All there is to know about Experimental Design Survey

All there is to know about Experimental Design

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The research design involves methodology and procedure for collecting and analyzing data in a research study. Experimental design is the method to plan research so that you gather objective and valid results. It is the process of conducting research in a controlled fashion in order to ensure maximum precision.

What is Experimental Design?

All there is to know about Experimental Design Survey

Experimental Design is the common research design type, often used interchangeably with Design of Experiment. The research design is generally used in science fields, such as industrial, medical, computer, social, and other science. 

Experimental Design involves establishing principles and rules for an experiment. The focus is on designing the experiment so that you gather appropriate data and the analysis of the data will give you valid inference about the subject of the research. 

Experimental Research: involves manipulating one (or more) independent variables and applying it to one (or more) dependent variables to gauge its effect on the dependent variable. The experiment helps researchers draw a conclusion about the relationship between the independent and dependent variables. 

Experimental Research Design is an example of a quantitative research method because it involves gathering quantitative data and conducting statistical analysis for the research purpose.

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What is the purpose of Experimental Design?

There are three major purposes fulfilled by Experimental design: 

  • Experimental design is used to establish the effect an independent variable has on a dependent variable. An experimental design helps a researcher to objectively analyze the relationship between variables, thus increasing the accuracy of the result. 
  • Experimental design serves the purpose of collecting the maximum volume of relevant and required data for the subject of the research, at minimum resource spend. It is an efficient method to minimize the number of experiments and gather the maximum amount of appropriate data. 
  • Experimental design enables the researchers to evaluate the variables/ factors that affect the system by using statistical analysis. 

What makes Experimental Design unique?

  • Among research designs, Experimental Design is considered to be the most meticulous research design of all. The Design of Experiment has a unique strength that makes it the perfect or as it’s known as the ‘gold-standard in research design. 
  • Experimental Research enables the researcher to test the cause-effect relationship by manipulating the independent variables. 
  • It is the only form of research that involves influencing a particular variable. 
  • You can use it for research that involves a well defined and limited set of independent variables which you can manipulate or control. 
  • You can conduct Experimental research in the field as well as laboratory settings. 
  • Treatment manipulation is a unique feature of experimental research. A treatment manipulation helps you to control the ‘cause’ in the cause and effect relationship. 

What are the major characteristics of Experimental Research?

  • Experimental Design consists of – dependent, independent, and extraneous variables. 
    • Dependent variables: can be manipulated and are also called the subject of research. 
    • Independent variables: are used to determine their effect on the dependent variable by exerting it on the latter. 
    • Extraneous variables: are the factors that affect the research and may also cause the change.
  • The Researcher can deliberately manipulate the independent variable – what form it takes and which group will get which form. 
  • Experimental research design allows the researcher to learn beyond description and prediction. It allows you to determine the cause-effect relationship on the subject under consideration. 
  • Experimental research design may also contain multiple independent variables.
  • The choice of setting for Experimental Research Design depends on the nature of the experiment you wish to carry out. As mentioned, experimental research can be conducted in a laboratory and field. 
    • In a laboratory setting, you can control extraneous variables and hence eliminate them.
    • A field study is a less controllable setting.

What are the Types of Experimental Design?

All there is to know about Experimental Design Survey

These are the three types of Experimental Research designs used by researchers. 

Pre-experimental Research Design

The methodology of Pre-experimental Research Design involves monitoring dependent groups to see the effect of independent variables and the changes caused. In the research, one or more groups are observed after a treatment is applied. The purpose is to test whether the applied treatment causes any potential change. 

Pre-experimental Research Design is divided into three different designs: 

One-shot Case Study Research Design: For this method, only one dependent variable is taken under consideration. It is called a posttest study; the study is run after the treatment is presumed to have caused changes. 

One-group Pretest-posttest Research Design: This experiment merges both posttest and pretest study. The research is run on a single variable or group before as well as after the treatment is administered. 

Static-group Comparison: Two or more groups are monitored. The treatment is exerted in one of the groups while the other one is held static. The groups involved are post-tested. The differences between the groups are considered as the result of the applied treatment. 

Features of Pre-experimental Design:

  • Independent variables can be manipulated
  • The researcher has limited control over the extraneous variables
  • Absence of randomization and control groups

Quasi-Experimental Research Design

Quasi-experimental research design is partially similar to True Experimental research. In the research, the participants are not randomly selected. The subjects for the experiment are assigned based on non-random criteria. 

The experiment is used for research settings where randomization is not possible. The researcher has no control over the treatment. It also does not require any control group.

Features of Quasi-Experimental Design:

  • Manipulation of independent groups/variables
  • No randomization or control group

True Experimental Research Design

A True Experiment involves statistical analysis in order to approve or disapprove the subject/ hypothesis of the experiment. The experiment can be conducted with or without a pretest and on at least two dependent variables randomly assigned. 

For a True Experimental Research Design you need – a control group, variable (can be manipulated), and random distribution. 

True Experiment is classified into three designs: 

The posttest-only control group design: In this classification, subjects are selected randomly and assigned to the control & experimental group. Both the groups are post-tested to draw a conclusion from the difference between the groups.

Pretest-posttest control group design: In this design, the subjects are assigned to 2 groups. However, the experimental group is the only one treated. Both groups are monitored are post-tested to examine the change in both groups. 

Solomon four-group design: This research design is the combination of two control groups Pretest-only & the Pretest-posttest control groups. For this design, the subjects are selected randomly and assigned into 4 groups. 

  • Posttest-only design is used in the first two groups. The Pretest-posttest design is used to test the other two groups. 

