Distinguishing Between Experimental & Observational Studies

What is Experimental Study?

An experimental study is a type of research where the investigator has control over most of the variables. These studies typically occur in a specific setting, such as a laboratory, where the researcher can manipulate the variables. Although experimental studies are mainly conducted in the natural sciences, they can also be carried out in the social sciences. However, controlling variables in the social sciences can be more challenging, as researchers deal with human beings.

What is Observational Study?

An observational study is a type of research where the researcher merely observes the subject without controlling any variables. These studies are primarily used in the social sciences to understand human behavior, although they can also be conducted in the natural sciences to comprehend behavioral patterns. There are two main research techniques for observational studies: natural observation and participant observation. The researcher must be cautious when conducting observational studies, as human behavior can change when people are aware of being observed.

Key Takeaways

  • Experimental studies allow researchers to control and manipulate variables, while observational studies involve merely observing subjects without controlling any variables.
  • Experimental studies are mainly conducted in the natural sciences, while observational studies are typically used in the social sciences.
  • Both experimental and observational studies have their advantages and disadvantages, and are only suitable for specific settings and research purposes.
Maria Nguyen
Maria Nguyen
Maria Nguyen is a talented writer with a flair for developing captivating content in a range of formats. Her commitment to thorough research and producing top-notch material has contributed to over 4 years of professional writing and editing experience. Outside of work, Maria finds pleasure in solitary activities and immersing herself in nature. Her introspective nature and passion for self-reflection inspire her creativity. She believes that spending time alone and observing the natural world can provide valuable insights and foster personal growth, broadening her perspective as a writer.


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