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Assessing the external validity of jury simulation research: A meta-analysis

Kerri F Dunn, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


A meta-analysis was conducted on 195 jury decision-making studies to assess the relationship between the ecological and external validity of the research. Contrary to criticisms directed at the use of less realistic research methodologies, we had predicted negligible main effect differences between methodologies as a function of different levels of ecological verisimilitude. However, we did expect that methodologies of varying verisimilitude would differentially impact effect sizes when they interacted with certain substantive independent manipulations. Summary statistics revealed that the general ecological validity or structural verisimilitude of jury research tends to be low, although the trend does seem to be that jury researchers are using more realistic methodologies in recent years. Additionally, when the ecological validity of the studies was examined to assess its effect on the external validity of the research via analysis of magnitude of weighted effect sizes, the overall analysis indicated that different methodologies accounted for only 1.7% of the variance. However, our hypotheses of interaction effects were supported to the extent that specific classes of independent manipulations were found to differentially interact with methodological variables. These results indicate that concerns regarding the externally validity of jury research may be misplaced in terms of the attention that critics, including the Supreme Court, have given to the ecological invalidity of jury research, rather than on more generally accepted principles of sound social science research, including the relationship between internal validity, construct validity and external validity. The implications of these findings are discussed in terms of future research as well as problems with the current study. ^

Subject Area

Law|Psychology, Social

Recommended Citation

Dunn, Kerri F, "Assessing the external validity of jury simulation research: A meta-analysis" (2002). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3074075.