A Defense of Experimentation

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1994, Vol 39(1), 78. Reviews the book, Research Methods in Psychology: A Primer by Siu L. Chow (1992). There are many methods available for use in psychological research. The problem, from the point of view of someone writing a research methods text, is how to present them all–or at least, the major ones–while holding personal preferences in abeyance. The advantages and disadvantages of each need to be presented, along with some supporting evidence, so that the reader will have a basis for choosing among them. Of course, there is another way. You could just be open about your preference. Then you could present the nonpreferred methods briefly, dismiss them all, devote the lion's share of the text to your pet, and finally, attempt to savage its critics. Unfortunately, Chow has chosen the latter course. In a text of 320 pages, approximately 84 are devoted to all nonexperimental and quasiexperimental research methods, including surveys, interviews, questionnaires, content analysis, archival research, psychometric tests, and quasiexperimental designs. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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