17 Advantages and Disadvantages of Experimental Research Method in Psychology

There are numerous research methods used to determine if theories, ideas, or even products have validity in a market or community. One of the most common options utilized today is experimental research. Its popularity is due to the fact that it becomes possible to take complete control over a single variable while conducting the research efforts. This process makes it possible to manipulate the other variables involved to determine the validity of an idea or the value of what is being proposed.

Outcomes through experimental research come through a process of administration and monitoring. This structure makes it possible for researchers to determine the genuine impact of what is under observation. It is a process which creates outcomes with a high degree of accuracy in almost any field.

The conclusion can then offer a final value potential to consider, making it possible to know if a continued pursuit of the information is profitable in some way.

The pros and cons of experimental research show that this process is highly efficient, creating data points for evaluation with speed and regularity. It is also an option that can be manipulated easily when researchers want their work to draw specific conclusions.

List of the Pros of Experimental Research

1. Experimental research offers the highest levels of control.
The procedures involved with experimental research make it possible to isolate specific variables within virtually any topic. This advantage makes it possible to determine if outcomes are viable. Variables are controllable on their own or in combination with others to determine what can happen when each scenario is brought to a conclusion. It is a benefit which applies to ideas, theories, and products, offering a significant advantage when accurate results or metrics are necessary for progress.

2. Experimental research is useful in every industry and subject.
Since experimental research offers higher levels of control than other methods which are available, it offers results which provide higher levels of relevance and specificity. The outcomes that are possible come with superior consistency as well. It is useful in a variety of situations which can help everyone involved to see the value of their work before they must implement a series of events.

3. Experimental research replicates natural settings with significant speed benefits.
This form of research makes it possible to replicate specific environmental settings within the controls of a laboratory setting. This structure makes it possible for the experiments to replicate variables that would require a significant time investment otherwise. It is a process which gives the researchers involved an opportunity to seize significant control over the extraneous variables which may occur, creating limits on the unpredictability of elements that are unknown or unexpected when driving toward results.

4. Experimental research offers results which can occur repetitively.
The reason that experimental research is such an effective tool is that it produces a specific set of results from documented steps that anyone can follow. Researchers can duplicate the variables used during the work, then control the variables in the same way to create an exact outcome that duplicates the first one. This process makes it possible to validate scientific discoveries, understand the effectiveness of a program, or provide evidence that products address consumer pain points in beneficial ways.

5. Experimental research offers conclusions which are specific.
Thanks to the high levels of control which are available through experimental research, the results which occur through this process are usually relevant and specific. Researchers an determine failure, success, or some other specific outcome because of the data points which become available from their work. That is why it is easier to take an idea of any type to the next level with the information that becomes available through this process. There is always a need to bring an outcome to its natural conclusion during variable manipulation to collect the desired data.

6. Experimental research works with other methods too.
You can use experimental research with other methods to ensure that the data received from this process is as accurate as possible. The results that researchers obtain must be able to stand on their own for verification to have findings which are valid. This combination of factors makes it possible to become ultra-specific with the information being received through these studies while offering new ideas to other research formats simultaneously.

7. Experimental research allows for the determination of cause-and-effect.
Because researchers can manipulate variables when performing experimental research, it becomes possible to look for the different cause-and-effect relationships which may exist when pursuing a new thought. This process allows the parties involved to dig deeply into the possibilities which are present, demonstrating whatever specific benefits are possible when outcomes are reached. It is a structure which seeks to understand the specific details of each situation as a way to create results.

List of the Cons of Experimental Research

1. Experimental research suffers from the potential of human errors.
Experimental research requires those involved to maintain specific levels of variable control to create meaningful results. This process comes with a high risk of experiencing an error at some stage of the process when compared to other options that may be available. When this issue goes unnoticed as the results become transferable, the data it creates will reflect a misunderstanding of the issue under observation. It is a disadvantage which could eliminate the value of any information that develops from this process.

