Experimental Methods


Lab study

  • Researcher controls as many variables as possible
  • Done in a lab
  • Using standardised procedures
  • True experiment


High control, replication is easy and random allocation is possible.


Low external validity, and a higher likelihood of investigator effects and demand characteristics. 

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Field study

  • Takes place in the real world
  • Researcher manipulates the IV and records the effect on the DV
  • Participants aren't randomly allocated


High ecological validity.


Less control over variables, replication is difficult, and sample bias.

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Quasi study

  • Almost an experiment BUT lacks one thing it needs to be a true experiment
  • Usually, the IV has not been manipulated by the researcher


High ecological vaildity, and is useful when manipulating the IV is unethical. 


Confounding variables are more likely, must wait for the IV to occur, and can only be used when conditions occur naturally. 

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Natural study

  • The change in the IV is not brought about by the researcher and would happen if the researcher wasn't there
  • Researcher records the effect on the DV


High ecological validity, no demand characteristics and no investigator effects. 


Replication is difficult. 

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