Aelita Skarbalienė


Although the representatives of different social sciences are trying to highlight and raise the methodological and methodical peculiarity of social sciences with respect to natural sciences, it should be noted that a big part of social sciences research is based on the positivist research paradigm. The positivist tradition allows a researcher to choose certain research methods that originated from natural sciences and to apply them in the research of social sciences. Regarding the possibilities to determine causality, an experiment is considered to be the best empirical research method. However, the emphasis is placed on the complicated application of this method to social sciences due to certain practical, political and ethical aspects. When developing ideas about an appropriate and effective use of the experimental research method in social sciences, the use of natural experiment is recommended. Although in recent years, the research based on the methodology of natural experiment is gaining popularity, there is still a lack of literature on how and when this methodology can be applied, what problems it can help to solve, how data can be collected and analysed. Thus, on the basis of methodological literature analysis, this article is an attempt to present natural experiment as a method for social researches, to provide guidelines and recommendations for the application of the methodology of natural experiment and to inspire scientific discussion about using the strategy of natural experiment in social sciences.KEYWORDS: experiment, natural experiment, positivist research strategy.

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