Lectures: 10am - 10:50am Tuesday and

Location: 306 Sherrerd Hall

Size: Seminar-sized, structured like a lecture.

Precept: Corwin Hall 023, on Wednesdays at 12:30 - 1:20pm and 1:30pm - 2:20pm

Office Hours: 11-12am Tuesday and Thursday
Sherrerd Hall 3rd floor lounge (or Sherrerd 313 if we need private space).
(schedule office hours here)

Weekly Activities: Students will read 30-40 pages per week, complete a weekly writing or analysis challenge in pairs, and discuss reading on Slack. The final is a group project and a short paper.

Grading: Precept participation: 20%. Weekly assignments: 20%. Midterm experiment design: 20%. Final project: 40%.

Weekly Assignments: Due 5pm on Friday

Pre-requisites: POL 345/SOC 301, or with permission of the instructor, other background in statistics or data analysis.

Meeting topics and assigned readings

Lecture sessions will alternate between introductions to key methods and issues that sometimes include student-led components and workshops that focus on methods and project feedback. Precepts will host student discussions of the issues raised in the class.

Required readings are starred; others are recommended and will be presented by students who have chosen that week. Graduate students are expected to read all of the items on the list. Grading policies and specific instructions for assignments will be handed out on the first day of class, and available on the course website.

This syllabus is a living document, and the readings are subject to change as we go along, so please keep checking this document for the latest.

Part I: Understanding Field Experiments

Lecture & Discussion Field Experiments in Policy, Products, and Social Science (Feb 5)
Workshop Introduction to Randomized Trials (Feb 7)
Lecture & Discussion Studying Online Behavior at Scale (Feb 12)
Workshop Research Ethics (Feb 14)
Lecture & Discussion Community-Led Experiments (Feb 19)
Workshop A Short History of Experiment Design (Feb 21)

Part II: Planning Your Field Experiment

Lecture & Discussion The Role of Experiments in a Democracy (Feb 26)
Workshop Planning An Experiment (Outcomes, Power Analysis) (Feb 28)
Lecture & Discussion Improving the Quality of Experiments and Their Results (March 5)
Workshop Developing a Pre-Analysis Plan (March 7)
Lecture & Discussion Planning an Experiment with Community Partners (March 12)

Midterm Due Class Project Proposal (March 14, 9pm)
Workshop Designing and Planning an Experiment With Partners (March 14)

(Spring Recess) (March 16 - 24)

Lecture & Discussion Context, Structure, and Mechanisms in Experiment Design (March 26)
Workshop Discussing Final Projects (March 28)
Workshop Team Coordination Time (April 2)
Discussion Scientific Knowledge versus Bandits (April 4)
Workshop Continuing Experiment Design (April 9)
Lecture & Discussion Interpreting, Using, and Misusing Experiment Results (April 11)

Part III: Deploying & Reporting Your Field Experiments

Workshop Analyzing and Communicating Experiment Results (April 16)
Lecture & Discussion Debriefing, Harm, and Accountability in Field Experiments (April 18)
Workshop Graceful Recovery from Problems in Field Experiments (April 23)
Guest Speaker Bots as Virtual Confederates, led by Kevin Munger (April 25)
Lecture & Discussion Advanced Topics in Field Experimentation (TBD) (April 30)
Discussion Class Topic TBD (May 2)
  • Topic TBD
Presentations / Celebration Final Presentations (May 9)
  • In this session, student teams present their final projects for final feedback before submitting final papers and projects.
DEADLINE Final Projects Due (May 14)