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Comparison between Lab and Field Experiments (Essay Sample)


Compare and contrast lab and field experiments ( identify potential advantages and disadvantages of each). Also, describe a hypothetical example of each type. By hypothetical, I mean a study that you imagine or develop the idea for.


Comparison between Lab and Field Experiments

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Comparison between Lab and Field Experiments

Experiments are the main source of inquiry when it comes to science. Through experiments, scientists can prove their hypothesis by conducting tests, taking careful measurements and establishing the relationship between cause and effect. Experiments involve manipulating an independent variable and measuring the dependent variable while controlling any extraneous variable. The main reason why experiments are relied upon by scientists is that the results are not affected by the opinions of the scientists. Laboratory experiments are conducted in an environment that is well-controlled so as to obtain accurate measures (McLeod, 2012). However, they do not necessarily need to be conducted in a laboratory. When conducting lab experiments, the researcher decides when the experiment will take place, the procedure for carrying out the experiment, the number of participants and the time of experimenting. Field experiments are carried out in a real-life environment (McLeod, 2012). This means that the researcher can only control the independent variable to a certain degree since they do not have control of the environment.


Laboratory and field experiments have several factors in common. In both experiments, the researcher is required to manipulate the independent variables to measure the dependent variable. As a result of this, both types of experiments share similar advantages such as control and aforementioned casualty, as well as disadvantages such as raising ethical issues, which might include harming the participants and having a limited number of locations to conduct the research.
Laboratory and field experiments are also similar in the sense that they are both useful in determining cause and effect since experiments are the only means by which causality can accurately be produced. More so, the two experiment types have the potential of having high internal validity since the control over confounding variables are high.


Aside from the similarities, lab and field experiments also differ in one way or another. For example, when conducting laboratory experiments, the researcher can easily repeat measures, which makes it easier to control participant variables as compared to field experiments. In field experiments, the participants are randomly chosen, which makes it difficult for the

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