Expost facto design

This is a variation on the after-only design. The difference between the two is that in ex-post facto design, neither the experimental nor the control group is chosen until after the treatment is actually applied. This design attempts to create equivalent experimental and control groups but identifies each only after they have been exposed to the experiment.

A group of people who read a certain issue of a particular magazine are contacted. Those who said they read a certain advertisement in the issue are the experimental group; those who did not read the advertisement are the control group. Both are asked about some attribute of different types of the product featured in the advertisement and the difference in the two groups' ratings of the products determines the advertisement's success. The advantage of this design over the after-only study with control design is that the experimental variable will have exerted its influence in a natural setting, enabling the researcher to study a group that, by choice, was exposed to the treatment, rather than having been selected to receive the treatment.

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