An ex post facto research design is a particular method in which groups with qualities that already exist are put into comparison with some dependent variable. Ex post facto literally translates to ‘after the fact’. Ex post facto research design is considered to be quasi-experimental because of the nature of the subjects. The subjects are not randomly assigned and are grouped together on the basis of a particular characteristic or trait.
Even though different groups are analyzed and compared when it comes to independent and dependent variables, ex post facto research cannot be considered a true experiment because it does not have the advantage of being a random assignment. The assignment of subjects to different groups is on the basis of the variable in question when it comes to the researchers.
For example, let’s say a researcher might be interested in how weight influences self-confidence in adults. So the participants would be separated into different groups, according to whether they are underweight, normal weight, or overweight, and their self-confidence levels measured. In this case, this is a research design since a pre-existing characteristic was used to form the groups.
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