Fractional factorial designs for legal psychology.

Dennis P. Stolle, Jennifer K. Robbennolt, Marc Patry, Steven D. Penrod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Researchers considering novel or exploratory psycholegal research are often able to easily generate a sizable list of independent variables (IVs) that might influence a measure of interest. Where the research question is novel and the literature is not developed, however, choosing from among a long list of potential variables those worthy of empirical investigation often presents a formidable task. Many researchers may feel compelled by legal psychology's heavy reliance on full-factorial designs to narrow the IVs under investigation to two or three in order to avoid an expensive and unwieldy design involving numerous high-order interactions. This article suggests that fractional factorial designs provide a reasonable alternative to full-factorial designs in such circumstances because they allow the psycholegal researcher to examine the main effects of a large number of factors while disregarding high-order interactions. An introduction to the logic of fractional factorial designs is provided and several examples from the social sciences are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-17
Number of pages13
JournalBehavioral Sciences and the Law
Issue number1/2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • LAW -- Psychological aspects
  • FACTORIAL experiment designs
  • SOCIAL sciences
  • SOCIAL interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Law

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