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

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Introduction

´╗┐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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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.

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