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Experimental Method

When using the experimental method of research, you will reconsider your original research questions for the purposes how you would frame the research if you were going to use an experiment (either quasi-experimental or true experimental, but not both) to collect your data from your sample.

When considering an experimental study, you may well need to revise your research question a little or a lot so that your application demonstrates your understanding of experimental research methods. Then, you will again revised your questions you decide which type of study to use - quantitative or qualitative. By the end of the investigation, you will then have a greater selection of potential research approaches to consider as you put together your final proposal (prospectus).

The four sections that we suggest focusing on are when determining how to go about your study are:

  • The research question(s)
  • Experimental research method
  • The hypotheses
  • The research design

These are four separate sections, each one addressing how it will relate to your overall study. Keep in mind that each section of the proposal (prospectus) sets the stage for the remaining sections that have to do with other aspects of the research design.

Your design will create a quantitative experimental methods approach (not qualitative, not a mixed methods approach, and not a survey design). Your design will be either quasi-experimental or true experimental (but not both).

Experimental Method Research Paper Structure

In terms of formatting for the paper, use double spacing throughout and all paragraphs need to be indented. Also, use APA style section headers (centered, regular font, no bold, no italics), as indicated below:

  1. Research Question(s)
  2. Survey Research Method, Hypotheses
  3. The Research Design (and its elements, Population, Sampling, Measures, Sample Size Analysis, Ethical Protections, and References)


In this section, state the research question(s) that you are proposing to focus on in your study. Your description of the research questions needs to be specific since this is a quantitative experimental design. At this point, you will be narrowing down the Experimental Method so that the research question names who you want to study and what you want to study, with the psychologically related variables clearly described. This may take some time in terms of condensing your research ideas down into a concise question from which the other sections in this application naturally follow. Your design also needs to have two groups and an intervention (treatment), the effect of which you will measure with a quantitative instrument.

Also, please keep in mind that your while your research question needs to be based on existing research, for your own proposed research you need to go further, so that you are not repeating research that has already been done, but rather you are adding new information about the area by doing your proposed study. This should be reflected in the research question that you pose at the beginning of this application.


Consider our readings and other course materials for this week that focused on the experimental research method. Clearly state why An experimental method would be appropriate given your research question(s), citing the course text, video programs, other relevant resources, as appropriate. This means why the research question that you developed for this week's assignment, a question with which an experimental design could be used (even if you decide later in the course to use a different approach for your final paper proposal (prospectus).


State both a null and alternative research hypothesis. The null hypothesis is that there are no differences and the alternative hypothesis is that there are differences, and they are always exactly the opposite of each other in terms of variables and wording. Since this is a quantitative design, be sure to articulate clearly the variables that you are proposing to study. The variables are the psychological characteristics that can be measured, using existing instruments that you will incorporate into your design.


Include the following information as sub-sections (italicized beginning at the left margin)

Population - Define the population you would propose to study and its characteristics. this should include, but is not limited to:

  1. age
  2. gender
  3. ethnicity
  4. additional cultural factors
  5. education level. The population is the larger group of all people who have the characteristics that form the criteria for inclusion in the sample (this needs also to be reflected in your hypothesis).

Sampling Define your method of sampling the population (for example: random, convenience, etc.). state how you would gain access to the participants. The sample is the smaller group with which the actual study in conducted. You would like to be able to make statements about the larger population based on the results of your study.

Measures Briefly describe the measures you will use to assess the predictor and the outcome. for example, if you were measuring efficacy, you would briefly describe and provide a reference for a self-efficacy scale. The name of the measure is also included in the hypothesis as a "as measured by" statement. For example, if you were measuring self-esteem, you would name self-esteem as one of the variables in your hypothesis and add "as measured by the Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale" (or another appropriate measure). Also the measure needs to be one that is directly relevant to understanding the effect of the intervention (treatment) that will be part of your proposed experiment.

Sample Size Analysis Given your area and past research, give a rationale for the sample you will attempt to obtain for your study. Be sure to cite references, as appropriate.

Ethical Protection of Participants Briefly describe any ethical issues you foresee with your study. Also, make a preliminary assessment of the level of risk associated with participation in your study that might need to be raised with the institutional review board. There are risks for any study, for example confidentiality, informed consent, parental consent, unintended adverse reactions, so these kinds of possibilities need to be assessed and addressed in this section.


Include a reference section at the end of the paper, in which you include a full APA style reference for each citation that you include in the text of the paper. Please keep in mind that the formatting of references that you see in the databases is usually not APA style, so you will need to do the conversion to APA style references. Please consult the APA Publication Manual for its excellent examples for the sources that you will use for your paper.

For Experimental Method Research Paper , your sources can include:

  • academic journal articles
  • books
  • book chapters
  • thesis
  • dissertations
  • but not magazine articles
  • dictionaries
  • encyclopedias
  • abstracts
  • or most web-sites (other than those assigned for the course).
  • There is wealth of scholarly material through the databases.