NRS 433 Provide examples of experimental and nonexperimental research design

NRS 433 Provide examples of experimental and nonexperimental research design

NRS 433 Provide examples of experimental and nonexperimental research design

An experimental research design uses a highly controlled environment where the researcher manipulates variables to observe their effect on the end result (Helbig, 2022). An example of an experimental design is testing a new drug. One group of people will be the control and another will be the experimental group. The control group will be given a placebo pill and the experimental group will be given the drug so that the researchers can monitor the effectiveness of the drug. The difference between experimental and non-experimental research designs is the ability of researchers being able to control different variables. A type of non experimental research is a correlational study. This type of research measures the statistical relationship between variables to determine a cause and effect relationship (Helbig, 2022).  Non-experimental research does not require any type of control group or a manipulation of any variables (Glasofer & Townsend, 2020). An example of a non experimental research study would be determining the effects of chemotherapy and fatigue for patients. 

Glasofer, A., Townsend, A., (2020). Determining the level of evidence: Nonexperimental research designs. Nursing Critical Care 15(1):p 24-27. DOI: 10.1097/01.CCN.0000612856.94212.9b

Helbig, J. (2022). Nursing Research: Understanding Methods for Best Practice. (GCU).

Experimental research design in nursing involves manipulating an independent variable to determine its effect on a dependent variable. Examples of experimental designs in nursing research include randomized controlled trials and quasi-experimental designs. In these designs, the researcher has a high level of control over the study’s variables, and the research is conducted under highly controlled conditions.

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On the other hand, non-experimental research designs in nursing do not involve manipulation of independent variables, and instead, rely on observation and data collection to draw conclusions. Examples of non-experimental designs in nursing research include descriptive studies, case-control studies, and cohort studies. In non-experimental designs, the researcher has less control over the study’s variables, and the research is conducted in less controlled conditions.

According to Polit and Beck (2021), “Experimental designs are the most powerful way to establish causality because they offer the highest level of control over extraneous variables” (p. 234). This highlights the level of control that experimental designs offer in nursing research.

On the other hand, Polit and Beck (2021) stated that “Nonexperimental designs are useful for investigating phenomena when manipulation of an independent variable is not possible, practical, or ethical” (p. 209). This demonstrates the usefulness of non-experimental designs in situations where manipulation of independent variables is not feasible.


Polit, D. F., & Beck, C. T. (2021). Nursing research: Generating and assessing evidence for nursing practice. Wolters Kluwer.

Aside from independent variables and dependent variables, there are also extraneous variables that a researcher must consider. Researchers must look closely or predict factors that can affect the independent and dependent variables that can influence outcomes or diminish the validity of the study (McNiff & Petrick, 2022). For example, a study may be conducted on readmissions and effective patient education methods prior to discharge. An extraneous variable may be the background noise variation between teaching. Noise may distract or inhibit the patient from effectively receiving the information given which would lead to altered study results. Researchers must think of factors that may alter results and eliminate them.

NRS 433 Provide examples of experimental and nonexperimental research design
NRS 433 Provide examples of experimental and nonexperimental research design

McNiff, P. & Petrick, M. (2022). Quantitative Research: Ethics, Theory, and Research. In Grand Canyon University (Ed.), Nursing Research: Understanding Methods for Best Practice (2nd ed.). 

Jenna, What a great way to explain these research designs.

Experimental Design is creating a detailed practical plan that allows you to obtain the maximum amount of information specific to your objectives. Experimental design is an efficient method of optimizing the experimental conditions to maximize the amount of helpful information obtained with the minimum number of experiments. It provides a more efficient and complete optimization compared with the ‘vary one factor at a time approach with other factors assigned fixed values. Advantages of experimental design include scientific manuscripts that will be much easier to read and comprehend. A proper experimental design serves as a road map to the study methods, helping readers to understand more clearly how the data were obtained and, therefore, assisting them in properly analyzing the results.(Knight, 2010).


