Sociology G673 power and control violence in the media

Lab experiments and field experiments

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What is a lab experiment?

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An experiment where the participants are taken out of their natural surroundings and placed into 'lab' conditions so an experiment can be conducted under controlled circumstances. E.g. Experiments into television violence usually take two groups of participants, one watching violent programmes and the other watching non violent programmes, aggressive behaviour is then measured.

(Liebert and Baron, see sociologists set)

  • Weaknesses; Tend to be unrealistic and artificial. Often programmes are specially made and quite unlike typical tv programmes which show violence. Limited to studying short-term effects, unable to assess long-term exposure to media violence. Sample sizes are often small, generalisation is difficult.
  • Strengths; Enables analysation of cause and effect. Can be controlled so unpredictable things are unlikely.
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What is a field experiment?

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Experiments conducted in the real world, in familiar settings such as; the workplace, home or school.

(Feshbach and Singer, see sociologists set)

  • Weaknesses; Very time consuming (6 weeks for Feshbach and Singer). Open to interpretation.
  • Strengths; Natural surroundings for the participant. Get to see long-term effects on participants.
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