Describe What Is Involved in the Experimental Method as It Is Used in Psychology and Its Limitations

Topics: Experiment, Scientific method, Experimental design Pages: 4 (1093 words) Published: October 26, 2007
In psychology, the experimental method involves the manipulation of some aspect of a situation, and observing the effects this has on a particular behavior. In technical terms, the former is the independent variable (IV), and the latter the dependant variable (DV). Only the investigations which involve the manipulation of the independent variables is part of the experimental method. Basically, in other words, we can say that experimental method is the type of research which involves the investigation of the relationship between two (or more) factors by deliberately intervening one factor in a situation and observing the effects of that modification on other aspects of the situation. Examples of variables that can be used, manipulated and controlled in experimental method are: Behaviors, events or other characteristics that can change or vary in some way. By employing both experimental and control groups in an experiment, investigators are enabled to rule out the possibility that something other than the experimental manipulation produced the results observed during the experiment. This type of research can be broadly divided into three main types: The Laboratory Experiment, The Field Experiment and The Natural Experiment.

In a laboratory experiment, there is a systematic variation of the independent variables while other irrelevant variables are kept constant. The basis of a laboratory experiment is the use of control. The researcher attempts to eliminate or control other variable that might intervene with the purity or accuracy of the experimental relationship between the IV and the DV. Due to the control of extraneous variation in a laboratory experiment, it becomes very helpful for the experimenter to draw conclusions about the influence of IV. By carrying out the investigation in the laboratory, it enables the experimenter to measure behavior with a greater accuracy and precision than would be possible in the natural environment. This method of research is...
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