A researcher is interested in the effects of a new mnemonic strategy on short-term memory in 70 year-olds. She wants to include both those who are diagnosed as being in the mild stage of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) as well as 70 year-olds who have no diagnosable level of memory impairment. So, she will have 4 groups of 70 year-olds. One with no cognitive impairment that receives no intervention, one with no cognitive impairment that receives the training with the new mnemonic strategy, one group with individuals diagnosed with mild AD who receive no intervention, and the last group has individuals with mild AD who receive the training for the new mnemonic strategy.
Through a pretest of the participants’ short-term memory abilities, the researcher will insure that the basic abilities of the participants are equivalent within the non-AD groups and within the AD groups prior to the training. For 2 weeks, the mnemonic strategy participants will be asked to come to the university every other day for a 30-minute (computer based) training session (each session). Those not in the training groups will be asked to come in an do whatever they want on a computer for 30 minutes. Following the 2-week training period, all participants will be assessed using the Wechsler short-term memory scale, an established assessment of short-term memory abilities.
The project was reviewed and approved by the university’s Institutional Review Board. Although it is considered that no physical or psychological harm would come from the training strategy, all participants were required to receive clearance from their physicians in order to participate.
All participants will have their rights discussed with them and will only participate if they have signed the informed consent. For those who are unable to legally provide consent to participate, consent will be obtained from the legal guardian in addition to the informed assent of the participant.
All participants will be informed of the outcome of the study, and if the mnemonic training is shown to be beneficial, the training will be offered to all participants.
Identify and discuss the variables used in this study (e.g., independent, dependent, control).
Identify the type of design. What are the strengths of this type of design? What are the weaknesses? Why?
The independent variable is the 30 minutes training on the computer and the dependent variable is the improvement in short term memory.
There are two control groups and two experimental groups. One control group has no cognitive impairment and the other control group has mild Alzheimer’s disease. Similarly, one experimental group has no cognitive impairment and the other with mild Alzheimer’s disease.
The strength of this type of experimental research is that we can compare the results and identify whether the intervention is effective or not. It will say whether there is any relationship between the independent and dependent variable, in this case it’s the effect of 30 minutes memory improvement training on computers improve the short term memory of older people. It has followed all the research processes carefully because experimental research has the responsibility and accountability of not harming anyone.
In experimental studies, sometimes the subjects will not stay till the experiment ends. The outcome of the extraneous variable may be irrelevant or unexpected if human subjects are involved as they might influence the outcome. The research ethics might prevent the researchers in using human subject.
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