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Chapter 4 Research Methodology


This chapter starts with defining the research methodology used to conduct the research; experimental design. It is followed by an overview of the ethical considerations involved. The procedure used will then be outlined, with a section on sample selection and allocation scenarios. A brief summary of the sta- tistical methods used concludes the chapter.

4.1 Experimental Design

To determine the validity of the hypotheses, the overarching methodology that has been chosen to conduct the research is experimental design, which is defined as the design of any information-gathering exercise where there is variation, regardless of whether the experimenter has full control or not. Experimental design was used as the methodology in this book, as it provides the overall framework for the various methods that were employed.

The crux of experimental research is the question of whether an observed relationship between an action and outcome is truly causal[1] or a false relationship. Experiments are focused heavily on internal validity,[2] with the aim to rule out alternative explanations of the relationship observed between the inde- pendent and dependent variables. To rule out additional variables, experimental designs comprise two key features; control and randomisation. Control means that the researcher controls and manipulates the factors of interest, whilst keeping as many other variables as possible constant. Test conditions are standardised to avoid other factors, co-varying and influencing outcomes. Randomisation is utilised when control cannot be achieved by other means. Randomisation involves assigning test units to different conditions based on chance, elaborated upon in Sect. 4.3.2. Experiments are focused on internal validity, but there is always a trade-off with external validity. This refers to whether the observed relationships can be gener- alised to other samples of people or situations (Oppewal 2011).

To expand on finance and regulatory focus as a whole, the following were

utilised; CRFS, eye tracker, self-report and statistical analysis. The work of Scholer et al. (2010) and Zhou and Pham (2004) guided this book. It is hoped that this work will add to what has previously been done in the amalgam of finance and regulatory focus, as well as pioneer future research in this area. As stated in the hypothesis, the aim of this book is to see if chronic regulatory focus has an influence on asset and portfolio decisions.

  • [1] Causality refers to relationships between variables, wherein a change in a variable necessarily results in a change in another variable (Oppewal 2011)
  • [2] Internal validity is concerned whether an observed relationship is causal. It is the extent to which alternative explanations for an observed relationship between variables can be ruled out (Oppewal 2011)
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