in the behavior of pigeons and rats following small changes in their environment. If you have access to an operant chamber (Skinner box) you could bring it to class as you describe some of Skinner’s work – focusing on the very tight experimental controls he employed. This also connects to previous discussions of internal and external validity as well as basic vs. applied research (see chapter 6 classroom suggestions). The Delpato and Midgley (1992) article referenced below is a good place for your students to learn of the basics of Skinner’s work.


Delprato, D., & Midgley, B. (1992). Some fundamentals of B. F. Skinner’s             behaviorism. American Psychologist47(11), 1507-1520.


4) The text emphasizes that in single subject research it is crucial that one variable be studied in isolation. While this is true, there are situations in which we may be interested in testing the effectiveness of two or more treatments in producing behavior change. In these situations we might make use of an alternating-treatments design. In this type of design two or more treatments are alternated more rapidly than in a traditional reversal design. For example, Mozzoni and Hartnedy (2000) compared three different treatments to reduce behavioral problems in a brain injured client. The treatments of earned escape, praise, and graphic representation of progress were alternated in successive10-minute periods. Treatments were presented several different times, in random orders (note that this technique avoids sequencing effects and is conceptually similar to counterbalancing discussed in chapter 7). Each of the treatments was deemed successful in reducing the number of behavioral disruptions.


Mozzoni, M., & Hartnedy, S. (2000). Escape and avoidance hypothesis testing using an

alternative treatment design.Behavioral Interventions15(3), 269-277.


5) After previous discussions of external validity, your students will probably question the generalizability of single subject research designs. Indeed, the lack of external validity is a key criticism of this approach. How can we be sure that a treatment that is found to be effective with one individual will be effective with others? What if there is something unique about that one individual? You should discuss how replications and the use of multiple baseline designs can improve generalizability.


6) To give students a sense of how single subject research designs are used in current day research, have them complete the out-of-class activity below. During the following class meeting you can use their assignments to illustrate many of the topics discussed in the text.


Evaluating Single-subject Designs in Published Research


The purpose of this assignment is to give you experience in identifying and analyzing single subject designs.


Your assignment for this exercise is to find a journal article that utilizes a single subject design.  Two excellent and easily accessible journals are:


  • Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis



  • Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior



Typewritten answers to the following questions (along with a copy of the article) should be submitted for an article published between 2008 and 2010 (hint: click on “selected articles archive”):


  1. Give the complete reference to the study in APA style.


  1. What was the purpose of the study?


  1. What were the hypotheses?


  1. Describe the method in detail.
  2. Who was (were) the participant(s)? How was the participant chosen?
  3. Identify which kind of design was used. Describe it in detail.
  4. Identify the independent variable(s).
  5. Identify the dependent variable(s).


  1. Describe the major results.


  1. Describe the conclusions of the author(s). Are they warranted?


  1. Are there any rival interpretations of the results? If so, discuss them briefly.


  1. Include a copy of the article with your assignment.



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