Experimental research – Definition, types of designs and advantages

Experimental research


Experimental research is research conducted with a scientific approach using two sets of variables. The first set acts as a constant, which you use to measure the differences of the second set. Quantitative research methods, for example, are experimental.

If you don’t have enough data to support your decisions, you must first determine the facts. Experimental research gathers the data necessary to help you make better decisions.

Any research conducted under scientifically acceptable conditions uses experimental methods. The success of experimental studies hinges on researchers confirming the change of a variable is based solely on the manipulation of the constant variable. The research should establish a notable cause and effect.

You can conduct experimental research in the following situations:

  • Time is a vital factor in establishing a relationship between cause and effect.
  • Invariable behavior between cause and effect.
  • You wish to understand the importance of the cause and effect.

Learn about: Quantitative Market Research

Types of experimental research design

The classic experimental design definition is, “The methods used to collect data in experimental studies.”

There are three primary types of experimental design:

The way you classify research subjects, based on conditions or groups, determines the type of research design you should use.

1. Pre-experimental research design: A group, or various groups, are kept under observation after implementing factors of cause and effect. You’ll conduct this research to understand whether further investigation is necessary for these particular groups.

You can break down pre-experimental research further in three types:

  • One-shot Case Study Research Design
  • One-group Pretest-posttest Research Design
  • Static-group Comparison

2. True experimental research design: True experimental research relies on statistical analysis to prove or disprove a hypothesis, making it the most accurate form of research. Of the types of experimental design, only true design can establish a cause-effect relationship within a group. In a true experiment, three factors need to be satisfied:

  • There is a Control Group, which won’t be subject to changes, and an Experimental Group, which will experience the changed variables.
  • A variable which can be manipulated by the researcher
  • Random distribution

This experimental research method commonly occurs in the physical sciences.

3. Quasi-experimental research design: The word “Quasi” indicates similarity. A quasi-experimental design is similar to experimental, but it is not the same. The difference between the two is the assignment of a control group. In this research, an independent variable is manipulated, but the participants of a group are not randomly assigned. Quasi-research is used in field settings where random assignment is either irrelevant or not required.

Learn about: Market research

Advantages of experimental research

It’s vital to test new ideas or theories. Why put time, effort, and funding into something that may not work?

Experimental research allows you to test your idea in a controlled environment before taking it to market. It also provides the best method to test your theory, thanks to the following advantages:

Advantages of experimental research

  • Researchers have a stronger hold over variables to obtain desired results.
  • The subject or industry does not impact the effectiveness of experimental research. Any industry can implement it for research purposes.
  • The results are specific.
  • After analyzing the results, you can apply your findings to similar ideas or situations.
  • You can identify the cause and effect of a hypothesis. Researchers can further analyze this relationship to determine more in-depth ideas.
  • Experimental research makes an ideal starting point. The data you collect is a foundation on which to build more ideas and conduct more action research.

Whether you want to know how the public will react to a new product or if a certain food increases the chance of disease, experimental research is the best place to start. Begin your research by finding subjects using QuestionPro Audience and other tools today.