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Planning, Conducting And Evaluating Educational Research

2637 words - 11 pages

The planning that occurs behind educational research is an intricate process thus in addition to establishing a research problem and purpose and reviewing literature, inquirers must determine the best experimental design that fits their needs. Even though experiments may share characteristics, “their use and application vary depending on the type of design used” (Creswell, 2008, p. 310). Therefore understanding the types of experimental designs commonly used to inquiry about educational thematic is useful to identify the design whose approach will contribute the success of the research. The two major umbrellas of experimental design include between-group and within-group designs, which are further broken down into three subcategories of experimental design according to their characteristics. On the one hand, the between-group design offers an approach in which the inquirer is able to compare two or more clusters of subjects exposed to various degrees of interventions (Creswell, 2008). The between-group design is widely used in various fields given its ability to provide information that compares the interventions to a control group just as majority of the scientific experiments conducted in a science laboratory. In contrast, the within-group design offers an approach geared towards observations of the participants as they themselves become the control of the experiment (Creswell, 2008). Given the distinction among the between-group and within-group designs, it is critical to compare and contrast the six types of experimental design that fall under each of these categories.

The differences in characteristics of design further subcategorize the between-group design into three experimental designs that include true experiment, quasi-experiment, and factorial (Creswell, 2008). Though these three designs share, common characteristics that classify them as between-group designs these also share commonalities with one only other group as well. In the case of the characteristics shared by true experiment, quasi-experiment, and factorial designs, these include the comparison of two or more groups of individuals, measuring the dependent variable once, and the use the same tool as the control in the experiment (Creswell, 2008). Despite the similarities shared by the three designs, in some cases, two out of the three experimental designs share a characteristic. For example, the true experiment and quasi-experiment share the same number of interventions used in their experimental design. Whereas these two designs “manipulate at least one condition of an independent variable,” the factorial design manipulates at least two or more interventions (Creswell, 2008, p. 305). In this case, a researcher may opt to look only at one form of the condition investigated to have an effect on the dependent variable that is relevant to a true or quasi-experiment. Perhaps in a future study, the same researcher may want to investigate the effect of the condition...

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