Types of Experiment - Research Methods

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Laboratory Experiments

Experiments that take place in highly controlled environments in order to control situational variables

Example: Loftus and Palmer study - effect of leading questions on memory

Strengths:

  • complete control over variables
  • forces pace of research
  • reliable and easy to replicate
  • quantitative data

Weaknesses:

  • loss of ecological validity
  • drawbacks of design (internal validity)
  • demand characteristics
  • sampling bias
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Field Experiments

research carried out in a natural environment instead of a lab

Example: Pilivan`s Subway Samaritan Study

Strengths:

  • Natural environment - increased ecological validity
  • quantitative data
  • more ethical than lab experiments

Weaknesses:

  • can be hard to replicate exactly
  • lack of control over variables
  • unable to use some technical equipment
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Natural Experiments

researcher researches the aftermath of something that has already happened

Example: how students are affected by a gunman on a rampage in thier college

Strengths:

  • reduction of demand characteristics
  • lack of direct intervention

Limitations:

  • loss of control over the independent variable
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Quazi Experiment

researcher in a natural experiment doesn`t control the independent variable, instead exploits naturally occuring differences

Example: the independent variable is age / gender

Strengths:

  • reduction of demand characteristics
  • lack of direct intervention

Limitations:

  • loss of control over variables
  • not recognised as an actuaal experiment
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