Designing an experiment (In-class Farah and Salma)

Question: How would people of different racial backgrounds react if an individual is verbally abused or unfairly treated in public due to his or her ethnicity, and why?

Hypothesis: Majority of people from all backgrounds will ignore and not speak up. Those who do react will probably defend the victim.

Method: Experimental.

Independent variable: The ethnicity of the surrounding people.

Dependent variable: People’s reactions.

Procedure: We create a situation where someone abuses someone else due to racial reasons, (Both will be actors) in area containing people from multiple backgrounds. Then we observe the surrounding people’s reactions and afterwards interview them.


  • The people may lie during the interviews to make themselves look better.
  • The customers at hand may not be representative of the population.
  • The participants are not actually selected or screened.

Internal validity: Since this is a field experiment, internal validity will be a bit low. It will be difficult to control all the other variables except the independent one. Our results may be due to individual disposition rather than ethnic background.

External validity: This will be high. The situation is extremely realistic and could actually happen to anyone at any time. It is generalizable.


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