RM - Experiments

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  • Created by: Muy
  • Created on: 20-04-13 12:44

Laboratory Experiments

Artificial enviroment where the researcher controls the variables

Research divides identical resarch subjects

Experimental group are exposed to an independent variable

Control group arents exposed to independent variable

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Issues of experiments

Practical issues with Lab Experiments

Urry argues lab experiments only suitable for closed systems (all variables are controllable)

Lab experiments use small samples

Hawthorne effect - subjects behavior changes due to being studied

Ethical Issues with Lab Experiments - 

Informed consent - gaining subjects consent after explaining the study

Researcher should avoid harming subjects

... Positivists favour lab experiments for its reliability, Interpretivist believe it lacks validity

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Issues of experiments #2

Reliability enables replication, Positivists regard lab experiments as reliable

Original researcher can specify steps involved

Quantitative data can be compared

Research is objectice, as the variables are merely manipulated


HOWEVER lab experiments arent representative due to small samples and lack of external validity as its unlike the real world

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Field experiments

Used to overcome lab experiments lack of validity

They take place in an natural enviroment, and subjects are unaware (unethical)

Researcher manipulates variables to study the effects

E.G. Brown and Gay, sent a black and white actor with matched age and qualifications for an interview, any differences may have been due to discrimination

Comparative methods carried out only by the mind of the sociologists, it identifies two similar groups except for one variable and researcher compares it e.g. Durkheim and suicide

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