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Differences Between Experimental and Non-experimental Research Designs

Differences Between Experimental and Non-experimental Research Designs

Differences Between Experimental and Non-experimental Research Designs

Experimental research is a type of study in which one or more control variables related to the research issue are experimentally altered, and the resulting impact is evaluated. Three kinds of experimental studies exist: quasi-experimental research, actual experimental studies, and pre-experimental research study.`(Price, Jhangiani & Chiang, 2016). Quasi-experimental designs include combination designs, pretest-posttest designs, nonequivalent group designs, and discontinuous time-series designs. A study whereby the controls or independent variables are still not modified is considered non-experimental research. Researchers calculate variables in non-experimental studies precisely as they occur naturally. There are three categories of non-experimental research: observational, cross-sectional, and correlational (Thompson & Panacek, 2007).

There are several distinctions distinguishing experimental and non-experimental study design. First, while experimental research is more susceptible to human error than non-experimental research, the fundamental problem of non-experimental research is that it cannot provide consistent, error-free findings (Price, Jhangiani & Chiang, 2016). Eventually, human error-induced inaccuracy will affect experimental outcomes. Second, while non-experimental research is frequently used to characterize topics, evaluate data patterns, compare situations, and confirm present circumstances, experimental research is frequently utilized to develop scientific achievements and uncover substantial answers to issues. Third, experimental examination elucidates the variables’ sources and consequences. Non-experimental research provides little, if any, information on causal agents. Experimental testing answers the question of why certain events occur (Price, Jhangiani & Chiang, 2016). This is in stark contrast to non-experimental research, which is more descriptive and aims to define. Lastly, the experimental research study is regulated, quantitative, and multivariate, but non-experimental research, which includes an uncontrolled variable and a cross-sectional study question, may be quantitative or qualitative (Price, Jhangiani & Chiang, 2016).

Research may fall under the experimental research design or the non-experimental research design. An example of an Experimental research design would be research to determine the effect of Prednisolone on pregnant women and infants. An example of a non-experimental research design example would be research to determine the risk factors disposing women to breast cancer.


Price, P., Jhangiani, R., & Chiang, C. (2016). Research Methods in Psychology (4th ed.).

Thompson, C., & Panacek, E. (2007). Research study designs: Non-experimental. Air Medical Journal, 26(1), 18-22. doi: 10.1016/j.amj.2006.10.003


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Compare the differences between experimental and nonexperimental research designs.

Differences Between Experimental and Non-experimental Research Designs

Differences Between Experimental and Non-experimental Research Designs

Give an example of each type of design.

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