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Natural Versus Controlled Settings in Experiments

After reading this post from my classmate below, do you have any opinion?

Why would it be important for an experiment to be conducted in a natural setting as opposed to a controlled setting? What obstacles do researchers face in conducting experiments in a natural setting? How can they overcome these obstacles?

An experiment conducted in a natural setting allows the participant to feel at ease with his or her surroundings. Plus, the outcome of such experiment may be more valid because the participant may open up more in reference to thoughts and feelings. A downside to this would be obtaining the permission to complete an experiment at any chosen place. If permission is not granted, then the there will be a halt to the experimental process. A controlled setting allows for the researcher to have complete control of the factors associated with the study. He or she will be able to manipulate the environment to allow for a more concise experiment. The one example that comes to mind especially after reading over my classmates responses to this question is that of CPS. It may not consist of "experiments" but it does consist of proper case management. Child Protective Services is always investigating reported child abuse cases. I believe that case workers conducting home visits is a major plus in their investigations. Not only do they speak to the alleged perpetrators and/or child, but they can also inspect the home environment. This is the natural setting of the abused child and he or she can feel more comfortable in disclosing his or her stories. The controlled setting would be questioning the people involved in the case at the case worker's office. They may feel intimidated and not willing to disclose any information.

Solution Preview

Again, much of what is said here makes a lot of sense. Natural settings have the advantage of ecological validity - they allow us to see behaviors as they occur in the real world, when they don't feel as though they're being observed in an artificial setting. Experiments in the lab can decrease the chance of seeing such natural, true behavior. However, natural settings do limit the control we have over the situation. In the CPS example, if parents know that a case worker is coming to see them, they can modify the situation to make it look like a good home environment. The worker cannot act as an experimenter in this setting, modifying a particular variable and controlling others to see what the effect is. In ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses natural versus controlled settings in experiments. The text contains 479 words and examples.

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