University of Texas Southwestern Medical Term Paper
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Since the point of a control group is to minimize the risk of placebo effect on the internal reliability of the study, this is a major weakness. Without some form of control group, it is unclear whether or not the change in cardiovascular response and adaptation found in the study was actually caused by the increased activity, or by something else.
Furthermore, the subject pool in this study was extremely small. Without a larger subject base, it is again more difficult to prove a causal relationship. Additionally, the lack of a control group and of such a small subject pool is a threat to the external validity of the study. Without a broader range of subjects, the researchers cannot justifiably generalize the findings of the study to the everyday settings of real life.
Since the experiment was very personalized, with a regimented exercise program, it is already difficult to generalize the results to the wider population. Since the subjects were well aware of the point of the study, there is a possible risk of reactivity on their part, such as more dedicated effort in the exercise program. Additionally, since it is assumed that the subjects
were not continuously monitored, their knowledge of the point of the study may have affected outside variables that may contribute to an improved cardiovascular response, such as eating habits, and other exercises.
Still further, the study was limited to males, presumably white, in their middle ages. These results, then, should not and can not be generalized to other populations, such as older generations, or women. This lack of generalization ability is a major weakness in that it is definitely a threat to the external validity of the study.
While the study did have some strengths, and did show some findings which suggest a casual relationship between increased exercise and improved cardiovascular health, the results should not be generalized. Future studies should use control groups, a larger and more varied subject pool, and more control over external variables. Only in this way will the data be sound enough to use on a wider scale.
UT Southwestern Medical Center. (Sept 18, 2001). Six months of exercise reverses decline in physical conditioning associated with aging, UT Southwestern researchers report. Retrieved October 25, 2004…
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