Handout 3.3:
Six Idea Generation Techniques Applicable to
Common Sense, Theory, and Literature Searches

  1. See if the results would generalize to different participants or settings.
  2. Look for moderating variables that would either strengthen, weaken, or reverse the observed/proposed relationship between the variables. Asking "When does the opposite occur?" may help you think of moderating variables.
  3. See if you can apply it to a practical problem.
  4. Reconcile contradictions between conflicting studies, theories, or cliches.
  5. See if you can more precisely state the relationship between the variables.
  6. Examine variables that may mediate the relationship. What is the physiological or cognitive mechanism that accounts for the relationship? Can we measure those mediating processes to see if they really do occur when the stimulus is introduced? Can we manipulate these processes and see if manipulating with these underlying processes affects the stimulus-response relationship? stimulus-response relationship?

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