Statistics Dictionary

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Observational Study

Like experiments, observational studies attempt to understand cause-and-effect relationships. However, unlike experiments, the researcher is not able to control (1) how subjects are assigned to groups and/or (2) which treatments each group receives.

For example, a sample survey, does not apply a treatment to survey respondents. The researcher only observes survey responses. Therefore, a sample survey is an example of an observational study.

See also:   Data Collection Methods