Standardization refers to methods used in gathering and treating subjects for a specific study. In order to compare the results of one group to the results of a second group, we must assure that each group receives the same opportunities to succeed. Standardized tests, for instance, painstakingly assure that each student receives the same questions in the same order and is given the same amount of time, the same resources, and the same type of testing environment. Without standardization, we could never adequately compare groups.
For example, imagine that one group of students was given a particular test and allowed four hours to complete it in a quiet and well lit room. A second group was given the same test but only allowed 30 minutes to complete it while sitting in a busy school lunchroom full of laughing and talking children. If group 1 scored higher than group 2 could we truly say that they did better? The answer is obviously ‘no.’ To make sure we can compare results, we must make everything equal between the two or more groups. Only then could we say that group 1 performed better than group 2.
Standardization of the research methods is often a lengthy process. The same directions must be read to each student, the same questions must be given, and the same amount of time must be assured. All of these factors must be decided before the first subject can be tested. While standardization refers mainly to the testing situation itself, these principles of ‘sameness’ involve the selection of subjects as well.