Non-experimental research

They are quantitative research with methodological designs that do not manipulate or control study variables. They focus on the passive observation of phenomena that develop in their natural environments, without the intervention of the researcher. When dealing with studies with quantitative approaches, if there is a numerical analysis of the data, but these are obtained by observation and, subsequently, the interpretation is made of them.

There are two types of variables: independent or causal and dependent, consequences of the former. In non-experimental investigations, the relationships of causes and effects are investigated without exerting control over the variables.

Non-experimental designs are dedicated to the study of existing situations, which are developed under their own laws or internal rules. In general, these designs deal with phenomena that have occurred previously and, in which, there cannot be an external intervention that modifies or controls the results. For example, studies of psychological profiles, employment rates, unemployment, divorces, crimes, drug consumption, opinion polls, among others.



These are the designs that perform the observation and recording of the data at a specific and unique time. The analysis focuses on particular moments of the effects or consequences of a research phenomenon or problem. They explore, describe and establish the causes of a situation in a certain time record. The researcher may be interested in investigating: the effects of a hurricane on the infrastructure of a city or on finding out the levels of school dropout in 2015.

A complex design can be used if more than one variable or indicators are taken. Everything depends on the objectives and scope of the thesis.


These designs focus on investigating the change of variables over time. The observation and collection is done in several periods with the intention, precisely, to show or contemplate an evolution in the behavior or development of a phenomenon. For example, the theses that are devoted to linguistic change or the increase of poverty in the last 5 years. Of course, these are much more ambitious and complex theses, in general, they are carried out at postgraduate or doctorate level, because they require more time and experience.

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