Monday, March 01, 2010

A midterm question

One I'd really like an answer to from my Research Methods prof:

A researcher observes two important variables under study of a subject in a control environment & notes a correlative relationship. Researcher believes the correlative relationship to be causitive. The issues under study are far outside the life experiences of the researcher, and the observed behaviors go against established traditions. Without further (qualitative) investigation, the researcher jumps to a conclusion and rushes to disseminate the findings, complete with firm intervention recommendations, with outright claims that the reported causitive variable was an independent one. Upon dissemination, questions are raised over whether the 'causitive' variable was truly such, and even over whether it was a relevant variable in the observed effect at all. Questions are also raised over if some of the variables cast off as extraneous might not have been actually confounding variables, or even the true causitive one(s). What is the appropriate professional response from the researcher?

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