Date of Award

12-2012

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Heather M. McGee

Second Advisor

Dr. Alyce Dickinson

Third Advisor

Dr. Richard VanEnk

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

When dealing with human observers and error, tight control in data collection and methodology is essential for accurate representation of compliance. Although observational studies are popular, little has been done to study the integrity of human observers and the data collection process. Incomplete analysis of data collection integrity threatens functional findings, leading to problematic interpretation and decreased replication. The purpose of the current study was to assess whether manipulating the response effort associated with data collection has an effect on the accuracy of data collection. Participants of the study were undergraduate psychology students at a Midwestern university who were enrolled in an undergraduate I/O practicum that took place at a local hospital. To examine and counterbalance the effects of manipulating response effort, an ABAB/BABA design was implemented across two semesters. Initial results from visual inspection of the data demonstrate that with the exception of change between phase one and two during the first semester, all subsequent phases in the first semester and all phases in the second semester generated a visually salient change in data collection behavior when response effort was manipulated. Despite visual changes in the data, statistics failed to demonstrate a generalizable effect.

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