Many experiments are designed to include a control group and one or more experimental groups; in fact, some scholars reserve the term experiment for study designs that include a control group. Ideally, the control group and the experimental groups are identical in every way except that the experimental groups are subjected to treatments or interventions believed to have an effect on the outcome of interest, while the control group is not. The control group is the standard to which comparisons are made in an experiment, and inclusion of a control group greatly strengthens the study's ability to draw conclusions.

A typical use of a control group is in an experiment in which the effect of a treatment is unknown, and comparisons between the control group and ...

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