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Causal Research Design - Experimentation

Causal Research Design - Experimentation

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Published by: Gouthami Yanamala on Jul 16, 2012
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Chapter Seven Causal Research Design: Experimentation


Concept of Causality
A statement such as "X causes Y " will have the following meaning to an ordinary person and to a scientist.
____________________________________________________ Ordinary Meaning Scientific Meaning ____________________________________________________ X is the only cause of Y. X is only one of a number of possible causes of Y.

X must always lead to Y (X is a deterministic cause of Y).
It is possible to prove that X is a cause of Y.

The occurrence of X makes the occurrence of Y more probable (X is a probabilistic cause of Y). We can never prove that X is a cause of Y. At best, we can infer that X is a cause of Y.

Types of Evidence That Supports a Causal Inference


Concomitant variation is the extent to which a cause, X, and an effect, Y, occur together or vary together in the way predicted by the hypothesis under consideration.  The Time order of occurrence condition states that the causing event must occur either before or simultaneously with the effect; it cannot occur afterwards e.g. in-store service & sales  The Absence of other possible causal factors means that the factor or variable being investigated should be the only possible causal explanation e.g pricing, advertising, quality, competition etc. X—the presumed cause (independent variable) Y—the presumed effect (dependent variable)

Evidence of Concomitant Variation between Purchase of Fashion Clothing influenced by Education
Purchase of Fashion Clothing, Y High Education, X High 363 (73%) Low 137 (27%) 500 (100%)



322 (64%)

178 (36%)

500 (100%)

g. it does not prove it There may be other causal factors e. elimination of other causal factors even if combined still do not demonstrate conclusively that a causal relationship exists However if all evidence is strong & consistent. time order of occurrence. it may be reasonable to conclude that there is a causal relationship .Evidence of Concomitant Variation between Purchase of Fashion Clothing influenced by Education  7-5        Based on evidence can we say high education causes high purchase of fashion clothing? Certainly not! We can only say that the association makes the hypothesis more tenable. income Next example we have kept effect of income constant We see that difference between high & low education respondents reduced considerably Evidence of concomitant variation.

Purchase of Fashion Clothing By Income and Education 7-6 Low Income Purchase High Education High 122 (61%) Low 200 (100%) 300 (100%) Education 78 (39%) High High Income Purchase High 241 (80%) Low 59 (20%) 300 200 Low 171 (57%) 129 (43%) Low 151 (76%) 49 (24%) .

profits. store size.g. consumers or stores. sales. Test units are individuals. e. store location. price levels. and market shares. Extraneous variables are all variables other than the independent variables that affect the response of the test units. e.g.g. e. or other entities whose response to the independent variables or treatments is being examined. Dependent variables are the variables which measure the effect of the independent variables on the test units. .7-7 Definitions and Concepts     Independent variables or treatments are variables or alternatives that are manipulated and whose effects are measured and compared e. organizations.g. and competitive effort.

7-8 Experiment     A research investigation in which conditions are controlled One independent variable is manipulated Its effect on a dependent variable is measured To test a hypothesis .

7-9 Types of Experiments Laboratory Experiment Research investigation in which Investigator creates a situation with exact conditions so as to control some. and manipulate other. variables Experiment Scientific investigation in which an investigator manipulates and controls one or more independent variables and observes the degree to which the dependent variable or variables change Field Experiment Research study in a realistic situation in which one or more independent variables are manipulated by the experimenter under as carefully controlled conditions as the situation will permit .

7-10 Laboratory Experiment Field Experiment Artificial-Low Realism Few Extraneous Variables High control Low Cost Short Duration Subjects Aware of Participation Natural-High Realism Many Extraneous Variables Low control High Cost Long Duration Subjects Unaware of Participation .

7-11 Basic Issues of Experimental Design     Manipulation of the Independent Variable Selection of Dependent Variable Assignment of Subjects (or other Test Units) Control Over Extraneous Variables .

. The variable is independent because its value can be manipulated by the experimenter to whatever he or she wishes it to be.7-12 Independent Variable: The experimenter has some degree of control over the independent variable.

7-13 Experiment Treatment Alternative manipulations of the independent variable being investigated .

.. awareness. sales volume.7-14 Dependent Variable  • Its value is expected to be dependent on the experimenter’s manipulation Criterion or standard by which the results are judged e. recall etc .g.

