Examine the Reasons Why the Sociologists Rarely Use Experiments as a Method in Research

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Examine the reasons why the sociologists rarely use experiments as a method in research The two experimental methods used by Sociologists are the Laboratory experiment and the Field experiment. The Laboratory experiment consists of controlled conditions in an artificial setting and it is used to establish the cause and effect between two or more variables. The sociologist would take a sample from the target population and would divide them into two groups: the experimental group and the control group. The other experimental method is the Field experiment, this consists of a natural environment for the subject and the subjects are generally not aware that they are part of an experiment. It is also used to establish cause and effect but in a different way to the Laboratory experiment. Positivists would favour the Laboratory experiment because it takes a scientific approach and produces quantitative data, which is usually numerical and can be obtained by using Official Statistics and Social Surveys. The Laboratory experiment is also very reliable because another sociologist using the same method can produce the same results. The results can be generalized and they use it to seek patterns of behaviour and not the meaning behind it. Whereas Interpretivists would favour the Field experiment because it doesn’t not take a scientific approach and concentrates on producing qualitative data – information that can be captured that isn’t numerical, can be obtained by getting in depth information on someone’s thoughts, feelings, motivations, attitudes and values through participant observation, unstructured interviews, diaries and letters – they give an insight on what other people are actually feeling and what it is like to be in their shoes. With the Laboratory experiment there are practical and ethical issues. In practice it would be impossible to identify and
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