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The Great Parking Debate

A Research Methods Case Study



Author:

Jennifer Feenstra
Department of Psychology
Northwestern College
jfeenstr@nwciowa.edu

Abstract:

Two friends debate whether people leave their parking spaces faster if others are waiting. They decide to see if they can design a study to test their ideas.  In this interrupted case study, students develop a research question and hypothesis and consider how to test a hypothesis. Students read about what researchers have done to answer the research question and identify and evaluate different research designs. Students are also asked to evaluate data. Developed for a use in an introductory psychology course to cover terms and concepts related to research methods, the case could be used in other introductory science classes, early in research methods courses, or in upper-level social science courses.

Objectives:
  • Critically evaluate terms and concepts related to research methodology.
  • Evaluate various research methods and understand the positives, negatives, and potential uses of those methods.
  • Evaluate data.
Keywords: Research methods; experiment; experimental design; hypothesis testing; observational research; naturalistic observation; survey; dependent variable; independent variable; random assignment; human behavior; parking
Topical Area: Scientific method
Educational Level: High school, Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Discussion, Interrupted
Language: English
Subject Headings: Psychology   Sociology   Science (General)  
Date Posted: 4/5/2011
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

Teaching Notes


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Answer Key


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Supplemental Materials


Teachers using this case may be interested in incorporating the video clip based on the case study that was made by the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. The video clip, titled "Parking: A Behavioural Study," is available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzyL7zKCBS4

   Parking Video

Teachers using this case may be interested in incorporating the video clip based on the case study that was made by the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.

The video clip, titled "Parking: A Behavioural Study," is available at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzyL7zKCBS4




Editor, National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science




11/15/2012



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