ESS IA: a questionnaire or experiment?

ESS IA: a questionnaire or experiment?

Are you wondering what is better ESS IA choice: a Questionnaire or Experiment? These are both primary data ESS IA choices.

Majority of students who possess Humanities based knowledge and, because of this, don’t have knowledge of how to even stage an experiment. Therefore conducting an experiment is a good idea for these students. The rest of the students who are science orientated, they all chose the experimentation option in ESS IA.

One major flaw within ESS already becomes apparent when doing the IA with a questionnaire: ESS IAs are largely dependent on identification and manipulation of Independent and Dependent Variables (IVs and DVs), of which simply don’t exist in questionnaires since you’re not manipulating anything, just asking participants questions.

On top of that, experiments have relatively less to talk about in terms of limitations and weaknesses, which you are required to discuss in the IA. The reason they have less to talk about it because these limitations and weaknesses are due to small errors on your part or general issues that were faced when conducting the experiment.

In comparison, questionnaires have ALL sorts of implications that are not only a result of your own errors, but those of the participants in the questionnaire, dozens of biases that can influence how they respond to questions, your own poor judgment in understanding how to effectively curb the influence of these biases, problems relating to the age/demographic/geographic region of the participants, etc. So, an IA just over 2000 words is simply a tiny, tiny, word count to fit that all in. Therefore, if you have a satisfactory amount of knowledge as to how to conduct an experiment, I’d probably recommend you do that over an experiment. Don’t panic if you’re a humanities student though, questionnaires aren’t impossible but you just have to be prepared for a potentially larger workload.


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