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:
- You have a small working sample but the sample is proving particularly difficult in obtaining balanced groups when you try to conduct a complete random allocation.
- The methodology is beneficial when you have limited resources to conduct the study and it is not feasible to increase the sample size.
- The methodology is also ideal when it is not feasible to work with large or increased sample size due to time or scope limitations.
- When you make use of similar participants after improved comparability during the grouping phase, the methodology helps increase the likelihood of obtaining positive results from the study.
Matched Pairs Design Disadvantages
- The methodology proves difficult when you try to find appropriate matches.
- Possible bias results from use of the methodology especially when you are forced to remove some participants from the study and these participants happen to have increased likelihood of being eliminated.
- The methodology is ideal when working under a tight budget because in many cases, you may need to increase the sample size.
- In some cases, matching is impractical. For instance, in a hospital setting patients arriving in critical condition do not have the time to be matched before they can receive the treatment.
- In rare cases, the methodology may prove to be expensive during implementation.
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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