7-15 Test Units  Subjects or entities whose response to the experimental treatment are measured or observed. .

X O1 O2 Means test units were exposed to treatment/independent variable (X) & response was measured at two different pts of time O1 & O2 Horizontal alignment of symbols implies that all those symbols refer to a specific treatment group Vertical alignment of symbols implies that those symbols refer to activities or events that occur simultaneously E. R X1 O1 R X2 O2 Means that two groups of test units were randomly assigned to two different treatment groups at the same time & the dependent variable was measured in the two groups simultaneously . treatment.g.7-16 Symbols            X = independent variable. or event. the effects of which are to be determined O = observation or measurement of the dependent variable on the test units R = the random assignment of test units to separate treatments Movement from left to right indicates movement through time E.g.

7-17 Validity in Experimentation    Two goals in experimentation: Draw valid conclusions about the effects of independent variables on the study group (internal validity) Make generalizations to a larger population of interest (external validity) .

times. To what populations. independent variables and dependent variables can the results be projected? . External validity refers to whether the causeand-effect relationships found in the experiment can be generalized. settings.7-18 Validity in Experimentation   Internal validity refers to whether the manipulation of the independent variables or treatments actually caused the observed effects on the dependent variables. Control of extraneous variables is a necessary condition for establishing internal validity.

7-19 Factors Influencing Internal Validity       History Maturation Testing Instrumentation Selection Mortality .

Measure effect of advt on attitudes towards a brand. Subjects become tired.Subjects/Test units change during the course of the experiment e.g. respondents given a questionnaire measuring background info & attitude.The Before measure alerts or sensitizes subject to nature of experiment or second measure. .g. a prior measurement affects the test units response to the independent variable e.Main testing effect (MT). then exposed to ad & again asked qs.Interactive testing effect (IT). stores change in terms of layout. when a prior observation affects a latter observation e. décor.Specific events that are external to the experiment but occur at the same time as the experiment & may affect the dependent variable e.g. may be no change in their attitude as they may try to maintain consistency or may show change just because it is being measured .g. composition etc Testing .Type of Extraneous Variable  7-20    History (H). When people are asked to indicate their attitudes towards a brand they become sensitized /aware of the brand & pay more attention to the test commercial than they normally would . A major employer closes its plant in test market area Maturation (MA).

in advt experiment if some respondents had either very favorable of very unfavorable attitudes.Changes in instrument result in response bias e.loss of test units while the experiment is in progress .g.Type of Extraneous Variable  7-21    Instrument (I).g. in advt experiment if newly designed questionnaire is used to measure post treatment attitudes.g. different store sizes Mortality(MO). People with extreme attitudes have more room for change. Statistical Regression(SR) – when test units with extreme scores move closer to the average score during the experiment e. so variation more likely Selection Bias(SB) – improper assignment of test units to treatment conditions e. post treatment their attitudes might have moved towards average.

What are the Different Basic Experimental Designs? .

the researcher can randomly assign test units to experimental groups and treatments to experimental groups: the pretest-posttest control group design. In true experimental designs. and the Solomon fourgroup design. the posttestonly control group design. and the static-group. .7-23 A Classification of Experimental Designs   Pre-experimental designs do not employ randomization procedures to control for extraneous factors: the one-shot case study. the one-group pretest-posttest design.

A statistical design is a series of basic experiments that allows for statistical control and analysis of external variables: randomized block design.7-24 A Classification of Experimental Designs   Quasi-experimental designs result when the researcher is unable to achieve full manipulation of scheduling or allocation of treatments to test units but can still apply part of the apparatus of true experimentation: time series and multiple time series designs. Latin square design. . and factorial designs.

7-25 A Classification of Experimental Designs Experimental Designs Pre-experimental One-Shot Case Study One Group Pretest-Posttest Static Group True Experimental Pretest-Posttest Control Group Posttest: Only Control Group Solomon FourGroup Quasi Experimental Time Series Multiple Time Series Statistical Randomized Blocks Latin Square Factorial Design .

