The Experimental Method: Types of Experiments

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  • Created on: 01-06-22 13:13
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  • The Experimental Method
    • Laboratory
      • Conducted in a highly controlled environment where the effects of other, extraneous variables are controlled by either removing them or keeping them constant. IV is manipulated by the experimenter
      • STRENGTH
        • Easier to replicate – so other researchers can see if they obtain same results to check reliability.
        • Allow for the precise control of variables so that cause and affect can be assumed which means the experiment has high internal validity.
      • WEAKNESS
        • High level of control may make situation very artificial, this makes it difficult to generalise from lab to other settings and reduces ecological validity.
        • People may behave differently in lab to way behave in normal lives ( demand characteristics) which reduces  internal validity.
    • Field
      • Carried out in a real world setting. IV is manipulated by the experimenter
      • STRENGTH
        • Higher ecological validity because they are conducted in natural environments so the findings can be generalised to other similar settings.
        • Ppts are less likely to show demand characteristics because they are usually unaware that they are taking part in an experiment so are more likely to behave in a typical way.
      • WEAKNESS
        • Less control over extraneous variables, this decreases the validity of the study and researchers cannot be as confident that it is the IV that is affecting the DV which means the experiment has low internal validity.
        • Ethical issues such as deception as participants are often unaware that they are part of a study.
    • Natural
      • The researcher does not manipulate the IV so there is no random allocation to groups. Instead the researcher makes use of a naturally occurring IV.
      • STRENGTH
        • Enables us to research behaviours that could not be investigated experimentally, where it is not practical or ethical to manipulate the IV 
        • May have higher external validity because it involves the study of real life issues and problems as they happen
      • WEAKNESS
        • A naturally occurring event may only happen very rarely, reducing opportunities for research. This may also limit the scope for generalising the findings to other situations.  
        • Control over extraneous variables is impossible so cause and effect cannot be assumed making internal validity low.
    • Quasi
      • Have an IV that is based on an existing difference between people, such as age or gender. We cannot manipulate these variables and we cannot randomly allocate ppts to conditions. Usually conducted in controlled conditions  
      • STRENGTH
        • Allows the study of variables that are impossible to manipulate.
        • Often carried out in lab setting therefore allows for the precise control of variables – can draw cause and effect conclusions.
      • WEAKNESS
        • It is not possible to randomly allocate participants to conditions and therefore there is a higher risk of confounding variables. 


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