Laboratory experiments


Laboratory experiments


  • Researcher can control different variables to test hypothesis and establish cause and effect relationships
  • Positivists believe that following methods of natural sciences provides objective and true data


  • Hawthorne effect - subjects change behaviour and therefore data is not valid
  • Society is an open system - too many variables to study in this way
  • Individuals are too complex to 'match' the experimental and control groups
  • Small samples - hard to investigate large scale issues and not representative
  • Cannot be used to study the past
  • Expectancy effect - form of researcher bias
  • Artificial environment may provide untrue results
  • Human behaviour cannot be explained by cause and effect, should be opportunity to discover meanings and choices
  • Informed consent difficult to obtain without jeopardising the study and harm may be caused to subjects


Positivist favour lab experiments due to cause and effect, hypothesis testing and believe that it provides true and objective patterns/data. Interpretivists reject them for unnatural and invalid results 


No comments have yet been made