“If we used a true experimental research method, then we would have the best-results, but we can’t control all the relevant state variables.”
Many times, our clients don’t have the time, or variable control required for true experimental research, but still need estimates to provide direction for their performance improvement initiatives. In these cases, they can approximate the conditions of the true experiment in a setting which does not allow the control and/or manipulation of all relevant variables. The researcher must clearly understand what compromises exist in the internal and external validity of the design, and proceed within these limitations.
- To investigate the effects of spaced versus massed task execution in the to-do lists for project teams without being able to assign team members to the test at random or to supervise closely the execution of their tasks.
- To assess the effectiveness of three approaches to teaching basic principles and concepts in Integrated PM when some of the teachers could inadvertently volunteer for one of the approaches because of its impressive-looking materials.
- Project value realization research involving a pretest-posttest design in which such variables as maturation, effects of testing, statistical regression, selective attrition, and stimulus novelty or adaptation, are unavoidable or overlooked.
- Most studies of business unit problems of late projects, poor quality, cost over runs, or instances of canceled projects, where control and manipulation are not always feasible.
- Quasi-experimental research typically involves applied settings where it is not possible to control all the relevant variables but only some of them. The researcher gets as close to the true experimental rigor as conditions allow, carefully qualifying the important exceptions and limitations. Therefore, this research is characterized by methods of partial control based on a careful identification of factors influencing both internal and external validity.
- The distinction between true and quasi-experimental research is tenuous, particularly where human subjects are involved as in projects. A careful study of the relative nature of this distinction as a matter of approximation on a continuum between "one-shot case studies" of an action research nature to experimental-control group designs with randomization and rigorous man¬agement of all foreseeable variables influencing internal and external validity.
- While action research can have quasi-experimental status, it is often so unformalized as to deserve separate recognition. Once the research plan systemati¬cally examines the validity question, moving out of the intuitive and exploratory realm, the beginnings of experimental methodology are visible.
Steps in Quasi-Experimental Research: The same as with true experimental research, carefully recognizing each limitation to the internal and external validity of the design.