ERIC Number: ED160660
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Mar-28
Reference Count: 0
Explanatory Observational Studies.
Cooley, William W.
The state of the art in observational studies is discussed, with emphasis on explanatory research--studies of program effectiveness in which an attempt is made to explain the reasons for the results as well as describing the results. In addition to the collection of data and presentation of statistical facts, the explanatory study involves the specification of causal hypotheses, estimation of causal models, and testing of the validity of these models and hypotheses. Quantitative observational studies, when conducted according to the author's recommendations, can yield consistent, convincing, and useful explanations of educational processes. Three critical features of such studies are specified. (1) The definition of the sample and the populations studied affect the generalizability of the observed relationships. (2) Specification errors may result when the theoretical model describing the hypothesized causal structure of the variables under consideration is invalid; such problems result from subject matter rather than statistical errors. (3) The statistical procedures should reflect the multidimensional domains of educational treatments. Commonality analysis and a computer program, LISREL, are recommended as useful ways to identify the roles and reliabilities of the variables of interest. (Author/GDC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (62nd, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, March 27-31, l978)