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the differences between field studies, surveys, field experiments, and laboratory experiments

Field studies

are ex post facto designs because the researchers make no attempt to control or manipulate incentive systems.

Suppose the researchers assigned to the project feel they have very limited knowledge of the relationship between incentive systems and absenteeism, let along what types of incentive systems have been successfully used in the past.

would probably use some type of field study to explore the problem situation in some depth field studies

literature searches. experience surveys. single-or multiple-case studies.

Critical, no intrusive observation is frequently used in field studies as a method of collecting data.


which is the second subtype of ex facto design is the survey.

It uses some sort of questionnaire to describe and/or predict some phenomenon.

Surveys differ from observation studies in that they require interaction with the respondent (by paper- and-pencil questions, personal interviews, online interaction, etc.).

Surveys are probably the most widely used type of design in business research endeavors

because they allow researchers to study and describe large populations fairly quickly at a relatively low cost..

In addition, surveys are extremely versatile; they can be adapted to almost any research setting.

however, the researchers must possess at least a rudimentary understanding of the problem at hand before a survey can be designed.

Field experiments

are those designs in which the researcher manipulates or in some way controls the independent variable(s) under study.. The two major subtypes of experiments. The primary distinguishing factor between those two types. we will define a field experiment as a research study in a realistic setting, where the researcher intervenes and manipulates some independent variable(s) and controls the situation as carefully as the conditions permit.. commonly designated field. laboratory experiments. is the degree of realism in the research setting..

Laboratory experiments

are conducted in an artificial setting, where the researchers intervene and manipulate some independent variables in a highly controlled ways.. Suppose researchers want to test the effectiveness of the three incentive systems identified earlier using a laboratory experiment.. The researchers would randomly select individuals in the organization to come to the personnel office to take part in a study..