Steps in Experimental Research

Steps in Experimental Research

The basic steps involved in conducting experimental research will be presented in this module.

Learning Objectives

  • List the steps that are used in conducting experimental research
  • Describe each step involved in the process


The following YouTube vide, Experimental Design, offers a visual representation of the process of conducting experimental research and serves as introduction to the steps discussed in this module.

The following list of steps explains the process of conducting experimental research in more detail. Researchers should follow these steps in order to ensure the integrity of the process.

  1. Select a topic. This involves simply identifying an area of interest or general subject.
  2. Identify the research problem.   Given the topic or subject, the researcher must now identify specific problems or questions that relate to the subject. The researcher may be familiar with subject and may already know the problem they want to research. If the researcher is new to the topic, it may be helpful to examine literature and previous studies, as well as talk to other researchers. The problem selected should be important to the field and be of significance to others in the discipline.
  3. Conduct a literature search. Once the research problem is identified, a literature search should be conducted before proceeding to design the experiment. It is helpful to know what studies have been performed, the designs, the instruments used, the procedures and the findings. This information will guide the researcher and help them create a project that extends or compliments existing research.
  4. Construct a hypothesis. In this step, the researcher states the research question as a hypothesis. This provides the basis for all other decisions in the process and therefore, it is a critical step.
  5. Determine the design of the research. The researcher should review the hypothesis and verify that an experimental design is the appropriate research design needed to answer the question. Additional information regarding different types of experimental research design will be covered in the next module.
  6. Determine the research methods. In this step, the researcher will identify and plan the details necessary to conduct the research. This includes identifying the test subjects, materials, data collection instruments and methods, and the procedures for the conducting the experiment.
  7. Conduct the research and test the hypothesis. The experimental procedures will be carried out in this phase.
  8. Analyze the data.   Experimental research data lends itself to a variety of potential statistical analyses. The appropriate analysis is determined by the research question and the type of data.
  9. Formulate conclusions. Review the data and determine if it confirms or disproves the hypothesis.

This is a basic outline of the steps involved in conduction experimental. Additional modules in this series will address these steps in more detail.


Suggested Readings

Bernard, H. R., & Bernard, H. R. (2012). Social research methods: Qualitative and quantitative approaches. Sage.
Bordens, K. S., & Abbott, B. B. (2002). Research design and methods: A process approach . McGraw-Hill.
Creswell, J. W. (2013). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Sage publications.
Gall, M. D., Borg, W. R., & Gall, J. P. (1996). Educational research: An introduction . Longman Publishing.
Fraenkel, J. R., Wallen, N. E., & Hyun, H. H. (1993). How to design and evaluate research in education (Vol. 7). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Keppel, G. (1991). Design and analysis: A researcher's handbook . Prentice-Hall, Inc.
Lipsey, M. W. (1990). Design sensitivity: Statistical power for experimental research (Vol. 19). Sage.
Neuman, W. L., & Neuman, W. L. (2006). Social research methods: Qualitative and quantitative approaches.
Bordens, K. S., & Abbott, B. B. (2002). Research design and methods: A process approach . McGraw-Hill.
Punch, K. F. (2013). Introduction to social research: Quantitative and qualitative approaches. Sage.

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