Pros and Cons of Experimental Research


Experimental research is one of the keys to unraveling the mysteries of our world, especially that of the human’s capacity to create, innovate, and work beyond the ordinary. It tests new ideas and products, to see confirm their usability or to find ways to improve them. With experimental research, the scientist uses two variables – a controlled one and an experimental one. Despite its level of efficiency and accuracy, experimental research has some issues.

List of Pros of Experimental Research

1. Degree of Control over Variables
The researcher usually has high level of control over research variables. They can determine results and guarantee their accuracy by manipulating and isolating certain variables, removing those that are extraneous and unwanted.

2. Applicable to Various Fields
Experimental research may be used to practically all types of situations. It is largely applied in medicine, but is likewise useful in the fields of education, engineering, business, and many others.

3. Identifies Cause and Effect Relationship
The ability to manipulate independent and irrelevant variables allows the researcher to determine cause and effect relationship of various factors involved.

4. Gives Better Results
The researcher needs to set up and adhere to strict experimental conditions and criteria. The experiment may be repeated multiple times to validate initial results. This ensures the efficacy of the research and the accuracy of the results.

List of Cons of Experimental Research

1. Personal Bias May Come into Play
The researcher often brings a level of bias into the experimentation. This biases stem from preconceptions, personal motivations, and external pressure to produce results.

2. Sample May Not be Representative
It is rare and costly to experiment with an entire population, so a sample is selected. There are many methods of sample determination, and none is 100% perfect. At this stage of sample selection, things can go wrong. Every experiment always has a sampling error, and it is the researcher’s job to reduce this error to an acceptable minimum.

3. Creates Artificial or Superficial Environments
Too much control over the variables may lead into the creation of artificial environments or situations that invalidates the experiment’s outcome in the real world or in actual application.

4. Availability of Resources Limits the Research
Most experiments require so much time and money, and are not feasible to get started. In other cases, researches cannot begin or finish because it involves certain issues in contrast with the ethics or beliefs of the researchers and the public. Still other experiments are impractical because the variables are simply impossible to manipulate.

Despite the shortcomings of experimental research, it is done very often, even on a daily basis, without people knowing it. For instance, we shift to other brands of shampoo to see if it does make our hair longer, shinier, softer and more tangle-free. Although these are not formal experiments per se, it is proof that experimental research is already an integral part of our lives.

It can be more challenging, however, when experiments have ethical or practical issues, as in the case of human behavior and anatomy experimentations. It may be impossible to validate the research’s agenda, as they can be against human rights, animal rights and nature.