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Matched groups refers to a technique in research design in which a participant in an experimental group being exposed to a manipulation is compared on an outcome variable to a specific participant in the control group who is similar in some important way but did not receive the manipulation. The most common reason for using this technique is if random assignment of participants to the experimental and control conditions was not possible, and it therefore cannot be assumed that the groups are equivalent to start. By examining and comparing the groups before the experimental manipulation and creating pairs of similar people—one in each condition—it is possible to more clearly identify the effect of the manipulation on an outcome, or dependent, variable, without confounding in the ...

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