What is a matched pairs design? In experimental design, the concept of matched pairs design refers to a situation whereby participants of a study get grouped into pairs. Within this pairing, one of the participants gets assigned to the treatment group while the other will be assigned to the control group. The assignment is random. Ensuring that who among the participants gets assigned one or the other is random is key to this concept.


Matched pairs design statistics


Clearly, Matched pairs design is a statistical concept that is useful when conducting statistical studies.

The matched pairs design is a two-step process:


1st step: You match the participants to their closest partners (in terms of whom they share the most characteristics with) and then group them in pairs.


2nd Step: Take one of the participants in each pairing and randomly assign them to one of the two groups. After this, the remaining participant is automatically assigned to the remaining group.


Matched pairs design Advantages


The matched pairs design has been shown to be ideal in cases such as:


Matched Pairs Design Disadvantages


Matched Pairs

Matched pairs definition

Matched pairs are participants of a study that are grouped in twos. The grouping then enables the researcher to determine which group they will be assigned to. The pairing/matching process is based on shared attributes/characteristics.


Matched Pairs Design Example


An example of a matched pairs design in hospital setting where patients can either receive a placebo or a vaccine: The study uses 100 participants that are grouped into two groups of 50 based on both gender and their ages. The matching may take instances such as: Two women ages 21, two men aged 21, and so on.


Matched Pairs Experimental Design


The matched pairs is an experimental design that can be used instead of a completely randomized study. It offers clear benefits over the completely randomized design and is more effective when dealing with smaller samples. It can still be used with larger samples, but can be in such cases.



Matched Pairs Study


A matched pairs study is considered a special case in randomized studies and block designs.  It is used when the experiment in question only has two options or treatments for the participants and cannot be used in instances where there are more than two options available.


What is a matched pairs design in psychology?


Matched pairs design is a common and effective methodology used in conducting psychology studies. In psychology, the most common way to conduct experiments is to divide the participants into two groups. Matched pairs design is useful in this case as it is based on matching participants into closely related pairs based on certain similar attributes. One member of each pair is randomly assigned to one experimental group while the remaining one will automatically be assigned to the remaining group.


What is a matched pairs experiment?


A matched pairs experiment is an experiment that involves splitting the participants into pairs by matching them against each other and pairing them based on certain clearly predetermines attributes such as age, gender, or social-economic status.


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