What essential characteristics distinguish a true experiment from other research designs?
Experiments, in the field of research are very much different than any other type of research design. The greatest benefit of the experiment method is convincingly establishing causation. Cooper and Schindler (2013) note on causality that it could “not be proved with certainty but the probability of one variable being linked to another could be established convincingly” (p. 193). Through experimentation, this can be accomplished and comes closer to this goal than any other research design. Furthermore, experiments have several different characteristics that distinguish them from other research designs, among these are replication research, field experiments, and control of variables.
The most important characteristic of experimental research is the process of replication. Meriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines replication as “the action or process of reproducing or duplicating” (3b, 2012). As Madden, Easley and Dunn (1995) note, “replication is an essential part of good science” (p. 78). Madden et al. (1995) see that disciplines such as marketing have research that is heavily science-based. Thus, disciplines such as marketing, advertising and communication heavily focus on experimental research. The authors continue and note that the process of replication should begin with a new inquiry each time the research experiment begins anew (Madden et al., p. 84, 1995). Because of the importance of the experimental process, Madden et al. (1995) assert that the act of replication and experimentation should be interwoven with the basic research process. This would allow researchers to examine their data and refine it much further by repeating the research process through an experimentation mentality. Madden et al. (2000) conclude in a follow-up article that replication research is a critical aspect of good science. Additionally, it is necessary to...