Week 2 experimental design vs non experimental design

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Week 2 Experimental vs non experimental design


A non-experimental research design is often called a correlational design. Non-experimental designs allow the researcher to determine if a variable tends to occur in significant proportion with another variable.

Advantages of a non-experimental study design

Non-experimental designs are often easy to implement because the research does not have to manipulate any of the variables or conditions of the study. Unfortunately, non-experimental study designs are a good choice for field and exploratory research where the relationships among variables are unknown or need to occur freely without manipulation.

Disadvantages of a non-experimental study design

What gives non-experimental designs its advantages actually contributes to its disadvantages. Since they are easy to conduct, many researchers do not put enough effort into the research for what has already been done on the subject and often conduct non-experimental research on a whim.


Experimental designs represent true experiments where the researcher manipulates some variable, condition, or treatment in the design to isolate and better observe dependent variables.

Advantages of an experimental study design

One of the most important advantages of using an experimental study design has to do with establishing causation. Conducted correctly, the researcher can establish or suggest causation rather than just correlation between and among variables in the study

Disadvantages of an experimental study design

By nature of the manipulation of a variable, condition, or treatment embedded in experimental designs, researchers lose external validity. External validity is concerned with the degree to which experimental conditions mirror the real world. Too much artificial manipulation of a variable in experimental research may make replication of the relationships among variables possible only in a lab.


Garger, J. (2012). Experimental vs. Non-Experiment Study Designs. Retrieved from http://www.brighthub.com/education/postgraduate/articles/80220.aspx

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