Q:

What is a control in an experiment?

A:

Quick Answer

A control in an experiment typically refers to the control group, which is the group that is not being exposed to the element or factor being tested. The other group is the experiment group. The only difference between the two groups should be the experiment factor.

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Full Answer

According to About.com, controlled experiments have several strengths and weaknesses. One of the strengths of having a control group is that it allows causation to be established. It also singles out individual determinative factors since all other factors are constant. However, controlled experiments tend to be artificial; that is, they are typically done in a laboratory and do not account for many natural responses. Therefore, controlled experiments need to be evaluated in order to determine the extent to which the artificial setting has influenced the outcome.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the control group in an experiment?

    A:

    The control group in an experiment does not receive a treatment or experimental condition. Researchers compare results from the experimental group with those of the control group to find an effect or statistically significant difference with the treatment.

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  • Q:

    What is a positive control in an experiment?

    A:

    Positive control in an experiment is a control group that researchers use to show that an experiment is working as intended by using conditions that guarantee a positive result. Control groups are not required for all experiments and are typically used in experiments with complex conditions.

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  • Q:

    How are hypotheses tested?

    A:

    Hypotheses are tested by developing scenarios in which certain outcomes are consistent with the hypothesis being true or false, then by experimenting or researching to see whether the hypothesis matches reality. In statistics, hypothesis testing has a specialist meaning that entails making a probability assessment of assumptions before experimenting.

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  • Q:

    What is it called when scientists do their experiment more than once?

    A:

    When a scientist repeats an experiment more than once, it is called replication. The goal is to create an experiment that can be repeated multiple times and yield the same or similar results, regardless of whether it is the same scientist performing the experiment.

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