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Experiments -- Research Starters Sociology

By: Wienclaw, Ruth A.;

2009 / EBSCO


Experimental research is one of the primary ways by which science advances. In experimental paradigms, independent variables (stimuli) are manipulated and the effect of the manipulation on the value of the dependent variable (response) is measured and analyzed. In addition, good experimental research is designed to control as much as possible the effects of extraneous and intervening variables, often by the use of control groups. Experimental research can be performed in the laboratory, through simulations, or through the manipulation of variables in field experiments. These approaches to experimental research allow the design of increasingly more realistic experimental paradigms but give the researcher decreasing control over the experimental situation. In addition to being concerned over designing an experiment that will collect uncontaminated data that can be meaningfully analyzed using inferential statistics, researchers using human subjects also need to be concerned about ethical considerations of the effects of their experiment on its subjects.