|Name||252F20 Online Experiments in the Social Sciences|
|Department||Institut for Statskundskab|
|Course catalogue id||98502|
Description of qualifications:
<p>Online experiments are increasingly popular in social science and becoming an indispensable tool in several research-oriented brands of industry (consultancy, marketing and IT). This is not surprising: Online experiments can offer simple, intuitive and cheap ways to answer difficult questions about the human mind and behaviour. But they can also be complicated, obtuse and a waste of money. This course seeks to equip students with the skills to produce research belonging to the former camp.</p> <p>The course takes a hands-on approach and covers all aspects of conducting experimental research. Most contact hours will be spent “learning by doing”. The course focuses on experiments which could be conducted online with remote participants. Yet, most lessons are useful for doing lab or field experiments, too.</p> <p>Students are encouraged to pursue their own substantive research interests throughout the course. Their final exam will involve designing and conducting an experiment on a freely chosen topic. That said, most examples and readings will come from political behaviour and political psychology with occasional detours to other fields such as public administration, political communications, behavioural economics or social psychology.</p> <p>The course will cover the basics of analysing experimental data, which should be accessible to anyone who has successfully completed the Methods II course (or equivalent). Those interested in the intricacies of causal estimation will receive pointers, but applying advanced statistical methods will not be part of the course.</p> <p>The course will be organised in 6 parts:</p> <ol> <li><strong>Building the foundations</strong>. What is the purpose of experiments? What are counterfactuals? What is causality? What are the ethics of doing experiments?</li> <li><strong>Designing experiments</strong>. This part works in-depth with techniques and principles for designing strong experiments: design, procedure, measures. We will also discuss experimental power.</li> <li><strong>Anal</strong><strong>ysing experimental data</strong>. OK, you’ve got your data. Now what? A refresher on t-tests, ANOVAs, simple regressions and interactions. Also, introducing balance and equivalence tests and a flirt with various estimates of causal effects.</li> <li><strong>Special experiments for difficult questions</strong>. Some resarch questions are more difficult than others. What if we want to go beyond simple causal relationships and ask questions about causal processes (mediations)? What if we are interested in more complicated psychological or sociological processes (e.g. unconscious processes in the mind, transmission of information in networks)?</li> <li><strong>Improving experiments</strong>. A short tour of some of the major pitfalls of experimental research and how to overcome them. We will also discuss the importance of open science/methods and the replication crisis.</li> <li><strong>Workshops</strong>. Towards the end of the course, we will organise two workshops to facilitate progress and give feedback to the take-home assignments.</li> </ol>
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