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Difference Between Observational Study and Experiments

Observational Study vs Experiments

Observational study and experiments are the two major types of study involved in research. The main difference between these two types of study is in the way the observation is done.

In experiments, the researcher will undertake some experiment and not just make observations. In observational study, the researcher simply makes an observation and arrives at a conclusion.

In an experiment, the researcher manipulates every aspect for deriving a conclusion. In observational study, no experiment is conducted. In this type of study, the researcher relies more on data collected.
In observational study, the researcher just observes what has happened in the past and what is happening now and draws conclusions based on these data. But in experiments, the researcher observes things through various studies. In other words, it can be said that there is human intervention in experiments whereas there is no human intervention in observational study.
Here are examples for observational study and experiments that could clearly define the differences between the two. Hawthorne studies are a good example for experiments. The studies were conducted at the Hawthorne plant of the Western Electric Company. The study was to see the impact of illumination and productivity. First, the productivity was measured, and then the illumination was modified. After this the productivity was again measured which helped the researchers to arrive at a conclusion.
The study to determine the relation between smoking and lung cancer is a typical example for observational study. For this the researchers collected data of both smokers and non-smokers. After this, the researchers would make observations with the help of the data and the statistics collected from each group.

Summary:

1.The main difference between observational study and experiments is in the way the observation is done.
2.In an experiment, the researcher will undertake some experiment and not just make observations. In observational study, the researcher simply makes an observation and arrives at a conclusion.
3.In observational study, no experiment is conducted. In this type of study the researcher relies more on data collected.
4.In an experiment, the researcher observes things through various studies.
5.There is human intervention in experiments whereas there is no human intervention in observational study.
6.Hawthorne studies are a good example for experiments.
7.The study to determine the relation between smoking and lung cancer is a typical example for observational study.


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