Strengths and Weaknesses of Experiments
The major advantage of the controlled experiment is the researcher’s control over the environment and the ability to isolate the experimental variable. Because many experiments require relatively little time and money and can be conducted with limited numbers of subjects, it is possible for researchers to replicate an experiment several times by using different groups of subjects. Replication strengthens claims about the validity and generalization of the original research findings (Babble, 2004). Perhaps the greatest limitation of experiments is that they are artificial. Social processes that occur in a laboratory selling often do not occur in the same way in real-life settings. For example, social scientists frequently on volunteer captive audiences. As a result, the subjects 01″ most experiments may not be representative of a large population, and the findings cannot be generalized to other groups. Experiments have several other limitations. First, the rigid control and manipulation of variables demanded by experiments do not allow for a more communal approach to data gathering. Second. biases can influence each of the stages in an experiment, and research subjects may-become the objects of sex/class/race biases. Third, the unnatural characteristics of laboratory experiments and of group competition in such settings have a negative effect on subjects (Reinharz, 1992).