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All sociological researchers make use of the data collected to test their hypotheses but the way and methods used differ from one sociological study to another There are four general techniques the case study the experiment the observational study and the survey An experiment is a scientific method in which data are collected to be tested to prove a hypothesis using either independent variables in a closed environment or dependent variables in an opened environment There are two types of experiment the laboratory experiment that is as its name suggests conducted in laboratory and the field experiment conducted in a natural environment The advocates of positivism support the use of experiment due to its many advantages Karl Popper for example believed that the experimental method is extremely useful because it allows the sort of precision in the making and repeated testing of predictions that he advocates Due to its accuracy in producing scientific results researchers can be more confident since their theories can be tested scientifically In the laboratory experiments independent variables can be controlled and manipulated however they wish They can isolate variables and add variables to measure the effect of the dependent variables they are studying This enables them to make predictions and establish correlations causal connections and supposed laws between the variables For example if the researchers want to find the remedy for a disease for example cancer he or she may isolate the dependent variables and add external elements the independent variable to see the effect of such action whether or not the independent variable can eliminate the cancer cells The result will then be observed measured and quantified This is another advantage of the laboratory experiment The result can be objectively observed and the researchers value judgment will have less or no effect on the result The laboratory experiment also facilitates replication so long as the precise nature of the experiment is recorded other scientist can reproduce identical conditions to
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