2. Experimental research is a time-consuming process to endure.
Experimental research must isolate each possible variable when a subject matter is being studied. Then it must conduct testing on each element under consideration until a resolution becomes possible, which then requires data collection to occur. This process must continue to repeat itself for any findings to be valid from the effort. Then combinations of variables must go through evaluation in the same manner. It is a field of research that sometimes costs more than the potential benefits or profits that are achievable when a favorable outcome is eventually reached.

3. Experimental research creates unrealistic situations that still receive validity.
The controls which are necessary when performing experimental research increase the risks of the data becoming inaccurate or corrupted over time. It will still seem authentic to the researchers involved because they may not see that a variable is an unrealistic situation. The variables can skew in a specific direction if the information shifts in a certain direction through the efforts of the researchers involved. The research environment can also be extremely different than real-life circumstances, which can invalidate the value of the findings.

4. Experimental research struggles to measure human responses.
People experience stress in uncountable ways during the average day. Personal drama, political arguments, and workplace deadlines can influence the data that researchers collect when measuring human response tendencies. What happens inside of a controlled situation is not always what happens in real-life scenarios. That is why this method is not the correct choice to use in group or individual settings where a human response requires measurement.

5. Experimental research does not always create an objective view.
Objective research is necessary for it to provide effective results. When researchers have permission to manipulate variables in whatever way they choose, then the process increases the risk of a personal bias, unconscious or otherwise, influencing the results which are eventually obtained. People can shift their focus because they become uncomfortable, are aroused by the event, or want to manipulate the results for their personal agenda. Data samples are therefore only a reflection of that one group instead of offering data across an entire demographic.

6. Experimental research can experience influences from real-time events.
The issue with human error in experimental research often involves the researchers conducting the work, but it can also impact the people being studied as well. Numerous outside variables can impact responses or outcomes without the knowledge of researchers. External triggers, such as the environment, political stress, or physical attraction can alter a person’s regular perspective without it being apparent. Internal triggers, such as claustrophobia or social interactions, can alter responses as well. It is challenging to know if the data collected through this process offers an element of honesty.

7. Experimental research cannot always control all of the variables.
Although experimental research attempts to control every variable or combination that is possible, laboratory settings cannot reach this limitation in every circumstance. If data must be collected in a natural setting, then the risk of inaccurate information rises. Some research efforts place an emphasis on one set of variables over another because of a perceived level of importance. That is why it becomes virtually impossible in some situations to apply obtained results to the overall population. Groups are not always comparable, even if this process provides for more significant transferability than other methods of research.

8. Experimental research does not always seek to find explanations.
The goal of experimental research is to answer questions that people may have when evaluating specific data points. There is no concern given to the reason why specific outcomes are achievable through this system. When you are working in a world of black-and-white where something works or it does not, there are many shades of gray in-between these two colors where additional information is waiting to be discovered. This method ignores that information, settling for whatever answers are found along the extremes instead.

9. Experimental research does not make exceptions for ethical or moral violations.
One of the most significant disadvantages of experimental research is that it does not take the ethical or moral violations that some variables may create out of the situation. Some variables cannot be manipulated in ways that are safe for people, the environment, or even the society as a whole. When researchers encounter this situation, they must either transfer their data points to another method, continue on to produce incomplete results, fabricate results, or set their personal convictions aside to work on the variable anyway.

10. Experimental research may offer results which apply to only one situation.
Although one of the advantages of experimental research is that it allows for duplication by others to obtain the same results, this is not always the case in every situation. There are results that this method can find which may only apply to that specific situation. If this process is used to determine highly detailed data points which require unique circumstances to obtain, then future researchers may find that result replication is challenging to obtain.

These experimental research pros and cons offer a useful system that can help determine the validity of an idea in any industry. The only way to achieve this advantage is to place tight controls over the process, and then reduce any potential for bias within the system to appear. This makes it possible to determine if a new idea of any type offers current or future value.

Author Bio
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.