What Is an Experimental Study and How to Use It in the Paper

There are a lot of studies or research designs in other words. They depend on the way of acquiring and analyzing information mostly. Some of them belong to definite sciences, and others can be used everywhere. One of them is called an experimental study, or design. In order to use it in a paper, you have to learn what is an experimental study first.

An experimental study is a design where a researcher can control and interact with participants. Usually, the experiment divides the participants into two groups – the control and the treatment. The treatment group shows the changes and the control group is present for the further comparison.

It is the shortest experimental study definition. Every experimental study, despite its type and utility, contains four elements:

  • Manipulation – this is a change or manipulation of the researched variable. The research study requires clear and eligible algorithms.
  • Control – it is the preservation of a group from the external factors. It is an insurance for the fact that the information of the experiment will be acquired only from the defined manipulations performed by a researcher.
  • Random Assignment – this is an essence of all accurate experimental designs. It means that every participant has got an equal chance to get to each group – control or treatment.
  • Random Selection – this is another cornerstone of a true experiment. It is an unbiased selection of the participants from a larger group of people. That ensures that a small group will equally and truthfully represent the larger group of people or subjects.

Meaning of Experimental Design and Approaches

The experimental studies have got many subtypes that depend on various measures. We will take a look at four different types that depend on the level and time of treatment of participants:

  • Post-Test Only Design. Here a researcher has got only two groups of participants – an experimental one and a control one. The groups are not affected before the experiment. The treatment is applied to the experimental group, and the post-test is performed upon both groups to find out the effects laid by the experiment.
  • Solomon Four Groups Design. The participants here are separated into from one to four groups. Two groups are experimental, and two are control. Two groups will receive the pre-test. All groups will receive the post-test. This group is aimed to compare independent and dependent effects.
  • Pretests-Post-Test Design. In this case, there are two groups with an independent variety. The manipulations are performed in the experimental group, and both of them get the post-test.
  • Factorial study. The researcher operates with two or more variables and watches how they affect things. This study allows testing multiple hypotheses on one group.

The definition of an experiment – this is a scientific or quasi-scientific procedure that is aimed to validate or confirm the hypothesis. That is a way to observe the subject from the cause-and-effect perspective. There are three types of experiments: neutral, field and controlled ones.

Experimental Studies in Comparison with Other Research Designs

The experimental study is used in various sciences. It is considered the most reliable and scientific study among others. However, other studies still have got a right to live, as they can provide relevant statistical information as well. In order to understand this subject better, let's uncover some additional features of the experimental studies in comparison with other well-spread designs.

Experimental vs Correlational Study Overview

The experimental study implies manipulation caused by the researcher to observe how variables can affect the participants. In the correlational studies, the connection and correspondence between two variables are usually observed. If we take the experimental vs correlational study, in the second one the participants already affected by a variable typically participate.

Experimental vs Observational Study Comparison

This comparison seems to be the toughest and the oldest one. The observational study does not imply any manipulation caused to the participants. The researcher can acquire information using only observation and description. The experimental vs observational study competition usually reveals itself in measuring the ethical level of experiments applied.

Quasi-Experimental Study – the Definition

Along with a true experimental study a quasi-experimental design can take place. In this case, the experiment lacks one or several key elements described before. In the quasi-experimental study, the participants can be picked or manipulated selectively, according to researchers’ needs.