Experimental Methods

Prof. Kathleen Searles

Experiments have earned a reputation as the “gold standard” for empirical research, particularly for causal inference. Political Scientists have been slower to adopt experimental methods, though this has changed in recent years. This course will begin by introducing students to two ways of conceptualizing experiments pioneered by Campbell and Rubin, respectively. From these conceptual foundations, students explore several logistical issues associated with experiments in political science including: ethical considerations, different types of experiments, and how to think about experimental research in relation to statistical methods such as regression analysis. Students will begin to build an experimental toolkit, with conceptual links to key methodological underpinnings in the field. The course culminates with student completion of an original experimental design.

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