What is a non-experimental investigation?

What Does Non-Experimental Research Mean

We explain what a non-experimental research is and the two types that exist. Also, an example from this research.

A non-experimental investigation only observes, analyzes and documents the information.

What is a non-experimental investigation?

As its name indicates, a non-experimental research is a type of research that does not extract its definitive conclusions or its work data through a series of reproducible actions and reactions in a controlled environment to obtain interpretable results, that is: through of experiments . Not for this reason, of course, it ceases to be a serious, documented and rigorous investigation in its methods .


In other words, this type of research does not deliberately manipulate the variables it seeks to interpret , but is content to observe the phenomena of interest in their natural environment, to then describe and analyze them without the need to emulate them in a controlled environment. Those who carry out non-experimental research play mostly an observer role .

There are two main types of non-experimental research:

  • Cross-sectional design investigations. In this type of design , a state of the art is addressed, that is, data are collected from a single moment, in order to describe the variables present and analyze their incidence or responsibility in what happened in the investigation. This means using descriptive indicators (they measure or describe a variable or factor) and causal indicators (they offer explanations regarding the indicators).
  • Longitudinal design investigations. On the contrary, in these investigations, samplings are carried out over time, considering certain variables and their relationships with each other, to determine evolutions, trends, links, etc. In this way they allow understanding the complex group reactions of a sector of the population , and can be combined with other measurements to obtain a larger picture.

See also: Steps of the scientific method

Non-experimental research example

Statistical measurements seek to determine a joint position on an issue.

Examples of non-experimental research are statistical measurements , in which public opinion is consulted on an issue in order to determine a joint position. Or research that, having a set of statistical data available, proceeds to interpret and organize them in order to obtain the largest possible amount of relevant data.

Another possible example is the documentary research: consultation of bibliographic or newspaper sources , reading of previous authors and presentation of the findings in a report, essay or monograph . In this case, controlled experiments are not carried out either, but rather the professional and / or personal vision of the author consulted or the researcher himself , if applicable, is used.

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