Research : Experimental Research Design

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1. EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH DESIGN ‘Experiments are quite unusual, but are employed in related areas of analysis and is used as a yardstick against which non-experimental research is assessed. Experimental research is frequently held up as standard because it prompts considerable confidence in the strength and trustworthiness of causal findings. True experiments tend to be very strong in terms of internal authority’ (Bryman, 2012, p.50). In order to conduct a true experiment, it is necessary to manipulate/influence or control the independent variable in order to determine whether it does in fact have an influence on the dependent variable. Experimental subjects are likely to be allocated to one of two or more experimental groups, each of which represents different types or levels of the independent variable. It is then possible to establish how far differences between the groups are responsible for variations in the level of the dependent variable. Manipulation, then, entails intervening in a situation to determine the impact of the manipulation on subjects. However, the vast majority of independent variables with which social researchers are concerned cannot be manipulated e.g. gender. There are two types of experiments. 1. Laboratory experiment which takes place in a laboratory or in an artificial or fixed setting 2. Field experiment which occurs in real-life settings. a) Classical experimental design The classical experimental design is also often referred to as the
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