Sample Nursing Research Paper on Experimental and Non-experimental Research Design

Experimental and Non-experimental Research Design

            A research design is the blueprint that allows the researcher to integrate all components of the research with the view of effectively testing the hypothesis. Therefore, the choice of the design should put into consideration the research question, nature of the research and the variables among others. Experimental research designs, unlike non-experimental ones, use a cause-effect approach to test a hypothesis. It involves manipulation of independent variable and observing the changes on the dependent variable by comparing it to a control group. Such features are lacking in a non-experimental research design. There several types of non-experimental and experimental research design distinguishable by the level of control.

Experimental Research Designs

  1. Independent measures: This involves testing the different conditions of the independent variable using separate set of participants randomly allocated.
  2. Repeated measures: This involves testing different conditions of the independent variable using the same set of participants.
  3. Matched pairs: The various conditions of the independent variable are tested using participants sharing the same major characteristics. The matching of pairs reduces cases of variations in results due to unforeseen factors.
  4. Pretest-posttest: This involves exposing random or nonrandom experiment units to variables and comparing the data with those collected before the experiment (McLeod, 2007).

Non-experimental Designs

  1. Survey studies: This involves collecting individual data from identified samples to monitor a specific variable. Survey studies can incorporate control studies by collecting historical data prior to the influence of the variable under study.
  2. Correlation studies: This compares two variables with the view of establishing the strength of their correlation. This is discerned by observing how changes in one variable lead to changes in the other variable, without external manipulation.
  3. Comparative studies: This examines how inherently different intact groups are in relation to a specific dependent variable without manipulating the independent variable (Thompson & Panacek, 2007).     


McLeod, S. A. (2007). “Experimental Design.” SimplyPyschology. Retrieved from:

Thompson, C. B. & Panacek, E. A. (2007). Research Study Designs: Non-experimental. Air Medical Journal, 26(1): 18 – 22.