Examine Use of Experiments Essay

614 WordsOct 13, 20143 Pages
Examine the reasons why some sociologists choose not to use experiments when conducting research (20 marks) In scientific research, an experiment is a method of investigating causal relationships among variables, or to test a hypothesis. The ability of Establishing this relationship is why some sociologists, such as positivists, favour this method of research. There are three types of experimental methods that sociologists may use in their research, Firstly, sociologists use laboratory experiments. Once a Laboratory experiment has been conducted other scientists can replicate it. This makes laboratory experiments highly reliable as they are replicable. The laboratory experiment has major advantages as the method can be used to establish cause and effect relationships. For this reasons positivist sociologists use laboratory experiments as they favour a more scientific method. Positivist sociologists however also acknowledge the short comings of laboratory experiments, such as, it is often impossible or unethical to control the variables. Also their small scale means that results may not be representative or generalisable to the wider population. On the other hand interpretivists reject the laboratory experiments because it fails to achieve their main goal of validity. It is an artificial environment producing unnatural behavior. Drifting away from the advantages, There are various practical problems with laboratory experiments. Society is very complex and in practice it would be impossible to control variables that may influence a situation. Therefore although the ability to control variables in laboratory conditions may be seen as a positive/ advantageous, it on the other hand produces a completely artificial environment which would likely never take place in reality. In this sense field experiments would be a better experimental method as favoured by
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