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The independent variable in this study is the presence of diagnosed ADHD, a problematic condition in many children which makes concentration difficult. The major problem with this variable is that it cannot really be accurately measured as yet. The dependent variables are the boys being tested, including the control group. Because the ADHD half of the independent variable cannot be accurately quantified, there is a problem with the dependent variables. Even though the ADHD group was separated into types, the research has no broad application, since the results can only be quantified for small groups with very narrow definitions. The other variables are the videogames, matching exercise and the zoo navigation exercise used to test the performance of the boys.
Difficulties of Sample Selection
The difficulties in testing this group must have been a prime consideration for the researchers, as they took great care in their selections and in documenting them. The researchers made a concerted effort to set up a viable experiment by testing the participants and separating the types of ADHD, in case this was an extra variable and applying other measures designed to isolate the desired independent variable: the presence of ADHD. They were careful to take all boys from the same age groups and located within the same geographical area and part of the same socio-economic group. Testing of IQ and skills further assured some homogeneity among the participants. The ADHD group had even been diagnosed by the same pediatrician. Children with any other conditions diagnosed or suspected were eliminated from the control group in an effort to attain a high level of matching. This was confirmed by interviewing the school principal and psychologist. Girls were excluded because there were few in the ADHD group and even fewer played video games. Participants from the test and the control group were closely matched for age, IQ and skills. Finally, data was only used for those pairs who completed the video games and the matching and zoo navigation exercises. There was even care taken to match the boys for familiarity and skill with the video games and the Zoo.
Even though the nature of ADHD makes this study not applicable on a broad scale, because the results cannot be quantified statistically for the overall group, except as anecdotal evidence, extreme care is taken in creating the sample and in documenting all segments of the tests, especially since each ADHD participant’s particular types and levels of difficulty were also included, makes the results of this research very valuable in identifying stressors and resulting cognitive deficits. This data is not only valuable to practitioners in the field but provides much comparison data for other studies. The measuring methods and their applications and analyses were very carefully done and described completely for the readers. Procedures for testing and analysis of the tests were described in great detail. Then the resulting analyses were applied to the proper areas of cognitive functioning, according to established research.
Considering the nature of the problems being investigated and the difficulty in creating a homogenous group for testing, this research study was extremely well done. If enough projects are completed with as much attention to detail and as careful documentation, the body of work could soon grow to a quantifiable size for many types of ADHD. For this reason, this research study stands as an excellent example of research design and execution. Any research involving human subjects is problematic and studies involving children must be carefully controlled. Therefore, the level of care taken here should be replicated.
Lawrence, Vivienne; Houghton, Stephen; Tannock, Rosemary; Douglas, Graham; et al. 2002.
ADHD outside the laboratory: Boys’ executive function performance on tasks i.
Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. 2002; ProQuest Social Science Journals.pg. 447.