Dependent variable(Os) are unaided & aided recall of the ad . store X 01     7-26   A single group of test units is exposed to a treatment X. There is no random assignment of test units. A single measurement on the dependent variable is taken (01).Pre-experimental designs One-Shot Case Study Measure effectiveness of a test commercial (X)for a deptt. measure the effectiveness of a test commercial for a brand Test commercial is X. E.g. The one-shot case study is more appropriate for exploratory than for conclusive research.

then group is exposed to treatment (X) Finally a post-treatment measure is taken (O2).Pre-experimental designs One-Group Pretest-Posttest Design 7-27 01 X       A group of test units is measured twice. 02 . The validity of this conclusion is questionable since extraneous variables are largely uncontrolled.g. There is no control group. e. First a pre-treatment measure is taken(O1). sales after the ad The treatment effect is computed as 02 – 01.

7-28 One-Group Pretest-Posttest Design: Example      Measure effectiveness of a test commercial for a deptt.O1 . store Respondents first administered a personal interview to measure attitudes towards the store (O1) Then they watch the test commercial (X) After that they are again administered a personal interview to measure attitudes towards the store (O2) Effectiveness of the commercial is measured as O2 .

.Pre-experimental designs Static Group Design EG: CG:   7-29 X 01 02    A two-group design. Test units are not assigned at random. The experimental group (EG) is exposed to the treatment.02. and the control group (CG) is not. The treatment effect would be measured as 01 . Measurements on both groups are made only after the treatment.

Store Two groups of respondents would be recruited on the basis of convenience Only the experimental group would be exposed to the test commercial Then attitudes towards the store of both experimental & control group would be measured Effectiveness would be measured as O1 – O2 .7-30 Static Group Design: Example      To measure the effectiveness of a test commercial for a deptt.

the posttest-only control group design.True Experimental Designs: Pretest-Posttest Control Group Design  7-31   Distinguishing feature of this design compared to pre-experimental design is randomization Here the researcher randomly assigns test units to experimental groups The pretest-posttest control group design. . and the Solomon four-group design.

01) . .True Experimental Designs: Pretest-Posttest Control Group Design 7-32 EG: R 01 X 02 CG: R 03 04  Test units are randomly assigned to either the experimental (exposed to test ad) or the control group (not exposed).  A pretreatment measure (attitude towards a brand) is taken on each group.  The treatment effect (TE) is measured as:(02 .  Only the experimental group is exposed to the treatment but post-test measures are taken on both.  Selection bias is eliminated by randomization.(04 03).

difference in attitudes of the EG & CG used as a measure of the effectiveness of the advt.) & other half in CG (not shown). The treatment effect is obtained by TE = 01 .7-33 Posttest-Only Control Group Design EG : CG :   R R X 01 02    Does not involve any pre measurement Sample randomly split.02 Except for pre-measurement. then questionnaire administered to both to obtain posttest measures on attitudes towards the brand. the implementation of this design is very similar to that of the pretest-posttest control group design. Simple to implement . half in EG (shown the advt.

7-34 Solomon Four Group Design When we need to examine changes in attitudes of respondents then this design is used Expensive & time consuming hence not popular Experimental Group 1: Control Group 1: Experimental Group 2: Control Group 2: R O1 X R O3 R X R O2 O4 O5 O6 .

7-35 Quasi-Experimental Designs There is no randomization of test units to treatments: Researcher can control when measurements are taken & on whom Researcher lacks control over the scheduling of the treatments & also is unable to expose test units to treatments randomly Quicker & less expensive Time series & Multiple time series designs .

Can test the treatment effect twice: against the pretreatment measurements in the experimental group and against the control group. this design can be an improvement over the simple time series experiment. .7-36 Time series & Multiple Time Series Design Time Series Design: series of periodic measurements on the dependent variable for a group of test units 01 02 03 04 05 X 06 07 08 09 010 Multiple Time Series Design: similar to time series design except that another group of test units is added to serve as a control group EG : 01 02 03 04 05 X 06 07 08 09 010 CG : 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 010   If the control group is carefully selected.

7-37 Multiple Time Series Design: Example         Examine the buildup effect of increased advertising One group of households was the EG & equivalent group was CG Groups were matched on demographic variables Data collected for 76 weeks Both recd same level of advt for first 52 weeks for the brand in qs Next 24 weeks. experimental group (EG) exposed to twice as much advt as the Control group (CG) Results indicated that buildup effect of advt was immediate with a duration of the order of the purchase cycle Useful for selecting advt timing patterns .

