Experimental Research Methods

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Experimental Research Methods


The first method is the straightforward experiment, involving the standard practice of manipulating quantitative, independent variables to generate statistically analyzable data.

Generally, the system of scientific measurements is interval or ratio based. When we talk about ‘scientific research methods’, this is what most people immediately think of, because it passes all of the definitions of ‘true science’. The researcher is accepting or refuting the null hypothesis.

The results generated are analyzable and are used to test hypotheses, with statistics giving a clear and unambiguous picture.

This research method is one of the most difficult, requiring rigorous design and a great deal of expense, especially for larger experiments. The other problem, where real life organisms are used, is that taking something out of its natural environment can seriously affect its behavior.

It is often argued that, in some fields of research, experimental research is ‘too’ accurate. It is also the biggest drain on time and resources, and is often impossible to perform for some fields, because of ethical considerations.

The Tuskegee Syphilis Study was a prime example of experimental research that was fixated on results, and failed to take into account moral considerations.

In other fields of study, which do not always have the luxury of definable and quantifiable variables - you need to use different research methods. These should attempt to fit all of the definitions of repeatability or falsifiability, although this is not always feasible.

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