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Designing non-experimental studies

In contrast to experimental research, which is a clearly defined research method, non-experimental quantitative research is more varied. Non-experimental methods include survey research, historical research, observation and analysis of existing data sets. In this chapter we will discuss the most common methods in educational research: survey research, observational research and analysing existing data sets. Probably the most popular (quantitative) research design in the social sciences is survey research. Survey research designs are quite flexible and can therefore appear in a variety of forms, but all are characterised by the collection of data using standard questionnaire forms administered by telephone or face to face, by postal pencil-and-paper questionnaires or increasingly by using web-based and e-mail forms. All of us are likely to have had some experience of survey research, if not as developers then as participants in one of the many surveys carried out on our consumption patterns. This ubiquity makes ...

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