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The Misuse of Computers in Research

Schultz, Charles B.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Memorandum
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Computers, Research Design, Research Problems


Researchers' inability to control the computer may result from overestimation of the computer's ability, or underestimation of ones' ability to understand the machine. Several errors associated with use of the computer are described: (1) letting the computer lead in formulating the question, rather than specifying the problem on the basis of experimental interests; (2) choosing an analytical technique based on the availability of programs; (3) submitting data to the computer without a prior research design and hypothesis; (4) overinterpreting results or assuming the computer achieved more than pencil and paper techniques would have, when the answer is the same; and (5) continuing to spend time and funding to work with a mass of data when it would be more valuable to quit. Paper presented at American College Personnel Association Convention, Boston, MA, April 10, 1963.

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