Knight, K. L. (2010, January). Study/Experimental/Research Design: Much More Than Statistics. NCBI. Retrieved March 24, 2023, from

Experimental research design is a type of quantitative research that involves the manipulation of variables to establish cause-and-effect relationships. In nursing, experimental research designs can be used to investigate the effects of nursing interventions on patient outcomes. For instance, a study by Huang et al. (2020) examined the effects of an educational program on the quality of life of patients with chronic kidney disease. The study used a randomized controlled trial design, where patients were randomly allocated to either an intervention group that received the educational program or a control group that did not receive the program. The study found that patients who received the educational program had a higher quality of life than those in the control group.

Experimental research designs provide a high level of control over extraneous variables, which enhances the internal validity of the study (Polit & Beck, 2022). In addition, experimental designs allow researchers to establish cause-and-effect relationships between variables, which enhances the external validity of the study.

Non-experimental research design is a type of quantitative research that does not involve the manipulation of variables. Instead, it relies on observations or data that have already been collected. In nursing, non-experimental research designs can be used to investigate the prevalence of health conditions or to explore the experiences of patients or nurses. For instance, a study by Tonna et al. (2020) explored the experiences of nurses who cared for patients with COVID-19. The study used a qualitative design, where data were collected through interviews with nurses who had cared for COVID-19 patients. The study found that nurses experienced emotional and physical exhaustion, anxiety, and fear while caring for COVID-19 patients.

Non-experimental research designs provide a lower level of control over extraneous variables, which may affect the internal validity of the study (Polit & Beck, 2022). However, non-experimental designs allow researchers to explore complex phenomena that cannot be manipulated in a laboratory setting.

Experimental research designs provide a high level of control over extraneous variables, which enhances the internal validity of the study (Polit & Beck, 2022). In experimental designs, researchers can control for confounding variables by randomization, blinding, and manipulation of variables. This ensures that the effect observed in the study is solely due to the intervention and not due to other factors.

On the other hand, non-experimental research designs provide a lower level of control over extraneous variables. In non-experimental designs, researchers cannot manipulate variables, and there is no control group for comparison. As a result, the observed effect may be due to other factors such as chance, selection bias, or confounding variables.


Huang, X., Lin, L., Jiang, X., & Lv, C. (2020). Effect of a self-management education program on the quality of life of patients with chronic kidney disease: A randomized controlled trial. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 111

Polit, D. F., & Beck, C. T. (2022). Nursing Research: Generating and Assessing Evidence for Nursing Practice (11th ed.). Wolters Kluwer.

The overall structure for a quantitative design is based in the scientific method. It uses deductive reasoning, where the researcher forms an hypothesis, collects data in an investigation of the problem, and then uses the data from the investigation, after analysis is made and conclusions are shared, to prove the hypotheses not false or false. The basic procedure of a quantitative design is:

  • Make your observations about something that is unknown, unexplained, or new. Investigate current theory surrounding your problem or issue. 
  • Hypothesize an explanation for those observations.
  • Make a prediction of outcomes based on your hypotheses. Formulate a plan to test your prediction.
  • Collect and process your data. If your prediction was correct, go to step 5. If not, the hypothesis has been proven false. Return to step 2 to form a new hypothesis based on your new knowledge.
  • Verify your findings. Make your final conclusions. Present your findings in an appropriate form for your audience.

Types of Quantatitive Research

1. Descriptive researchseeks to describe the current status of an identified variable. These research projects are designed to provide systematic information about a phenomenon. The researcher does not usually begin with an hypothesis, but is likely to develop one after collecting data. The analysis and synthesis of the data provide the test of the hypothesis. Systematic collection of information requires careful selection of the units studied and careful measurement of each variable.

