When you think of the term experiment, what comes to mind? Perhaps you thought about trying a new soda or changing your cat’s litter to a different brand. We all design informal experiments in our life. We try new things and seek to learn how those things changed us or how they compare to other things we might try. We even create entertainment programs like Mythbusters whose hosts use experimental methods to test whether common myths or bits of folk knowledge are actually true. It’s likely you’ve already developed an intuitive sense of how experiments work. The content of this chapter will increase your existing competency about using experiments to learn about the social world.
This chapter discusses or mentions the following topics: substance abuse, eating disorders, prejudice, hurricane Katrina, domestic violence, racism, poverty, and trauma.