Polygraph Reliability Research

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    Lucy E H

    Hello everyone,


    I am a postgraduate student who has been invited to take part in some research involving the polygraph as part of my dissertation. Obviously, the richest area within polygraph research is going to be studies of reliability/validity so this is where a lot of my literature searching is taking place.


    Due to time/participant/budgetary constraints, I suspect at most I will be able to manage what will pass for a pilot study but this is not the issue. The problem that I am facing is my weak background in research methods and statistical testing. This is a peculiar area to test given that it will be the participants deceiving me (theoretically) and not the other way. Ethical issues have been considered, but I am having some trouble putting together a methodology. I am aware that keeping it as simple as possible is going to be beneficial to the research, but I am not sure what really passes for simple.


    I would really appreciate any advice/suggestions that anyone may have to offer. 



    Dave Collingridge

    If your intention is to study polygraphs (lie detectors), I suggest you start with a clear and simple concept of what you want to investigate. Next you should search the published literature in psychology and criminology and see what has been done previously on polygraphs, related to what you are interested in. Based on the information you find in the published literature, you can then create a hypothesis to test. When you’ve made a decision on the hypothesis you want to test, you can plan the method and stats that will best help you evaluate your hypothesis.  

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