What is Field Research? By Caitlin Randall

In chapter 1, we learn that there are several different experiment types and techniques. One of these techniques is field research, which is defined as “research done in natural, real-life settings outside the laboratory.”  Basically, field research can be simple observation of occurrences in everyday life, that do not require a formal laboratory setting. The pros of field research are that participants aren’t necessarily affected and are only observed, and need not be manipulated. The cons are that researchers can’t manipulate too much, because they are in an environment with too many variables to possibly control.

In the following video, two students from Penn State are performing field research by simply observing a real-life setting (McDonalds) and attempting to make claims from what they see. Check out the video, and watch until around the 3:00 mark!

The video above shows the two students observing people using the drive-thru at McDonalds, and they are interested in the gender of drivers that use the drive-thru, their vehicle make/model, how long the drive-thru takes,  and seeing if any of those varibles have any relation to food buyers returning their food or making a complaint. This is an example of field research because it takes place in the real world, and not only does it not require a lab but it couldn’t possibly take place in a lab.

Always remember – field research is your friend.

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