Types of Experiments

Lab experiment, naturalistic experiment, field experiment

includes brief intro of what they are, and advantages and disadvantages

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  • Created by: liliamber
  • Created on: 10-04-14 16:16

Lab Experiment

  • takes place in a controlled environment
  • the experimenter can test the effects of the IV and DV


  • Researcher has control over variables, allowing precision to be achieved


  • Researcher can establish cause and effect relationships between IV and DV


  • Confounding variables are eliminated or held constant, therefore it has internal validity


  • Demand characteristics, pps may try and make sense of the experiment and behave in a way to please the examiner


  • Due to the controlled nature of labs, the experiment may become artificial and low in mundane realism
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Field Experiment

  • conducted in normal social situations
  • researcher still manipulates IV and measures DV but has less control
  • Hofling et al (1966) - obedient nurses


  • high ecological validity - true behaviours shown, generalised to real world

  • reduced demand characteristics, pps do not know they are taking part

  • pps less influenced by investigator effects


  • difficult to control all variables which could affect pps behaviour

  • no informed consent, pps are decieved
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Naturalistic Experiment

  • IV occurs naturally, experimenter records effect of DV
  • After the eruption of St Helens, USA (1980) - increase in stress-related illnesses, diagnosis in mental disorders and death rate


  • Realism - real-life events

  • Reduced demand characteristics - experimenter is usually not present when event occurs and pps usually don't know their behaviour is being studied


  • Lack of control - experimenter has no control over variables

  • Difficult to generalise
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