Features of True Experimental Design:

  • Manipulation of independent variables
  • Presence of both randomization and control groups
  • Researcher designs the treatment

Examples of the three types of Experimental Research Design

Pre-experimental Research Design Example: 

For pre-experimental research, you run a carryout test at the end of a semester on a class of college students. The students are the dependent variables since they are being administered at the semester-end. The professors are the independent variables of the experiment. 

The research is an example of pre-experiment because only one group of students are considered for the research, and they are carefully selected. 

Quasi-experimental Research Design: 

Let’s say two baseball coaches are training their players in two completely opposite ways. One coach is training the first string players in traditional ways, the other coach is using new training programs of various countries to train the second string players. 

You use the pre-existing group of baseball players to study the effect of the traditional training program versus the new training programs on the students. 

When you properly look for the systematic difference between the first and the second string player you can be confident that different results will arise from the two training programs. 

True Experimental Research Design:

To run your true experimental research you assign half of your patients to intermittent fasting for diet. The other half (control group) are subjected to a regular diet. 

Every three months you have the patients fill out a report describing any symptoms or progress to evaluate if the intermittent fasting produces a better or worse effect on the patients.

What are the principles of Experimental Design?

There are three principles, as explained by R.A. Fisher, of Experimental Design:

Replication

Replication involves repetition of the basic experiment. The principle is that even when the same treatment is used in other experiments, the output would differ. Replication in experimental design helps to study the variation in the yield of different experiments. 

“r” refers to a number of replicates which implies the no. of experimental units per treatment. 

Randomization

Randomization involves distributing the treatment to different experimental units using probability. This ensures that each experimental unit is likely to receive the treatments. Randomization eliminates the probability of bias from the result of the experimental research design. 

Local Control

Local control is the method to control the error variation and thus reducing the error by arranging the experimental units. The value of a variable is kept constant to keep it from affecting the conclusion of the experiment. 

How to reduce errors in Experimental Design?

Experimental Control: helps to predict events that may occur in the experimental design. The process neutralizes the effects of the variables involved. 

Physical Control: All the subjects are exposed equally to the independent variables. In this case, the non-experimental variables are controlled. 

Selective Control: The error is reduced by indirect manipulation. The variables which cannot be controlled are selected for manipulation. 

Statistical Control: In this case of control, the variables which cannot be controlled by Selective or Physical manipulation are subjected to statistical control.

How to select the Experimental Research Design best suited for your study?

There are three types of experimental research design you can use for your study. We have discussed the definition and features of each design type. To better understand which design type will fit your study we will take a look at the advantages and disadvantages each of the research design poses. 

Pre-experimental Research Design 

Advantage

  • Simple to Conduct: Pre-experimental design is simple to conduct and a suitable choice of research design for beginners. 
  • Convenient:This type of experimental design is convenient to run in the natural environment. 
  • Cost-effective: It can also be cost-effective to test if the hypothesis is worthy of further research. 

Disadvantage

  • No cause-effect relationship: The experimental design may not help establish a causal relationship between dependent and independent variables. 
  • Little Control: The researcher has little control over the experiment. 
  • No internal validity: It poses threat to internal validity

Quasi-experimental Research Design

Advantage

  • No time and logistical constraint: A quasi-experimental research design has no time and logistical constraints which makes it more feasible. 
  • Natural setting: The experimental design involves a natural setting instead of a laboratory setting, which results in higher external validity. 
  • Determine general trends: The research design can be useful in determining general trends. 
  • Reduces ethical concerns: It reduces the ethical concerns regarding pre-selection or/and randomization of subjects for the experiment.

Disadvantage

  • Less internal validity: The lack of randomization lowers the internal validity. It may become difficult to verify the confounding variables. 
  • Must follow ethical standards: The research must follow ethical standards to maintain the validity of the experiment.

True Experimental Research Design

Advantage: 

  • Establishes cause-effect relationship: This type of experimental design is most useful to establish the cause-effect relationship between dependent and independent variables. 
  • Laboratory setting: A true experiment can be conducted in a laboratory setting.
  • Researchers can create required conditions: Researchers can create conditions in a short time period that may otherwise take a longer timer to occur naturally. 
  • Enables statistical analysis: The results can also be statistically analyzed. This leaves little room for argument about results. 

Disadvantage:

  • Expensive: True experimental research design can be expensive to set up. 
  • Lack of representation to the real world: The research is performed under a controlled environment which may not be representative of natural (real world) conditions. 
  • Cannot be replicated: The study cannot be replicated in human beings due to ethical concerns.
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Steps involved in Experimental Research Design

  • The researcher must determine if the experiment addresses the purpose of the research
  • Establish a hypothesis for which you need to test the cause-effect relationship
  • Select the set of treatments for comparison and introduce them
  • Select the type of Experimental Research Design
  • Identify the participants for the study
  • Conduct the Experimental Research
  • Gather and analyze the research data
  • Develop the report of the Experimental Research Design

Why use Voxco for Experimental Design?

Voxco is leading Omnichannel survey software, trusted by the Top 50 global brands and Market Research Firms since 1976. The platform offers unparalleled flexibility and functionality to meet the requirements of every one of its clients. 

Voxco provides functionalities that help an organization to reduce the effort and conduct their research however they like. The platform offers all the tools you need at your disposal.

  • Engaging questionnaires 
  • Quality survey features: automatic device detection, multi-language capabilities, and pause-resume function.
  • Distribution through high-traffic online channels – social media, SMS, email, and website to ensure maximum reach.
  • Personalized invitations and reminders by using respondent’s information from the database to ensure the validity of eligible respondents.
  • Anonymous and protected surveys 
  • Voxco panel manager: ensure active surveying and managing targeted panelists
  • Real-time participation results 
  • Easy creation of cross tabs with data set management, filtering, and sorting options.
  • Compatible with all data formats. 
  • Automatic application of appropriate statistical tests depending on the type of data. 
  • Advanced analytics functions.

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