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Considerations in Experimental Design

  • 08 Pages
  • Published On: 16-11-2023
  1. A). Why might you use cluster random assignment rather than individual random assignment?

  2. The cluster random assignment is referred to the experimental technique which is used for recruiting human participants or other subjects in an experiment in separate groups known as clusters (Ampt et al., 2019). This is preferred to be used over individual random assignment because it allows requirement of fewer resources for the assignment process compared to the individual assignment, in turn, allowing it to be a cost-effective technique to be applied in the study. Moreover, it is feasible as the division of the population are done into homogenous groups allowing less confusion to occur in managing participants in the study. Since this assignment process allows representation of the entire population in group, it helps more subjects to be effectively included in the study (Taljaard et al., 2020).


    b). what are the potential ethical issues with assigning participants to a control group?

    One of the ethical issues raised with assignment of participants in the control group is regarding placebo. This means that while a subject is recruited to a control group it is the duty of the researcher to ensure that the person belief they are receiving a treatment even though they are not receiving any treatment in real. The act is deceptive as participants are made to provide consent in the study under the information that they are receiving a treatment in real (Nardini, 2014). The other ethical issue raised in control group assignment is that often subjects are tricked by promising a cure or by deliberatively concealing from them that are taking part in a study which is deceptive (Nardini, 2014). The randomisation and blinding in recruitment of participants in the control group may cause harm towards as they are being denied the best care, in turn, raising ethical concern of nonbeneficence in the study (Nardini, 2014).

  3. You are conducting an experiment to investigate the effects of a spelling intervention on spelling accuracy.

  4. (a) What is the indepent variable in this study?
    (b) What is the dependent variable in this study?

    Spelling is important part of education which is a most challenging part of student studding disabilities. Spelling correction is most import for college students for good results. Spelling investigate deep effect of spelling intervention on spelling accuracy because with the help of this we can improve learning skills and knowledge.

    Independent variable: - It is a variable the experiment modifications or controls and is assumed to have a direct impact on independent variable.

    Dependent variable: - It’s a variable is a being tested and measured in an experiment and depended on independent variable.

    Researcher is looking for the possible effects on the dependent variable that be caused by changing the independent variable.

  5. How can generalised knowledge be useful to our understanding of a phenomena?(100-200)
  6. A phenomenon in research is referred to the general result which has to be reliably observed in systematic empirical studies. The phenomenons are seen to be manifested in human responses and behaviour in the study. It can originate from affairs in the practical world, personal experience and theoretical discipline. The phenomenon at times in studies is perceived to show a promising opportunity, unsatisfying circumstances, breakdown of expected arrangement or a simple topic of research interest. However, it is mentioned that researcher generally faces four key difficulties in diagnosing and grounding phenomenon in research (Parente et al. 2018).

  7. Why should the following type of question be avoided in questionnaires?

  8. A). Leading questions
    b). Double- barrelled questions.

    The leading questions are to be avoided in a study because they lead to gather false or biased answers from the respondents because the respondents in the specific question simplify mimic the words presented by the interviewer instead of giving their own opinion in words (Leggett, 2017). Thus, to get better and enhanced insight into the opinion of the participants the leading questions are to be avoided.

    The double-barrelled questions are to be avoided because it leads the participants to provide answer for only one issue in the question even though there are two separate issues that are composing the question. This nature of action leads to inaccuracy in responding by the participants leading to reveal incomplete or biased results in the study (Leggett, 2017).

1 Explain what is meant by a ‘mixed methods’ approach, and critically discuss the main advantages and disadvantages of this approach?

The mixed-methods approach is the technique of emergent methodology in which systematic mixing of qualitative and quantitative data is done for making a single investigation in the study. One of the key characteristics of mixed-method includes collecting close-ended quantitative information and open-ended qualitative data in the study (Belarmino et al., 2019). It also includes use of rigorous procedure for gathering and analysing appropriate data for each traditional method like ensuring the appropriate size of sample for qualitative and quantitative analysis. The other characteristics of mixed-method approach are coherent or sequential use of qualitative and quantitative components with different samples, framing philosophical model of research for study procedure and integrating qualitative and quantitative data collection along with analysis or discussion in the study (So et al., 2018).


