In its simplest form, experimentation is a method of determining the presence or absence of a causal relationship between two variables by systematically manipulating one variable (called the independent variable) and assessing its effect on another variable (called the dependent variable).

Importance and Consequences

The hallmark of experimentation is that it allows researchers to make statements about causality. There are several features of experiments that facilitate such claims:

  • Experiments allow researchers to create a situation in which changes in the independent variable precede assessment of the dependent variable—making it possible to draw conclusions about the directionality of the relationship. This is important, because to establish a cause-and-effect relationship between two events, the event that one supposes to be the cause must precede the event that one supposes ...
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