Barber, Theodore X(enophon). Pitfalls in Human Research. New York: Pergammon Press,

 

Barber, Theodore X(enophon). Pitfalls in Human Research. New York: Pergammon Press,
1976.

The bibliography alone makes this book a superb reference. Incidentally, there is not that much
overlap between this bibliography and that provided by Zuckerman. The two combined provide a
literature survey of fraud in science through 1976.

Barber is a researcher dealing mostly with hypnosis and is probably, therefore, more sensitive
than most to the fudge factors and the personal side of science. I think this book started out as an
expansion and elaboration of the limitations of the experimenter effect of which psychology in
the 1970s has become so aware. True, the desire of the experimenter to prove his hypothesis may
"cue" respondents in a variety of ways, but cuing is not the only source of error. In fact, Barber
lists 10 "pitfalls" and it is only the 10th with which Rosenthal is concerned.

A major point: "investigators" as well as "experimenters" contribute to error. The following lists
the 10 errors in terms of, say, professors who design and graduate students who do the research:
Investigator effects: I. Investigator Paradigm Effect; II. Investigator Experimental Design Effect;
III. Investigator Loose Procedure Effect; IV. Investigator Data Analysis Effect;

V. Investigator Fudging Effect; Experimenter Effects: VI. Experimenter Personal Attributes
Effect; VII. Experimenter Failure to Follow the Procedure Effect; VIII.Experimenter
Midrecording Effect; IX. Experimenter Fudging Effect; X. Experimenter Unintentional
Expectancy Effect.

The titles above are fairly descriptive and all errors contribute to the "noise in the system." The
"Rosenthal Effect" is tenth.

Although the discussion in each section tends to be brief, Barber is quite thorough. The book
seems to preach "noise," but Barber comes out in the end recommending "improvements" in, and
retention of, experimental design. There are numerous delightful quotes.