Matched Group Design

Matched group design (also known as matched subjects design) is used in experimental research in order for different experimental conditions to be observed while being able to control for individual difference by matching similar subjects or groups with each other.

This can best be described using an example.

A researcher wants to know which educational method is best for teaching students a new concept. A group of students are split into two different groups. The researchers would look at standardized test scores and grades and try to match each student with another student that has the same test scores and grades. So a student with a test score of 95 who made As would be in Group A while another student with the same scores would be placed in Group B. This process would be done for all of the students in the experiment.

Then the experimenters would use one educational method on Group A and another method on Group B. They could then see how the differing methods influenced the students' learning of the concept. By using matched groups the researchers can see how the different conditions were influential and know that the results were not confounded by the students' individual differences because they had been evenly distributed across the two groups. Individual differences can confound experimental results so by controlling for this researchers can be more confident in the results of the different conditions.

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