Experiments Flashcards Preview

Sociology AS Level > Experiments > Flashcards

Flashcards in Experiments Deck (22)
Loading flashcards...

What are the 3 types of experiments?



What is a lab experiment?

Participants are volunteers invited along to the experimenters chosen setting (an artificially created environment)


Give 3 advantages of lab experiments

-high control over variables
-measurements (the relationship between IV and DV


Give 3 disadvantages of lab experiments

-ecological validity (do not reflect behaviour in real life)
-ethical issues (experiments on people)


Why is a lab experiment reliable?

The original experiment can specify precisely what steps were followed in the original experiment so other researchers can repeat these in future
-it is a very detached method : the researcher merely manipulates the variables and records the results. The scientists personal feelings and opinions have no effect on the conduct or outcome of the experiment


What can lab experiments identify?

Cause and effect relationships in natural sciences


Who would prefer to use lab experiments? Positivists or interpretivists?

Positivists because they favour a scientific approach


What are 4 issues with lab experiments?

-practical problems
-ethical problems
-the Hawthorne effect
-free will


Why do lab experiments have practical problems?

-in practice, it would be impossible to control all variables
-cannot be used to study the past
-usually only study small scales - reducing the representativeness


What are the 3 ethical issues with using lab experiments?

Lack of informed consent
Harm to participants


Why is lack of informed consent a ethical issue with lab experiments?

Difficult to obtain from certain groups such as children or people with learning difficulties who may be unable to understand the nature and purpose of the experiment


Why is deception an ethical issue when using lab experiments?

It is wrong to mislead people as to the nature of the experiment (Stanley milgrams authority experiment)


Why is harm to participants an ethical issue whilst using lab experiments?

Participants may be harmed physically, or mentally during an experiment however they shouldn't be harmed during an experiment as it is ethically wrong


Why does the Hawthorne effect occur when using lab experiments?

Because a lab is not a natural or normal environment. It is therefore likely that any behaviour in these conditions is also unnatural or artificial- produces invalid results


Why is free will an ethical issue when using lab experiments?

Interpretivists argue that humans are fundamentally different from plants, rocks, and other phenomena studied by natural scientists.
Humans have free will, consciousness and choice meaning our behaviour cannot be explained through cause and effect


How do you distinguish a field experiment?

-it takes place in a subjects natural environment
-those involved generally are not aware that they are being studied


Give an example of a field experiment

Rosenhans 1963 'pseudo-patient' experiment, researcher presented themselves at 12 California mental hospitals, saying they were hearing voices. Each were admitted and diagnosed with schizophrenia


Give an evaluation of Rosenhans field study

Shows the value of field experiments. They are more 'natural', valid and realistic, and they avoid the artificiality of lab experiments.
However, the more realistic we make the situation, the less control we have over variables. We cannot be certain that the causes we have identified are the correct ones


Describe the comparative method

Carried out in the mind of the sociologist. It is a 'though experiment' and it does not involve the researcher actually experimenting on real people at all. It is also designed to identify cause and effect relationships


How does the comparative method work?

Step 1: identify 2 groups of people that are alike in all major respects except the one variable we are interested in
Step 2: then compare the 2 groups to see if this one difference between them has any effect


Give an example of the comparative method

Emile Durkheims classic study on suicide (1897)
-compared suicide rates of Catholics and Protestants who were similar in all other important respects.


Give an evaluation of Durkheims suicide study

In seeking to discover cause and effect relationships, the comparative method has 3 advantages:
-avoids artificiality
-can be used to study past events
-no ethical issues

Less control over variables- less certain whether a thought experiment really discovers the cause of something