.7-38 Statistical Designs Statistical designs consist of a series of basic experiments that allow for statistical control and analysis of external variables and offer the following advantages:    The effects of more than one independent variable can be measured. Economical designs can be formulated when each test unit is measured more than once. Specific extraneous variables can be statistically controlled. the Latin square design. and the factorial design. The most common statistical designs are the randomized block design.

g. when more than one variable must be controlled must use Latin square or factorial designs . or grouped.store patronage identified as the blocking variable The researcher must be able to identify & measure the blocking variable By blocking. Impact of humor on the effectiveness of advertising for store Z. such as store size or income. Limitation is that researcher can control for only one external variable.7-39 Randomized Block Design      Is useful when there is only one major external variable. on the basis of the external variable e. the researcher ensures that the various experimental and control groups are matched closely on the external variable. that might influence the dependent variable & needs to be blocked The test units are blocked.

7-40 Randomized Block Design Treatment Groups Commercial Commercial Commercial A B C A A A A B B B B C C C C Block Store Number Patronage 1 2 3 4 Heavy Medium Low None .

g. wants to control two variables.store patronage & interest in store to measure impact of humor on the effectiveness of advertising for store Z Each external or blocking variable is divided into an equal number of blocks. C To implement this design store patronage would also have to be blocked at three rather than four levels (e. The levels of the independent variable are assigned to the cells in the table.A.g.7-41 Latin Square Design        Allows the researcher to statistically control two non interacting external variables as well as to manipulate the independent variable. or levels. B. E. by combining the low & non patrons into a single block) A Latin square is conceptualized as a table with the rows and columns representing the blocks in the two external variables. The assignment rule is that each level of the independent variable should appear only once in each row and each column . The independent variable is also divided into the same number of levelsassignments of 3 test commercials can be made.

7-42 Latin Square Design Interest in the Store Medium A B C Store Patronage Heavy Medium Low and none High B C A Low C A B .

This would require a 3x3 = 9 cells Thus 9 diff. a person may prefer coffee & fav. respondents in upper left hand corner will view an advt that had no humor & low store info .g. each having a specific level of store info & amount of humor Respondents would be randomly selected & randomly assigned to the 9 cells & respondents in each cell would receive a specific treatment combination E. Allows for interactions between variables.store info is also varied at 3 levels. temperature may be cold but does not mean he likes cold coffee In a two-factor design. each level of one variable represents a row and each level of another variable represents a column A cell for every possible combination of treatment variable Suppose in addition to examining effect of humor on advt.g. commercials will be produced. researcher was also interested in simultaneously examining the amount of store info in an advt & its impact.interaction takes place when the simultaneous effect of two or more variables is diff from the sum of their separate effects e.7-43 Factorial Design: Example         Used to measure the effects of two or more independent variables at various levels.

7-44 Factorial Design Amount of Store Information Low Medium High Amount of Humor No Medium High Humor Humor Humor A D G B E H C F I .

7-45 Laboratory versus Field Experiments Factor Environment Control Reactive Error Demand Artifacts Internal Validity External Validity Time Number of Units Ease of Implementation Cost Laboratory Artificial High High High High Low Short Small High Low Field Realistic Low Low Low Low High Long Large Low High .

The requirements of experimental group. Experiments are often expensive. particularly in a field environment. and multiple measurements significantly add to the cost of research. Experiments can be difficult to administer. particularly if the researcher is interested in measuring the long-term effects. Competitors may deliberately contaminate the results of a field experiment.7-46 Limitations of Experimentation     Experiments can be time consuming. It may be impossible to control for the effects of the extraneous variables. . control group.

Design a field experiment to address this issue. What potential difficulties do you see in conducting the experiment just described? What assistance would you require from the CocaCola management to overcome these difficulties? . The company would like to determine whether it should increase.7-47 Activities     You are a marketing research manager for the Coca-Cola Company. decrease. or maintain the current level of advertising dollars spent on Coke.

Then attitudes toward abortion were measured for respondents in both groups. A.7-48 Activities    A pro-life group wanted to test the effectiveness of an anti-abortion commercial. Identify the independent & dependent variables in this experiment B. Two random samples. . were recruited in Atlanta. One group was shown the anti-abortion commercial. Design a field experiment to address this issue. each of 250 respondents.

Develop your own measures of advertising effectiveness in this context .7-49 Fieldwork     Select two different advertisements of any brand Design and conduct an experiment to determine which ad is more effective. Use a student sample with 10 students being exposed to each ad (treatment condition).

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