Field Experiments

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  • Field Experiments
    • It takes place in the subject's natural surroundings
    • Those involved do not know they are the subjects of an experiment
    • Researcher isolates and manipulates one or more of the variables in the situation to see what the effect of it is
    • Actor tests and correspondence tests are also field experiments
    • Critics argue that they are unethical as they carry them out without the subject's knowledge or consent.
    • The Comparative Method
      • Carried out only in the mind of the sociologist
      • Does not require the researcher to experiment on people
      • 1: Identify two groups that are alike in all major respects except for one variable they are interested in 2: Compare the two groups to see if this one difference between them has any effect
      • Durkheim's study of suicide, which relied on analysing official statistics
      • It avoids artificiality
      • It can be used to study past events
      • It avoids ethical problems
      • Less control over variables


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