How to design a follow-up study using the topic Social Loafing

How to design a follow-up study using the topic Social Loafing

How to design a follow-up study using the topic Social Loafing


Discussion Three

This is one of the most important parts of this course – I want you to work with your group to design a follow-up study using the topic Social Loafing. Your instructor will present the ideas to the whole class, and you will vote on which one you would like to do for your final class project. As you work on this discussion, try to think about what other variables might influence Loafing. Let me give you a few examples, though try to get creative with your group. Look at prior research and see if you can use some of their work as a follow-up to your study. Have fun with it!

Okay, consider some ideas I was thinking about for a follow-up study (Personally, I would recommend the third or fourth idea, as there is a lot of research you could draw on these new independent variables, which would make Paper III much easier to write). Keep in mind that we will drop one condition from our original Study One independent variable. I suggest keeping the Individual Total and Group Average conditions and dropping the Group Total condition. I have no solid reasoning behind this other than the Group Total and Group Average conditions probably will not differ much in study one, so including both is not necessary. I think keeping the Group Average condition will be easier to use with our new study design for some of the ideas below, but we could retain the Group Total if you have a good reason for doing so!

A fourth idea, and one I think is interesting, is to give participants an anchor. That is, we tell them how many math problems most people solve, with this number varying for the High Anchor condition (where we tell them most people solve 25 problems) and the Low Anchor condition (where we tell them most people solve 12 problems). Participants should attempt to solve more problems in the High Anchor condition than the Low Anchor condition, though participants with a High Anchor in the Individual Total condition should probably solve the most (with those in the Low Anchor and Group Average solving the least). The interesting part here is the High Anchor and Group Average condition. Since we look at the group score, loafing might occur, but the high anchor might disrupt their likelihood to loaf. In other words, this might be an interesting way to see if we can get rid of social loafing if we set a high anchor.

Finally, you can look at some participant characteristics if you like. You can measure the participants’ own ratings of how good they are or how much they enjoy math problems. Those who like math problems may be less likely to loaf (since loafing is less likely when people enjoy the activity). Or we could also look at participant gender. Research suggests that women are less likely to load than men. Would this same pattern hold in our study? Just remember that if you choose a participant characteristic as your second independent variable, you cannot draw cause-effect conclusions (since you cannot randomly assign someone to be good or bad at math, and you cannot assign someone to be a male or a female). That is why I prefer that you manipulate some feature of the study so you can randomly assign people to one of the four different conditions.

As you can see, there are tons of ways to extend your original study. Work with your classmates to identify the one you like best, and then let your instructor know. Your instructor will take the consensus vote for the whole class and let you know what the study will be for study two. In this discussion, I want EACH of you to do three things.

First, tell me which study you want to do (that is, which second independent variable you find most interesting). You can use one of the ideas above or come up with a unique one on your own. I prefer your own ideas, but if you really like one I mentioned you can use it. You still need to give me two more things, though …

Second, give me a reference in APA format for one peer reviewed research article that has something to do with this second variable. This article does not have to involve Social Loafing at all, but it must have something to do with your second independent variable.

Third, give me a hypothesis for what you expect to occur if your new independent variable is chosen for the class project. What do you predict just for that independent variable? What do you predict in terms of the interaction of that new independent variable with your original Individual Total versus Group Average independent variable?

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