Synopses & Reviews
Experimental political science has changed. In two short decades, it evolved from an emergent method to an accepted method to a primary method. The challenge now is to ensure that experimentalists design sound studies and implement them in ways that illuminate cause and effect. Ethical boundaries must also be respected, results interpreted in a transparent manner, and data and research materials must be shared to ensure others can build on what has been learned. This book explores the application of new designs; the introduction of novel data sources, measurement approaches, and statistical methods; the use of experiments in more areas; and discipline-wide discussions about the robustness, generalizability, and ethics of experiments in political science. By exploring these novel opportunities while also highlighting the concomitant challenges, this volume enables scholars and practitioners to conduct high-quality experiments that will make key contributions to knowledge.
Experiments are a central methodology in the social sciences. Scholars from every discipline regularly turn to experiments. Practitioners rely on experimental evidence in evaluating social programs, policies, and institutions. This book is about how to "think" about experiments. It argues that designing a good experiment is a slow moving process (given the host of considerations) which is counter to the current fast moving temptations available in the social sciences. The book includes discussion of the place of experiments in the social science process, the assumptions underlying different types of experiments, the validity of experiments, the application of different designs, how to arrive at experimental questions, the role of replications in experimental research, and the steps involved in designing and conducting "good" experiments. The goal is to ensure social science research remains driven by important substantive questions and fully exploits the potential of experiments in a thoughtful manner.