Lab experiments

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  • Created by: greggs25
  • Created on: 20-02-15 16:25
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  • Lab experiments
    • Strengths
    • Field experiments
      • It takes place in the subjects natural surroundings, such as school or workplace,rather than in an artificial laboratory.
  • Weaknesses
    • Lab experiments
      • Strengths
      • Field experiments
        • It takes place in the subjects natural surroundings, such as school or workplace,rather than in an artificial laboratory.
  • positivists favour the laboratory experiment in principle because it achieves their main goal of reliability.
    • however, positivists recognise the shortcomings of laboratory experiments:
      • it is often impossible or unethical to control the variables
        • their small scare means that the results may not be representative or generalisable.
  • easy to replicate- the original experimenter can specify precisely what steps were followed in the original experiment so other researchers can repeat this in the future
    • control over extraneous variables.
      • easy to replicate- the original experimenter can specify precisely what steps were followed in the original experiment so other researchers can repeat this in the future
      • impossible to identify all the extraneous variables when studying society as it is a complex pheonemenon
        • Weaknesses
          • Lab experiments cannot be used to study the past
            • Laboratory experiments usually only study small samples. this makes it very difficult to investigate large-scale social phenomena such as religions and voting patterns
        • the HawthorneEffect (demand characterises)
          • the researcher needs to obtain informed consent.
            • interpretivist sociology, such as interactionists,argue that human beings are fundamentally different from plants, rocks and other natural phenomena studied by natural scientists as we have free will consciousness and choice.
          • this subjects involved are generally not aware that they are the subjects of an experiment, in which case there is no hawthorneeffect.
            • David Rosenhans (1973) 'psuedopatient' experiment, a team of eight 'normal' researchers presented themselves at 12 mental hospitals, complaining that they had been herring voices.
              • some critics argue that field experiments are unethical as they involve carrying out an experiment without knowledge or consent.
                • this subjects involved are generally not aware that they are the subjects of an experiment, in which case there is no hawthorneeffect.
                • The comparative method
                  • It is designed to discover cause and effect
                    • The comparative method
                      • Emile Durkheim's study of suicide
                        • It avoids artificiality
                          • It poses no ethical problems, such as harming or deceiving subjects
                    • It can be used to study past events
                      • It avoids artificiality
                        • It poses no ethical problems, such as harming or deceiving subjects
                    • Less  control over extraneous variables

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