An experiment is a study that is specifically designed to prove or disprove a hypothesis about cause and effect between two or more different things. Generally, an experiment is done within a professional setting like a laboratory, and it is specifically adapted to the needs of the study itself, meaning that whatever the professional setting is, it has certain elements that are needed for the experiment.
Experimental methods are very effective at explaining causation or discovering the causes for specific events or behavior--saying that one thing makes another thing happen.
Let's discuss the different elements of the experimental method. An experiment begins by selecting experimental subjects. These subjects are the group of people that are going to participate in an experiment. Now, the subjects are chosen as a sample to represent a larger group or population of people, meaning we're not necessarily testing everybody. We're testing a select number of people that will be used to make a general conclusion about the larger population as a whole.
These experimental subjects are further divided into control groups and experimental groups. Now, there might be more than two, or certain ones might use different aspects, but this is generally how subjects are divided.
A control group is a group of people that receive all of the conditions within an experiment except for the experimental variables or the conditions that are being tested. This is, in other words, the "normal" or "regular" group, used to demonstrate that normally when the events within the experiment happen, there is no effect.
The experimental group is the group of people that receive all of the conditions of the experiment. They receive the variables from the control group, and they also get whatever the different experimental condition is.
In the other room--which again, is exactly the same because you don't want any difference in the environment to affect your experiment--you give those people the glass of water and the new drug that you're testing. Then, you determine what the difference is between these two different groups of people.
As mentioned, it is important to control all of the conditions of the experiment to make sure that there's nothing else that is causing the effects that you measure.
Sometimes people are chosen within an experiment for specific aspects of behavior, or aspects that are special or unique to them. Most of the time, though, researchers are simply trying to choose people that are generally representative of the population as a whole. Therefore, most often you want to choose large groups of subjects for an experiment, and you want to choose them randomly to prevent any errors within sampling.
There are also other techniques used to keep the results accurate:
EXAMPLEFor example, the experimenter would take all of the subjects, and without the experimenter even knowing which room is which, would place them into one room or the other. One of the rooms has the pills that they are being tested, and one of them has the sugar pills.
This method prevents either the experimenter or the subjects from influencing the results. If the experimenter knows that the people are taking a certain type of drug, then they might look for more results and emphasize them more, either consciously or unconsciously. Alternatively, if the subject knows that they're taking a new pill, they might feel like they're going to have some result and report it more easily.
Source: THIS WORK IS ADAPTED FROM SOPHIA AUTHOR ERICK TAGGART.