  • Mixed research approach is useful mainly in understanding contradictions between qualitative findings and quantitative results in the study (Mundia, 2017).
  • This approach provides a voice to the participants in the study in explaining their objective reply to the quantitative questionnaires. Thus, it indicates that the approach helps to provide study findings that are grounded in the experience of the participants in details (Creswell and Clark, 2017).
  • The mixed research approach allows creating breath for the multidisciplinary team to be involved in the research by encouraging interactions of qualitative, quantitative and mixed-method scholars (Creswell and Clark, 2017)
  • It provides increased flexibility and creates opportunity for adaptability in many study designs like randomised trials, observational studies and others for elucidating more data which can be obtained only with the help of quantitative research (Creswell and Clark, 2017).
  • It acts as mirror for the individuals who intend to naturally gather information by combining qualitative and quantitative data. For instance, health management or treatment information often integrate quantitative data such as scores of impact of the treatment with the qualitative data such as description of the benefits and way of the treatment to offer a more complete story regarding the way health manage works in managing health problem (Creswell and Clark, 2017).


  • The mixed-method approaches are considered to be complex plans which require effective expertise in accomplishing them. It is evident as the approach requires careful and systematic planning for describing different aspects of research along with includes study sample for qualitative and quantitative portions and planning regarding integration of data. It is seen that integrated quantitative and qualitative data during the course of analysis acts as challenging step for many researchers (Creswell and Clark, 2017).
  • In executing a high-quality mixed study, the multi-disciplinary team of researcher, who are responsible in executing the study, requires opening and implementing wider methods through their expertise. In this condition, maintaining effective rigour, reliability and validity of the study becomes difficult which creates opportunity to raise wider error in the study (Creswell and Clark, 2017).
  • The mixed research approach needs wide amount of labour along with increased resources and time for accomplishing it in an effective way. It creates issue of spending huge amount of money and time which may not be available to be spent in the research by the researcher. Thus, the approach is not cost-effective and cannot be used in any study freely expect if the study allows effective spending of money and prolonged time (Creswell and Clark, 2017).

2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a questionnaire rather than an interview?

The advantage of questionnaire over interview is that it inexpensive or cost-effective while the later requires increased finances to be executed. This is because questionnaire are often self-administered in which a separate surveyor is not required to be hired as required in performing face-to-face interview, in turn, creating cost-effective way of easily collecting information. The other advantage is that questionnaire allows the researcher to target a huge number of subjects to gather response regarding the study topic whereas in interview only a limited number of subjects can be included for gathering information (Norderval et al., 2019). This is because in questionnaire study the researchers do not require to communicate with each individual for prolonged amount of time making them to include as many as subjects for response through the approach. However, in interview, each individual is to be thoroughly studied and communicated for a prolonged amount of time to gather data which makes it difficult for the researcher to include increased number of individual at a time (Brace, 2018). A large number of subject inclusion as made in the questionnaire is beneficial as it allows enhanced and accurate means of analysing valued to identify potential results which are not able to be accomplished through interview approach (Keay et al., 2018). The advantage of questionnaire over interview is that it allows executing the study within limited amount of time as the researchers do not have to wait for prolonged time to receive answers as seen in interview approach (Keay et al., 2018). Moreover, the questionnaire allows easy visibility and analysis of results as they are mainly present in objective manner which avoids the researcher to spend increased amount of time and descriptive analysis as used in interview to interpret the results in the interview approach (Keay et al., 2018).

