Four Types of Experiments - Speaker: Lena Kästner

Four Types of Experiments

Lena Kästner

Saarland University

What kinds of experiments feed into scientific discovery? Prototypical scientific studies endorse some form of hypothesis testing by way of studying the effects of specific interventions applied to a target or model system. However, experimental practices are much richer than this. In this talk, I shall argue that scientific experiments can be characterized along (at least) two independent dimensions: For one thing, we can distinguish experiments employing a difference-making logic (so-called intervention studies) from those using manipulations as tools (so-called mere interaction studies). For another, we can distinguish exploratory or data-driven research from experiments designed to test concrete hypotheses. Since the two distinctions are independent, we can identify at least four distinct types of experiments thatcontribute to discovery in different ways and usually get used at different stages throughout the discovery process.

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