Advantages and disadvantages of Experiments


Advantages and disadvantages of Experiments

AdvantagesGetting Started

  • Reliability - others can easily replicate an experiment so it is reliable - produces same results or showing change - as original experimenter can specify exact steps followed
  • detached method - researcher has little contact with subjects hard to impose their own meanings/opinions so have no effect on the outcome of the research
  • useful to identify cause and effect relationships - control certain things to see effect on others


  • Practical issues - difficult to control all possible variables influencing what is being studied, cant be used to study past as we cant control all past variables. experiments only small scale - time consuming
  • Ethical Issues - deception - wrong to mislead people in the nature of the experiment e.g. Milgram - lied to participants about the purposes of research - told them they were helping in experiment on learning in which they were ordered to send electric shocks when learner got question wrong - however purpose of experiment was to see peoples willingness to obey orders to cause pain - 65% were willing
  • Hawthorne effect - lab not a natural environment - behave differently as know they're being studied


Positivists favour lab experiments as they meet their main goals of reliability. Interpretivists reject lab experiments as they fail to meet main goal of validity as it is artificial setting likely to produce unnatural behavior.  


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