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.
On the other hand, Positivists may prefer to use experiments when conducting their research. Positivists like to think that sociology is like science. Experiments tend to be scientific as they are normally controlled and they are usually replicable, which makes them more reliable than other research methods such as interviews and observations, so positivists may choose to use them. Experiments are also objective and since positivists see society as a large-scale (macro-scale) structure that shapes our behaviour, they are more likely to use experiments when conducting their research.