This Fall, 2020, we are going to run a series of studies looking at how participants respond to apologies.



Stimulus Materials and Researcher Instructions – Fall, 2020 – Apology Study

Instructions: This Fall, 2020, we are going to run a series of studies looking at how participants respond to apologies. We’ll do this by showing participants a fake Twitter page that contains a Twitter user’s apology, but we will alter the nature of the apology (sincere, insincere, or no apology). The main focus of our study is to see how participants perceive the Twitter user’s apology (or in some case, the user’s “non-apology”). After all, research suggests that people think that an insincere apology is worse than no apology. Here, we can test just how sincere that apology really needs to be within a social media context!

1). For your first experimental study, you will play the role of researcher, and you will collect data from three different participants, However, your instructor will combine your data with other class members, so your final data set will have nearly 150 participants! There are two phases to this study. In the first phase, you will orally ask participants if they are willing to participate in a research study. In the second phase, participants will complete a five-part survey. In Part One, participants will read several Twitter posts from a user named Charlie Webb, who confesses to not wearing a face mask to the mall during the Covid 19 pandemic and getting into an argument with a mall employee. Charlie’s tweets end with either no apology, a sincere apology, or an insincere apology. In Part Two, participants will rate Charlie’s apology. In Part Three, participants will rate Charlie’s behavior and general characteristics. In Part Four, participants will complete demographic questions. Finally, in Part Five, participants will tell us about the general nature of Charlie’s apology (our manipulation check in this study). To run this study, use the following steps:

A). Your first task is to approach three different participants (not all at the same time!). Preferably, they should not be people that you know well (i.e. do not use your best friend or family members), and they cannot be taking a psychology research methods class during the Fall, 2020 semester.

1). DO NOT complete this study yourself, and try to use only other FIU students or strangers as participants for this first study. The reason I don’t want you to use your family members / close friends as participants in this first study is because you will use them for a second follow-up study later this semester. That is, you will recruit eight participants total this semester, three now and five later. Since participants can only participate in one study each, you need to make sure you have eight different people in mind to participate on your behalf. None of them should be aware of the study topic.  

2). There are 48 students in our class, so with each student getting data from three people for our first experiment, our final sample will be around 140 participants total.

3). Important Covid Note: If you do not feel comfortable collecting “in-person” survey data for study one due to the Covid pandemic, there are some alternative means of data collection available to you (see below under Phase II).

B). Phase I: Informed Consent

1). Informed Consent:

·         Ask the potential participant if he or she is willing to participate in a study for your research methods class. You will get their informed consent verbally. Tell them:

“Hello, this semester in my psychology research methods class, we are collecting different types of data (demographic information, open-ended questions, scaled questions, etc.) that we will analyze in our statistical lab. I was wondering if you would be willing to participate in my study. The study takes about five to ten minutes. There are no risks to participating, and the main benefit is that I can complete my class assignment. Will you participate?”

·         An oral Yes or No response is fine. If they say no, thank them and find a different participant. If they say yes, move to the next step (Phase II – Questionnaire). 

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