• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Examine the reasons why some sociologists choose not to use experiments when conducting their research

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐Examine the reasons why some sociologists choose not to use experiments when conducting their research An experiment is a method of testing, usually with the goal of explaining or establishing the validity of a hypothesis. A lab experiment is a test that is carried out in controlled conditions in an artificial setting. A field experiment, by contrast, is carried out in a natural setting such as in a classroom. One reason as to why some sociologists may choose not to use experiments when conducting their research may be because of the fact that they are from an interpretivist background. Interpretivists focus on small-scale (micro) interactions between individuals and groups and they focus on how we construct our social worlds through the meanings we create and attach to events, actions and situations. They tend to favour research methods such as interviews and observations rather than experiments because interviews and observations produce qualitative data, which makes the results more valid, whilst experiments are more likely to produce quantitative data. ...read more.


It can be said that field experiments can be cheaper than lab experiments, but they can also be time consuming. Some sociologists may choose not to use field experiments as they may have a limited time period of which they can use to conduct their research- if they did use a field experiment then this may mean that they may not be able to finish their research on time. Also, positivists may decide not use field experiments because they may argue that if they had to replicate a study that they did, it would take a rather long time for the same or similar event to occur again. For example, if they carried out a study on an event that only takes place on a Saturday, they would have to wait until the following Saturday for them to do the study again. This may be an issue for the research, especially if they have used a lot of participants in their study because there is a possibility of attrition, where participants drop ...read more.


Some sociologists may not want to use field experiments as they may feel that it would be rather hard to get consent from the participants. However, other sociologists may choose to use field experiments when conducting their research because they may argue that they would still be able to carry out the study without the participants knowing, but then at the end they could debrief the participants- they may choose to do this because they may feel that if they did tell the participants about the nature of the study before they conducted the research, the participants may refuse to take part in the research. There is no doubt that there are many factors that could influence a sociologist?s choice to either use an experiment or not when conducting their research. The type of sociologist (i.e. whether they are positivists or Interpretivists) could influence the type of research method they would use. Also other factors such as ethical issues and practical issues could also influence the researcher?s choice to either use experiments or not when conducting a research. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Sociological Differentiation & Stratification section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Sociological Differentiation & Stratification essays

  1. Examine the ways in which practical, ethical and theoretical factors may influence a sociologists ...

    Zimbardo's experiment on the effects of prison on the behaviour or guards and prisoners. Interpretivists however believe the opposite; that society cannot be studied scientifically and shouldn't because it is far too complex to show clear cause and effect relationships and cannot explain individual motives and emotions.

  2. Free essay

    Examine the reasons why some sociologists choose not to use experiments when conducting research

    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

  1. Demography topic revision notes. The study of populations and their characteristics is called ...

    It can be internal, within a society, or international. * Immigration refers to movement into an area or society. * Emigration refers to movement out. * Net migration is the difference between the numbers immigrating and the numbers emigrating, and is expressed as a net increase or net decrease due to migration.

  2. Social research

    The study was called "Research centre on micro-social change. Prices, parents, and young people's household formation." Ermisch used panel data from the first half of the 1990's. This is qualitative data but the research uses qualitative data too through interviews with young adults from 16 and above.

  1. Examine the reasons why sociologists choose to use secondary sources when conducting research.

    It would also be more time consuming especially if the study was dragged out over a long period of time. Secondary data can be much easier to access and no cost would be bared in the sociologist's hands as someone else has done a lot of the work for them.


    Reliability also means using standardised forms of measurement. A reliable method creates data that can be used to systematically re-test hypotheses about social behaviour.

  1. Experimental methods are of little use to sociologists. Discuss

    However, Interpretivists reject the idea that sociology can have a scientific approach because they argue that the use of qualitative data to interpret social action, with an

  2. Assess the factors that influence a sociologists choice of research method.

    Random sampling involves selecting individuals randomly e.g. selecting every 10th person on a list. Stratified random sampling divides the population into strata. These strata are based on significant variables e.g. social class, gender, and ethnicity. Samples are then randomly drawn from each stratum, and then combined to form the final sample.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work