field experiments

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  • Field Experiments
    • Weaknesses
      • Hawthorne effect
        • People may act differently if they know they are part of an experiment
      • More difficult to control variables
      • Practical problems
        • Access will be more of a problem to some institutions
        • More difficult for the researcher - they have to travel
      • Reliability is lower than with lab experiments
        • Difficult to replicate the same conditions
      • Ethical problems
        • Often necessary to deceive respondents to achieve valid results.
    • Strengths
      • Better external validity
        • Natural setting rather than a artificial lab setting
      • Larger scale research
        • Can observe how people operate in institutions
      • Generally better representativeness
        • More able to observe large groups of people
      • Ethical
        • Possibly less hierarchical than lab experiments
      • Practical
        • Can be a cheap way of measuring change over time
          • E.g Rosenthal and Jacobson
        • Possible for professionals to do 'on the job'
          • E.g Teachers
    • The basics
      • takes place in real life settings
        • work
        • the high street
        • schools
      • more common in sociology than lab experiments
        • closer to real life
    • Classic examples
      • Zimbardo - the Stanford prison experiment
      • Rosenthal and Jacobson - self fulfilling prophecy experiment
      • The Hawthorne factory experiment


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