Statistical Control

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  • When experimental controls are not possible, researchers resort to statistical methods to eliminate or “subtract” the effects variables. Experimenters control for these variables by assigning research participants to experimental groups, which receive treatments, and control groups, which do not. Having control groups allows researchers to isolate the effects of the treatment. For instance, to investigate the effects of income on adults' political beliefs, researchers cannot assign participants to different income levels to see what happens to their beliefs. Rather, researchers compare people with different incomes to see if their beliefs vary with their incomes, investigating whether there is a correlation between income and beliefs. If there is, it could be due to income, but it could also be explained by other variables. To eliminate those ...

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