Behavioral Lab Note-Taking

Behavioral Sciences include any project that studies humans or other animals by the means of an observable action. This includes projects in psychology, political science, sociology, sociolinguistics, and other social sciences.

Research in the behavioral sciences typically falls into two types of design: experiments and non-experiments. Both of these designs are important in behavioral science research but they are used for vastly different purposes.

Experiments

In experimental research, you must have more than one condition to test – in other words, you must compare the effects of treatment A vs. treatment B. Often, it is a good idea to make one of these treatments the “control” group, meaning that it receives no treatment and acts as the baseline for comparison.

Effects of treatment A vs. B

Non-Experiments

Non-experiments are research designs that do not include a treatment of any kind, so the researcher does not try to change the responses of the participants. Furthermore, there is only one group and one test (or group of tests). This design is used almost exclusively for descriptive studies which describe one aspect of the world. An example of a non-experiment is an opinion poll. Because non-experiments are less in-depth than behavioral science experiments, they often perform poorly at science fairs and are not a suggested design.