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The disadvantage of questionnaire over interview is that information gathered through questionnaire may lead the researcher to interpret and understand in a different way other than the perspective of the participant who replied to the question. However, in interview, the researcher does not make differences in understanding and interpreting the results as seen in the questionnaire as they are able to clear any doubts or misconception through direct communication and has the opportunity of develop detailed descriptive information in the process to avoid differences (Willeboordse et al., 2016). The other limitation of using questionnaire over interview is that the researchers are unable to determine the feelings or emotions of the respondents in answering the questions that could create better analysis of the gathered information. This is because in questionnaire approach the researcher has no scope to execute face-to-face interaction with the subjects making them unable to observe body language, facial expression and others of the subjects to understand their emotion and feelings that is able to be executed in the interview approach (Braekman et al., 2018). In questionnaire, some questions may be difficult to understand and wrongly interpreted by the participants to answer them leading to create error in delivering the information. However, in interview, any confusion in the questions asked can be easily resolved helping to avoid creating issue of error in providing information by participants or subjects (Willeboordse et al., 2016). Thus, this aspect acts as the limitation for questionnaire in comparison to interview approach.


  • Ampt, F.H., Lim, M.S., Agius, P.A., Chersich, M.F., Manguro, G., Gichuki, C.M., Stoové, M., Temmerman, M., Jaoko, W., Hellard, M. and Gichangi, P., 2019. Use of long‐acting reversible contraception in a cluster‐random sample of female sex workers in Kenya. International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, 146(2), pp.184-191.
  • Belarmino, A., Whalen, E., Koh, Y. and Bowen, J.T., 2019. Comparing guests’ key attributes of peer-to-peer accommodations and hotels: mixed-methods approach. Current Issues in Tourism, 22(1), pp.1-7.
  • Brace, I., 2018. Questionnaire design: How to plan, structure and write survey material for effective market research. Kogan Page Publishers.
  • Braekman, E., Berete, F., Charafeddine, R., Demarest, S., Drieskens, S., Gisle, L., Molenberghs, G., Tafforeau, J., Van der Heyden, J. and Van Hal, G., 2018. Measurement agreement of the self-administered questionnaire of the Belgian Health Interview Survey: Paper-and-pencil versus web-based mode. PLoS One, 13(5), p.e0197434.
  • Creswell, J.W. and Clark, V.L.P., 2017. Designing and conducting mixed methods research. Sage publications.
  • Keay, N., Francis, G. and Hind, K., 2018. Low energy availability assessed by a sport-specific questionnaire and clinical interview indicative of bone health, endocrine profile and cycling performance in competitive male cyclists. BMJ open sport & exercise medicine, 4(1).pp.30-56.
  • Leggett, T., 2017. Survey development: Creating intended consequences. Radiologic Technology, 88(5), pp.568-571.
  • Mundia, L., 2017. The assessment of math learning difficulties in a primary grade-4 child with high support needs: Mixed methods approach. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 4(2), pp.347-366.
  • Nardini, C., 2014. The ethics of clinical trials. Ecancermedicalscience, 8.pp.34-67.
  • Norderval, S., Rydningen, M.B., Falk, R.S., Stordahl, A. and Johannessen, H.H., 2019. Strong agreement between interview-obtained and self-administered Wexner and St. Mark’s scores using a single questionnaire. International urogynecology journal, 30(12), pp.2101-2108.
  • Parente, R.C., Geleilate, J.M.G. and Rong, K., 2018. The sharing economy globalization phenomenon: A research agenda. Journal of International Management, 24(1), pp.52-64.
  • So, K.K.F., Oh, H. and Min, S., 2018. Motivations and constraints of Airbnb consumers: Findings from a mixed-methods approach. Tourism Management, 67, pp.224-236.
  • Taljaard, M., Goldstein, C.E., Giraudeau, B., Nicholls, S.G., Carroll, K., Hey, S.P., Brehaut, J.C., Jairath, V., London, A.J., Eldridge, S.M. and Grimshaw, J.M., 2020. Cluster over individual randomization: are study design choices appropriately justified? Review of a random sample of trials. Clinical Trials, p.1740774519896799.
  • Willeboordse, F., Grundeken, L.H., van den Eijkel, L.P., Schellevis, F.G., Elders, P.J. and Hugtenburg, J.G., 2016. Information on actual medication use and drug-related problems in older patients: questionnaire or interview?. International journal of clinical pharmacy, 38(2), pp.380-387.

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