2. Correlational researchattempts to determine the extent of a relationship between two or more variables using statistical data. In this type of design, relationships between and among a number of facts are sought and interpreted. This type of research will recognize trends and patterns in data, but it does not go so far in its analysis to prove causes for these observed patterns. Cause and effect is not the basis of this type of observational research. The data, relationships, and distributions of variables are studied only. Variables are not manipulated; they are only identified and are studied as they occur in a natural setting. 

*Sometimes correlational research is considered a type of descriptive research, and not as its own type of research, as no variables are manipulated in the study

3. Causal-comparative/quasi-experimental researchattempts to establish cause-effect relationships among the variables. These types of design are very similar to true experiments, but with some key differences. An independent variable is identified but not manipulated by the experimenter, and effects of the independent variable on the dependent variable are measured. The researcher does not randomly assign groups and must use ones that are naturally formed or pre-existing groups. Identified control groups exposed to the treatment variable are studied and compared to groups who are not. 

When analyses and conclusions are made, determining causes must be done carefully, as other variables, both known and unknown, could still affect the outcome. 

4. Experimental research, often called true experimentation, uses the scientific method to establish the cause-effect relationship among a group of variables that make up a study. The true experiment is often thought of as a laboratory study, but this is not always the case; a laboratory setting has nothing to do with it. A true experiment is any study where an effort is made to identify and impose control over all other variables except one. An independent variable is manipulated to determine the effects on the dependent variables. Subjects are randomly assigned to experimental treatments rather than identified in naturally occurring groups.

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Experimental and nonexperimental research designs are types of quantitative research that provide numerical data. An experimental design isolates the indicated phenomena in a lab and manages the circumstances in which the experiment takes place. Theirs is a control group and at least one experimental group (Rutberg & Bouikidis, 2018). Groups are arranged at random so that the experimental group receives an intervention while the control group receives a placebo. Experimental designs are usually in controlled settings where the researcher manipulates variables to determine the effectiveness of other random variables (McNiff & Petrick, 2018). This type of research also has a lesser chance of bias. In a nonexperimental design there is no manipulation of variables but observing the phenomena and identifying a relationship still occurs (Rutberg & Bouikidis, 2018). Researchers ask quantitative questions and analyze the data to determine if there is any relationship between the two topics of interest. With a nonexperimental design there is less control, occurs in various settings, and increased chance of bias (McNiff & Petrick, 2018). 


McNiff, P. & Petrick, M. (2018). Quantitative research: Ethics, theory, and research. In Grand Canyon University (Eds.), Nursing Research: Understanding Methods for Best Practice. 

Rutberg, S., & Bouikidis, C. D. (2018). Focusing on the fundamentals: A simplistic differentiation between qualitative and quantitative research. Nephrology Nursing Journal45(2), 209–213. 

Experimental research is a highly controlled quantitative research design that studies cause and effect using dependent and independent variables (Falkner et al., 2022).  This can be seen in having a control group and an experimental group that experiences the changing variables.  An example of this in the medical field is noting the effectiveness of a new drug in a group as compared to a group receiving a placebo.  

Non-experimental quantitative research designs use observational strategies based on populations and individuals which use single-variable research, correlational and quasi-experimental, and qualitative research (PV & K, 2020).  An example of a non-experimental strategy is seen when correlations between two or more variables   (Kotronoulas & Papadopoulou, 2023) An example of this can be comparing the regular physical activity of dog owners who routinely walk their dogs to dog owners who do not routinely walk their dogs.  

The control levels in the experimental research groups and variables can be whereas a non-experimental design.  Dog owners can have more variables with dog walking.  Some neighborhoods are more walkable and safe which can increase dog walking.  Also, if a dog owner has an aggressive dog that may decrease dog walking.   


Falkner, A., Green, S., Helbig, J., Johnson, J., McNiff, P., Petrick, M., & Schmidt, M. (2022). Nursing Research: Understanding Methods for Best Practice (Second). Grand Canyon University.

PV, I., & K, V. (2020). Research designs-an overview. Kerala Journal of Psychiatry, 32(1).