Critiquing Causal Claims
Use counterfactual reasoning, Campbell’s validity typology, and Rubin’s causal model to analyze and critique the implicit and explicit causal claims in completed reports of research and evaluation studies, and explain how the nature of the study design and the analytical methods used limit the kinds of causal conclusions that can be validly formulated from the study.
Planning Causal Probing Studies
1. Demonstrate skill in planning causal probing studies that are consistent with the purposes of the investigators and stakeholders, the design principles in the Campbell and Rubin frameworks, the resources available, and other contextual constraints.
· Understand the similarities and differences between true experiments, quasi-experiments, and other kinds of field studies and the advantages and disadvantages of each type.
· Understand the basic design elements in quasi-experiments and how these elements can be used to plan a study so that the plausibility of rival causal explanations will be minimized.
· Identify the trade-offs between what would be ideal and what is feasible given the purposes of the investigators and stakeholders, the resources available, and the constraints of the situation, and explain how the various possible choices will limit the casual claims that can be validly drawn from the proposed study..
· Distinguish between the roles of research design and statistical analysis in evaluating causal hypotheses, and understand the limitations of statistical analysis in compensating for design weaknesses.