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Experimental Design in Alcohol Administration Research: Limitations and Alternatives in the Manipulation of Dosage-Set
Christopher S. Martin, Michael A. Sayette
This article reviews literature on the utility of different experimental designs in human alcohol administration research, with particular attention to the balanced-placebo design (BPD). Many believe the BPD can orthogonally manipulate alcohol's pharmacological effects and the effects of dosage-set (believing that one has consumed a certain amount of alcohol). However, research has accumulated that suggests these effects cannot be disentangled at moderate to high doses of alcohol. The strengths and weaknesses of a number of experimental designs are discussed with regard to the variables that designs can assess or control. Methodological issues in deception conditions and manipulation checks are reviewed. Topics in need of empirical investigation are highlighted. It is concluded that the appropriate alcohol administration design depends on the particular theoretical and methodological issues of a research program. (J. Stud. Alcohol 54: 750-761, 1993)