Adding to my Experiment

As I put the final touches on my experiment I began to worry people may struggle to adjust to the structure of the experiment.  I worried that automatically playing recordings of the minimal pairs may catch participants off guard, and make them want to rehear the recordings.

Initially I thought about allowing participants to replay the recordings. This would ensure confidence in their answers, but after discussing it with my advisor, I decided against it. To find the most accurate reading of the participants’ phonological awareness I had to capture their instinctual reactions. By doing this I decrease their ability to second guess themselves. However, this did not solve the problem of an abrupt start. I worried that throwing them into the experiment would affect the results of the first few questions. My advisor suggested creating a separate trial run of four questions; two in which the phonemes were the same and two with minimal pairs. This trial gives the participants an idea of how the main experiment will be structured, and provides them an opportunity to ask questions regarding the program’s structure. 

During my experimenting I noticed this separate trial survey is helpful for participants. When they begin the actual survey they are prepared for the recordings to play automatically, they know that they cannot repeat recordings, and they move through the survey quickly and with confidence.

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