|Many people can be included. If given to a random sample of the population, a survey’s results can be generalized to the population.
|Large surveys are expensive and time consuming. Although much information is gathered, this information is relatively superficial.
|If random assignment is used, experiments provide fairly convincing data on cause and effect.
|Because experiments do not involve random samples of the population and most often involve college students, their results cannot readily be generalized to the population.
|Observation (field research)
|Observational studies may provide rich, detailed information about the people who are observed.
|Because observation studies do not involve random samples of the population, their results cannot readily be generalized to the population.
|Because existing data have already been gathered, the researcher does not have to spend the time and money to gather data.
|The data set that is being analyzed may not contain data on all the variables in which a sociologist is interested or may contain data on variables that are not measured in ways the sociologist prefers.